Key Differences between GA4 and UA

Digital Marketing

If you work in marketing, you can’t have escaped the news that Google is transitioning from Universal Analytics (UA) to GA4 and 1st July 2023 is the date when UA properties will cease gathering data. If you’ve already set up your GA4 property you will notice that the interface looks very different to what you may have been used to with UA. In this blog post, we will explore the key differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics and highlight the potential of GA4 to improve your data-driven marketing reporting.

Event Tracking

Whereas UA just tracked hits like users landing on your website or page views, GA4 adopts an event-driven reporting model, enabling you to track specific user actions beyond traditional interactions. With event-based reporting, you can analyse button clicks, video views, form submissions, and other custom interactions that align with your marketing goals. Using this granular data you can develop actionable insights to drive effective decision-making and optimise your marketing campaigns.

Bounce Rates Replaced with Engagement Rate

Probably the biggest change most people will notice is that bounce rates are no longer. They have been replaced with engagement rates which are a more comprehensive measure as to how a user interacts with your site. Engagement rates don’t just measure when someone leaves the page, they show how a user has engaged with your content.

Sessions Calculated Differently

You will also notice that sessions are calculated differently in GA4 as opposed to UA. Sessions in UA were denoted as a period of time spent by a user on your website and a session would expire once there had been no activity for 30 minutes. In GA4 session duration is calculated as the time elapsed between the first and last event.

Cross-Platform Reporting

GA4 introduces comprehensive cross-platform reporting, allowing you to track user interactions across websites, mobile apps, and other digital touch points. Unlike UA, which primarily focused on website tracking, GA4’s cross-platform reporting provides a holistic view of customer journeys. You can leverage this feature to help you gain a deeper understanding of user behaviour and optimise your marketing strategies across multiple channels.

Advanced Machine Learning Insights

GA4 incorporates artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to provide advanced insights into user behaviour. The platform’s AI-driven reporting capabilities automatically identify trends, patterns, and anomalies in your data, helping you uncover valuable opportunities and optimise your marketing efforts. These machine learning insights can be utilised to help you extract meaningful information from your data and uncover actionable recommendations.

Customisable Reporting Dashboards

GA4 offers customisable reporting dashboards, allowing you to tailor your analytics views to your specific reporting needs. There is also the facility to configure personalised dashboards that showcase the most relevant metrics, visualisations, and reports. This level of customisation ensures that you have a clear and comprehensive view of your marketing performance, making it easier to derive actionable insights.

Simplified Data Exploration and Visualisation

GA4 provides intuitive data exploration and visualisation tools that simplify the process of analysing and presenting your data. You can create impactful visualisations and reports that effectively communicate complex data, facilitating data-driven decision-making across your organisation.

GA4’s advanced reporting capabilities provide businesses with a wealth of insights to drive data-driven marketing strategies. You can harness the power of GA4 reporting to uncover actionable insights, optimise marketing efforts, and make informed decisions. However, if you are struggling with either the set up or interpretation of your GA4 property, get in touch with us and we can guide you through the process.