Universal Analytics vs. Google Analytics 4: Which One Should You Use?
Google Analytics is a powerful web analytics tool that provides valuable insights into user behavior and engagement. Check out the comparison of Universal Analytics vs Google Analytics 4 below.
In 2020, Google released a new version of its analytics platform, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), which introduced several new features and capabilities.While GA4 is the future of web analytics, many users are still using the older version, Universal Analytics (UA).
In this article, we’ll compare the two analytics tools and help you decide which one is best for your needs.
The primary difference between UA and GA4 is in how they collect data.
UA uses a tracking code that collects data on a user’s behavior on a website. GA4, on the other hand, uses an event-based model that collects data on user interactions.
This means that GA4 provides more detailed data on user behavior, including button clicks, video views, and other non-pageview interactions.
GA4 also allows for more customizable data collection, as you can define custom events to track any user interactions that are important to your business.
This can provide deeper insights into how users are interacting with your website and help you optimize your marketing efforts.
GA4 provides more advanced data analysis tools than UA. One of the most significant changes in GA4 is the introduction of machine learning capabilities, which can help identify patterns and trends in user behavior.
With machine learning, GA4 can analyze large amounts of data and provide insights that might be missed by traditional analytics tools.
GA4 also provides a more flexible reporting system, allowing users to create custom reports and dashboards. This makes it easier to get the insights you need quickly and efficiently.
GA4 provides better cross-device tracking than UA. With UA, users who switch between devices are treated as separate visitors, making it difficult to track their behavior across multiple devices.
GA4 uses a new user identifier that allows for better cross-device tracking, enabling marketers to gain a more complete understanding of a user’s behavior across all devices.
GA4 also provides more detailed information about user engagement across devices, including information about app usage and web browsing behavior.
This can be particularly useful for businesses with mobile apps, as it can help identify areas for improvement in app design and functionality.
Another difference between UA and GA4 is in data retention. With UA, data is retained for 26 months by default, after which it is deleted.
GA4, on the other hand, retains data indefinitely, which can be useful for long-term analysis and trend tracking.
However, it’s important to note that this comes with some additional responsibilities around data privacy and compliance. As such, businesses using GA4 will need to ensure they are following best practices around data collection, retention, and management.
If you’re currently using UA, migrating to GA4 can be a bit of a challenge. While GA4 is designed to be backward-compatible with UA, the two tools use different data models, so some adjustments may be necessary.
However, the benefits of migrating to GA4, including more advanced data analysis and better cross-device tracking, may make it worth the effort.
If you’re considering migrating to GA4, it’s important to plan carefully and ensure that you have a clear understanding of the differences between the two tools.
Google provides a helpful guide for businesses looking to make the switch, which can be found on their website.
Important Update for Universal Analytics Users
As of July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics properties will no longer process data. To continue collecting data, users must migrate their property to Google Analytics 4 by going to Setup Assistant.
If users do not migrate their property, Google Analytics 4 may automatically create a new property based on their current settings.
Therefore, it is crucial for Universal Analytics users to migrate their property to Google Analytics 4 before the deadline to avoid data loss.
In summary, Both Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 have their strengths and weaknesses.
UA is a tried and tested web analytics tool that has been used by millions of websites for years. On the other hand, GA4 is a more advanced analytics tool that provides better cross-device tracking and more advanced data analysis.
Ultimately, the decision of which tool to use will depend on your specific needs and goals.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that GA4 is the future of web analytics, and migrating to the new platform can provide valuable insights and benefits for your business in the long run.
By understanding the differences between the two versions, you can make an informed decision about which web analytics tool is better.
Start exploring Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 today!”
Note: If you are a Universal Analytics user, be sure to migrate your property to Google Analytics 4 before July 1, 2023 to continue collecting data.
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