As per Google’s announcement on March 16, 2022 – Universal Analytics (UA), a commonly used Google Analytics property that measures website performance and gathers visitor data, will be phased out in favour of an enhanced Google Analytics 4 (GA4) effective July 1, 2023.
Digital marketers and business owners need to actively follow this development, considering Google’s modifications have the potential to significantly impact how website and app properties are monitored, as well as how consumer data is viewed and analysed in the coming years.
We hope this article clarifies some of the key features of GA4 and addresses any questions that may have been raised.
Let’s get started!
What is the difference between UA and GA4?
a) A transition from a session-based to an event-based data model
GA4 enhances measuring features. Data on scrolling, outbound clicks, video engagement, file downloads, and other metrics will be automatically captured with the new model. In contrast to UA, which transmits data through pageviews, events, ecommerce hits, and requires manual configuration of event hits such as form Sign Ups.
In short, GA4 is more agnostic and flexible than UA, and each parameter could serve a more defined and meaningful function.
b) Cross device tracking ability
Built on top of Firebase, GA4 is designed to give a more comprehensive insight of how consumers engage with businesses, whether via an app or a website, or if they were to go from app to site or vice versa.
With the latest upgrade, insights into apps and websites can be viewed easily via a single property, in contrast to UA, which needs the setup of two separate properties.
c) New funnel features
GA4’s new funnel functionality allows users to customise and segment funnels as needed. Not to mention, there are default funnel templates available depending on techniques, use cases, and industries.
d) Better user interface
GA4’s updated UI is far cleaner, simpler to browse, and supports lesser tabs. The new user interface was created with the user in mind, as the buckets are organised around acquisition, engagement, monetization, and retention.
e) Predictive analytics capabilities
Utilizing Google machine learning algorithms, GA4 intelligently augments data by identifying users and behaviours that are likely to result in sales or conversions.
Presently, the three predictive metrics available on GA4 are purchase probability, churn probability, and revenue prediction.
Why should businesses and digital marketers migrate from UA to GA4 as soon as possible?
a) Save historical data
The earlier the move from UA to GA4, the more historical data there will be on GA4. Due to the incompatibility of the two trackers’ data models, historical data from UA cannot be migrated to GA4. Hence, it’s advised to migrate to the new model as soon as possible.
b) Gain familiarity with new user interface
A significant distinction between GA4 and UA is the report buckets and data visualisation. Due to the time necessary to get acquainted with the new user interface, locating pertinent data or reports in GA4 may be time consuming. Hence, it’s best to get familiarized promptly!
c) Attain familiarity with event based reports
Because GA4’s data model is event-based, it could take some time to become accustomed to understanding and analysing specific data, as well as piecing together the user journey across devices and apps. Getting on it immediately will enable you to familiarise yourself with the new model and take advantage of its perks.
Overall, the migration from UA to GA4 empowers digital marketers and business owners by enhancing data relevance and tracking capabilities. There are several key distinctions between the two models, and it’s critical to thoroughly grasp them before making the switch.
If you have any additional concerns regarding Google Analytics 4 and how it differs from Universal Analytics, please feel free to contact our Web Analytics team. We will be happy to assist you!
Frequently Asked Questions
No. To migrate from UA to GA 4, certain manual adjustments must be made to UA, Google Tag Manager, and the website’s code.
After Google deprecates UA on 1 July 2023, you will still be able to access it, but it will no longer receive new data. Additionally, you risk losing historical data on UA as and when Google chooses to discontinue Universal Analytics completely.
According to Google, you will retain access to your historical data for an indefinite amount of time. Although, at some point, your historical data will become inaccessible or deleted.
Yes, if you are acquainted with and proficient in Google Analytics. If you lack technical skills and/or have extensive monitoring requirements, it is recommended to hire a Google Analytics specialist to assist you with the migration.