If you’ve ever done business online, there’s a good chance you are familiar with Google Analytics. Since its launch in 2005, GA has become an invaluable tool for brands and marketers to track, analyse and optimise the performance of their website or app. 

Google has recently announced that they will discontinue the current version of GA, Universal Analytics, in favour of Google Analytics 4 (or GA4 for short) in July 2023. But as Universal Analytics has been the go-to for brands and marketers for over ten years, many have questions about how this change will affect the user experience. 

→ What are the differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics?

A key difference between UA and GA4 is their data model. The data model for Universal Analytics is session-based, meaning it groups a user’s interactions with a website into sessions based on the timeframe in which they occur. These sessions contain multiple page views, events and eCommerce transactions. In contrast, GA4 categorises every interaction as an event. It can collect and send pieces of information that more fully specify the action the user took or add further context to the event or user. This change will hopefully provide users with greater flexibility. 

GA4 has also made improvements to cross-platform and cross-device tracking. It allows users to combine website and mobile app usage data into one GA property. This helps organize data points across devices, giving more context to how sessions, interactions and touchpoints are connected. GA4 can do this because of its event-based model, which doesn’t rely on events being recorded within a specific time frame.

A final key difference with GA4 is its shift away from reliance on cookies. The new platform is built on top of Google Signals, which is an identity software that uses Google accounts to recognize logged in users. With GA4, you will be able to use Google Signals to recognise users instead of relying on first-party cookies. 

→ What will the change mean for you?

GA4 is not just an update on Universal Analytics, it’s a whole new system. As such, it is recommended that users set up GA4 well before UA is retired. Setting up data collection and familiarising yourself with GA4 early will ensure an easy transition in 2023. 

 

Reach out to your ADMATICian for more information on transitioning to Google Analytics 4.