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Decoding the Differences: Comparing GA4 and GA Universal Analytics


google analytics, ga4, ga universal

Google Analytics (GA) is a powerful tool that businesses can use to track and analyze website traffic and user behavior. GA4 is the latest version of Google Analytics, which was launched in October 2021. It replaces the previous version, GA Universal. While both versions of GA provide valuable insights into website performance, there are some key differences between GA4 and GA Universal.


One of the biggest differences between GA4 and GA Universal is the data collection process. GA Universal relies on tracking code that is placed on a website, while GA4 uses a new data collection model called App + Web. This new model allows businesses to collect data from both web and app properties, providing a more comprehensive view of user behavior. Additionally, GA4 allows businesses to track conversions across multiple devices and platforms, which is not possible with GA Universal.


Another difference between GA4 and GA Universal is the user interface. GA4 has a new, modern interface that is designed to be more user-friendly and intuitive. The interface includes a new navigation menu, which allows users to easily access the data they need, and a new data visualization system, which makes it easier to understand and interpret data.


The reporting capability of GA4 is also improved. With GA4, you can create custom reports with the same data you collect and also you can create custom metrics, which are not available in GA Universal. This allows businesses to gain deeper insights into their website performance and user behavior. Additionally, GA4 allows businesses to create custom funnels, which can be used to track user behavior across multiple pages of a website.


Another difference is that GA4 has a built-in machine learning algorithm that automatically detects patterns and anomalies in the data. This allows businesses to quickly identify and address any issues that arise, without having to manually sift through large amounts of data. This feature is not available in GA Universal.


Another important aspect of GA4 is its integration with other Google products. GA4 is fully integrated with other Google products such as Google Ads and Google BigQuery, which makes it easy to share data and create cross-functional reports. GA Universal does not have this level of integration.


In summary, while both GA4 and GA Universal provide valuable insights into website performance and user behavior, GA4 offers several new features and capabilities that are not available in GA Universal. GA4 allows businesses to collect data from both web and app properties, provides a more comprehensive view of user behavior, has a more user-friendly interface, improved reporting capabilities, a built-in machine learning algorithm, and integration with other Google products. Businesses should take these considerations into account when deciding whether to upgrade to GA4 or continue using GA Universal.

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