What’s the difference between Universal Analytics (UA) and Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, the time is fast approaching for businesses to make the switch from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) if they want to continue to track the traffic and data on their websites.

With its cross-device and platform capabilities, GA4 offers a more comprehensive and insightful approach to tracking and measuring user behaviour. As the digital landscape becomes increasingly multi-dimensional, it has become essential to adopt GA4’s event-based data model to gain a deeper understanding of user interactions across various touchpoints. In this article, we will explore the reasons why the transition to GA4 is crucial for businesses seeking to stay ahead in the realm of data analytics and make informed decisions based on a holistic view of user engagement.

Universal Analytics measures a web-based session data model whereas GA4 operates on cross-device and platforms using an event-based data model for measurement.

So what does this mean?

We’ve broken up the elements in this statement for you below:

Universal Analytics: This is what we’ve been using for the past few years and it refers to a method of tracking and measuring data related to user sessions on a website. It focuses on collecting and analyzing information about user interactions within a single website visit.

GA4 (Google Analytics 4): This is the newer version of Google Analytics which we’re now having to change all analytics accounts to in order to continue getting data. It takes a broader approach to tracking and measurement. It considers user interactions across multiple devices and platforms, allowing for a more comprehensive understanding of user behavior.

Web-based session data model: Universal Analytics uses a data model that primarily focuses on tracking and analysing user sessions within a website. It looks at individual visits and the interactions that occur during those visits.

Cross-device and platforms: GA4, on the other hand, takes into account user interactions across different devices (such as desktops, mobile phones, and tablets) and platforms (such as websites, mobile apps, and even smart devices). It aims to provide a more complete picture of user engagement across various touchpoints.

Event-based data model: GA4 utilises an event-based data model, which means it tracks specific actions or events that occur during user interactions. These events can include actions like page views, button clicks, video plays, or any other meaningful interaction. This allows for more granular and detailed tracking of user behaviour.

Ao, in a nutshell, Universal Analytics focuses on tracking and analysing user sessions within a website, while GA4 expands the scope to include user interactions across devices and platforms. Universal Analytics uses a session-based data model, while GA4 employs an event-based data model for more comprehensive measurement and analysis.

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