There’s no denying the impact of Google’s Universal Analytics. Since its introduction in 2013, Google Analytics has proven effective in collecting and analyzing websites’ data.

However, despite its effectiveness, there needs to be more improvement. This led to the development of Google Analytics 4 (GA4), which was introduced on October 14, 2020.

A few years after its launch, Google announced that Universal Analytics would stop processing data starting from July 1, 2023. As such, users must migrate to the GA4 to continue using Google Analytics.

This article will cover how GA4 differs from Universal Analytics. We’ll also consider how you can migrate from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4.

Differences Between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics 4 is the fourth and newest version of Google Analytics. It is an analysis tool that allows you to measure usage metrics on your website or app effectively. This includes traffic and engagement.

While the GA4 has similar features to Universal Analytics, both are still quite different. Some of the differences between them include:

#1. Tracking

Tracking users across different platforms using Universal Analytics was a challenge.

However, it becomes easier with Google Analytics 4. GA4 allows you to monitor users seamlessly on applications/mobile apps and the web.

The key feature of GA4 is the ability to assign a unique User ID to visitors. This ID lets you easily see how a user interacts with your website and app. If a user engages with your app and later visits your website, GA4 can connect and link their activities.

#2. More Control

With GA4, you have the freedom to personalize your dashboard. This allows you to focus on the most relevant reports to your business. Furthermore, it integrates seamlessly with Google Data Studio, empowering you to design customized visual representations of data.

Consequently, these features give you a more detailed and precise understanding of your user’s behaviors. For instance, you can generate segments encompassing all conversion events in a particular location.

#3. Data Model

In Universal Analytics, the data model is based on sessions and pageviews, focusing on tracking website interactions.

GA4, on the other hand, provides a data model that gives you information regarding specific events and their parameters. This includes active users, average engagement time, bounce rate, conversion rate, and revenue generated.

#4. The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Google Analytics 4 leverages Artificial Intelligence technology to provide insights into the activities on your website or app. This use of AI ensures that GA4 automatically detects trends and anomalies in data and presents them in the interface. This feature sets it apart from Universal Analytics.

#5. Predictive Insights:

Another difference between GA4 and Universal Analytics is that the former provides more useful data. Universal Analytics focuses more on giving insight into the past behaviors of visitors.

But with GA4, you can access predictive metrics which can help you determine if you need to redesign or change your campaigns. Some available metrics include purchase probability, churn probability, and revenue prediction.

How to Migrate to Google Analytics 4

When migrating to Google Analytics 4, take the following steps to kickstart the process:

  • Create a New Property

Begin by setting up a fresh property specifically for Google Analytics 4. This new property will replicate and migrate key settings from your existing Universal Analytics property. Moreover, you can customize parameters such as conversions, audiences, events, and linkages to other products.

  • Connect Existing Universal Analytics Property

As a property administrator, you can establish a connection between your current Universal Analytics and the new Google Analytics 4 properties. Linking the old and new properties ensures a smooth transfer of data and settings.

  • Assess Tracking Code Placement

You should review and update the tracking code on your website or app at this stage. This involves ensuring the new GA4 tracking code is properly implemented on each page or screen to collect accurate data.

  • Verify Data Collection

After implementing the GA4 tracking code and configuring the necessary settings, verify that data collection functions correctly. Utilize real-time reporting in GA4 to ensure the data you receive is processed accurately.

How to Measure a Website Using Google Analytics

To measure a website using Google Analytics, you can follow these steps:

  • Create a Google Analytics Account

Sign up for an account on the Google Analytics website by providing the required information.

  • Set Up a Property

Once you have an account, create a “property” to represent your website within Google Analytics.

  • Obtain Tracking Code

Google Analytics will provide you with a small JavaScript code called the tracking code or tracking ID. You will need to add this code to each page of your website.

  • Implement Tracking Code

This stage requires that you insert the tracking code into the HTML source code of your web pages. Ideally, this should be just before the closing ‘<head>’ tag. This code is responsible for collecting data on user interactions with your website.

  • Access Data

After implementing the tracking code, Google Analytics will collect user interaction data. This includes metrics like pageviews, events, and conversions. You can access this data for analysis within your Google Analytics account.

  • Customization

You can customize Google Analytics to track specific actions or events that align with your website’s goals. For instance, you can set up tracking for button clicks, form submissions, or other user interactions.

  • Analyze Data

Once data collection begins, you can log into your Google Analytics account to explore various reports and insights. These reports provide valuable information about user behavior, traffic sources, conversions, and other essential metrics.

Bottom Line

Learning how to navigate your way through Google Analytics 4 might be inconvenient. Nevertheless, the benefits that Google Analytics 4 provides are worth every effort you put into learning its operations.