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What is Google Analytics GA4, how is it different to Universal Analytics UA, and do I need to upgrade?

Most of the websites we build at Courageous have Google Analytics UA installed. UA is a tool which tracks the activity on a website, tracking a lot of metrics:

  1. Pageviews: how many users have viewed how many times a webpage.
  2. Unique visitors: Unique visitors
  3. Sessions: The number of total visits
  4. Bounce rate: The percentage of users who leave a website after viewing only one page
  5. Average session duration: How long users spend on a site

What conversions does Google Analytics track?

In addition to this, it will track the “conversions: on the site. Tracking conversions shows you how your website is performing regarding generating leads, enquiries or business for your company. These include:

  1. Sales: The sales or purchases on yours website
  2. Leads: The number of forms that are completed on your site for an enquiry or newsletter (for example)
  3. Sign-ups: The number of users who sign up for an account or service
  4. Downloads: If you offer PDFs or other downloadables, how many of them you have

Not only are these metrics tracked, but also the source of where the conversion has come from. Conversions can be (for example): organic; through social media; through a marketing campaign; or Pay Per Click.

Google Analytics 4 Overview

What is Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

Google Analytics 4 is the latest version of Google’s web analytics platform. GA4 offers a lot of benefits over the older Universal Analytics version. What are the benefits of UA?

  • Improved data collection. Using machine learning, GA4 can automatically identify and track key user actions. These will include page views and clicks, without the need for manual tracking or tagging. Tracking the data allows you to gather more accurate and detailed data about your website and online marketing efforts.
  • Enhanced user privacy. GA4 includes more robust privacy controls, including the ability to control data collection and sharing. Better privacy helps ensure compliance with data protection regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
  • Improved data analysis. GA4 includes a lot of new and enhanced features for analysing data, including the ability to create custom reports and alerts, and integration with Google’s BigQuery data warehousing platform. These features make it easier for you to understand and make sense of their data, and to identify trends and opportunities for improvement.
  • Better integration with other Google products. GA4 is closely integrated with other Google products, such as Google Ads and Google Tag Manager, making it easier for you to track and analyse your online marketing efforts. Better integration gives you a complete view of customer journies and improves your site to increase the leads and sales you generate.
  • Enhanced measurement capabilities. GA4 includes improved measurement capabilities, including the ability to track events and conversions across multiple devices and platforms. Just like with better integration, this will help you improve your user experience to generate more business from your website.

Google Analytics GA4 UA4

Should I move to GA4 and how long do I have to do it?

The quick answer is yes, you really should move as soon as possible. According to Google:

Google Analytics 4 is our next-generation measurement solution, and it’s replacing Universal Analytics. On July 1, 2023, standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits.

The sooner you move the better, as your new site will be set up and tracking users on their new platform.

Are there disadvantages of Google Analytics 4?

You can not import old data to GA4 making it it tricky to compare data from previous years. Data comparison tools are available to help with this, just as we use with our digital marketing clients.

You will also need to find your way around the new system which does look different and we can help with training if you need it.

How do I implement Google Analytics 4?

You will need to make some coding changes to your website, and we can help you add the code. Alongside this, we will also set up any goal and conversion tracking so you know that everything you need is in place.

If you do need assistance, you can get in touch with us by calling +44 161 850 1790 or via our contact us form.