Google Analytics has been an essential tool for website owners, marketers, and business owners for tracking their website traffic and gaining insights into their customers’ behavior.
With the release of Google Analytics 4 (GA4), there has been a lot of buzz about whether it’s better than Universal Analytics (UA), the previous version of Google Analytics. In this blog post, we’ll compare the two versions and help you decide which one to use for your business.
What is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 is the latest version of Google Analytics, which uses a different approach to tracking user behavior than Universal Analytics.
It’s based on event-driven data, which means it tracks specific actions taken by users on your website, such as clicks, form submissions, and video plays. GA4 also offers more advanced features like cross-device tracking, machine learning, and predictive analytics.
What is Universal Analytics?
Universal Analytics is the previous version of Google Analytics, which tracks website visitors based on pageviews and sessions. It uses a tracking code that sends data to Google Analytics servers, which then processes the data and generates reports.Universal Analytics offers a wide range of features, including goal tracking, ecommerce tracking, and custom dimensions.
Key Differences between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics
1. Data Model
The main difference between GA4 and UA is the data model they use to track user behavior. UA uses a session-based model, where a session starts when a user lands on your website and ends when they leave or after 30 minutes of inactivity.
GA4, on the other hand, uses an event-based model, where every user interaction is tracked as an event. This means that GA4 can track every single action taken by users on your website, including clicks, scrolls, and video plays.
2. Cross-Device Tracking
Another significant difference between GA4 and UA is cross-device tracking. GA4 allows you to track user behavior across multiple devices, which means you can see how users interact with your website on their desktop, mobile, and tablet devices.
UA, on the other hand, tracks users based on their browser cookies, which means that if a user switches to a different device or clears their cookies, their data will be lost.
3. Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics
GA4 uses machine learning to provide more advanced analytics and predictive insights. With machine learning, GA4 can analyze vast amounts of data and identify patterns and trends that may not be visible to human analysts. It also provides predictive analytics, which means it can help you forecast future outcomes based on historical data. UA doesn’t have this capability.
4. User Interface
The user interface of GA4 is quite different from UA, with a focus on providing more detailed information about user behavior. The GA4 interface is more customizable, and you can create your own reports and dashboards using a drag-and-drop interface. UA, on the other hand, has a more straightforward interface, with predefined reports and dashboards.
5. Which One Should You Use?
So which version of Google Analytics should you use for your business? The answer depends on your specific needs and goals. Here are some factors to consider:
6. Existing Setup
If you’re already using UA and have custom reports, dashboards, and integrations set up, it may be challenging to switch to GA4. GA4 uses a different tracking code, which means you’ll need to update your website’s code and recreate your reports and dashboards.
7. Cross-Device Tracking
If you need to track user behavior across multiple devices, GA4 is the better option. It uses a user-centric approach to tracking, which means you can see how individual users interact with your website on different devices.
UA, on the other hand, tracks users based on their browser cookies, which may not be accurate if they switch devices or clear their cookies.
8. Advanced Analytics
If you need more advanced analytics, including machine learning and predictive analytics, GA4 is the better option. GA4 uses machine learning to analyze vast amounts of data and provide insights that may not be visible with UA.
If you need more flexibility in customizing your reports and dashboards, GA4 is the better option. It has a more customizable interface, and you can create your own reports and dashboards using a drag-and-drop interface.
If you want to future-proof your analytics setup, GA4 is the better option. Google has indicated that it will be focusing more on GA4 and will be phasing out support for UA in the future. This means that if you’re starting a new website or planning to make significant changes to your current setup, it’s better to use GA4 to ensure that you’re not left behind.
GA4 and UA are both powerful tools for tracking website traffic and gaining insights into user behavior. While GA4 has some significant advantages over UA, it may not be the best option for every business. If you’re already using UA and have a well-established analytics setup, it may be challenging to switch to GA4.
However, if you need advanced analytics, cross-device tracking, and more flexibility in customization, GA4 is the better option. Ultimately, the decision of which version to use depends on your specific needs and goals, and it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully before making a decision.
At Magento Store, we understand the importance of having an effective analytics setup for your website. That’s why we offer comprehensive services to help businesses make the most of Google Analytics 4.
Our team of experienced professionals can help you set up and configure GA4 to track your website traffic and user behavior accurately. We can also help you migrate from Universal Analytics to GA4 seamlessly, ensuring that you don’t lose any critical data during the transition.
With our GA4 services, you’ll be able to get deeper insights into your website’s performance, track cross-device user behavior, and make data-driven decisions to improve your online presence.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to gain a competitive edge with GA4. Contact us today to learn more about our GA4 services and how we can help you make the most of this powerful analytics tool.