Google Universal Analytics vs Google Analytics 4: Is It Worth Switching to Updated Analytics?

Vasiliy Pupkin Anna

Did you know that Idea Digital Agency holds an SEO club, where our best experts discuss cases, tips, and news in the SEO industry? 

We hold such meetings every two weeks. Now we decided to share with you a report by Anna Matvienko, a Team Lead of the Foreign Department in Idea Digital Agency on the differences between GA 4 and Universal Google Analytics.

Differences between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4

  • The Universal Analytics resource was used in the previous version of Analytics as standard for all websites until October 14, 2020. Universal Analytics only supports websites.

  • Google Analytics 4 is a new kind of resource used for a website, an app, or both at the same time.

Hit types

  • The hit types for Universal Analytics include page hits, event hits, eCommerce hits, and social interaction hits. 

  • Data tracking in Google Analytics 4 resources works on an event basis, i.e. each interaction is treated as a separate event. Therefore, Universal Analytics types of hits are registered in Google Analytics 4 as events.Data tracking in GA 4

New GA4 hit types vs Universal Analytics data tracking

In the resource Universal Analytics

Considered in Google Analytics 4 

Page Viewer

Event

Event

Event

Social interaction

Event

Transactional/e-commerce

Event

User time

Event

Unforeseeable error

Event

Screen/application view

Event

Analysis Center

  • Google Analytics 4  "Analysis Center" allows you to perform an in-depth user analysis. GA 4 has no such thing as a "bounce rate. Instead, new metrics are used to determine which devices people use for conversions, what content captures visitors of all ages and locations. Previously, only Google Analytics 360 users had this capability, but now it's available to everyone.analysis center at GA4

Analysis Center at GA4

Why the data in Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 can be different?

Read more here.

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The difference in data collection: what has NOT been transferred to GA4

  • Anonymization of IP addresses. This feature is enabled by default in the new analytics resources.

  • Obtaining Client ID - not yet available for sites in Google Analytics 4.

  • Special tasks (only in analytics.js) - not available yet.

  • User time - not yet available in Google Analytics 4.

Moreover, GA4 receives information from many different sources, and it is often processed at different times. Therefore, the results of the same queries made within 48 hours may be slightly different between GA4 and Universal.

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