On October 19, 2019, Google officially released GA4, or Google Analytics 4, a new analytics engine that’ll set the pace for analytics across websites, social media channels, and various apps. GA4 will replace Universal Analytics, which has been the standard analytics engine for the past decade and a half.
On July 1, 2023, Google will stop all Universal Analytics hits and migrate to GA4. The good news is that you have nothing to worry about. We’re here to ensure you make a seamless transition to GA4.
Why Is Google Analytics Changing?
Universal Analytics worked well as far as most marketers and business people were concerned. So, this naturally begs the question, “If it’s not broken, why fix it?”
While Universal Analytics certainly got the job done, Google has its eyes firmly set on the future. As a result, the big tech company had to make room for machine-learning algorithms and updated user interfaces that would shape the future of analytics. GA4 allows for both, resulting in enhanced user journey mapping, better data visualization, and data roll-up. However, the best part is that it future-proofs data collection in an increasingly privacy-conscious world.
Google Analytics 4 Vs. Universal Analytics: What’s the Difference?
There are a couple of notable differences between the two analytics services. Here are some of them.
Different Measuring Models
This is arguably the most significant difference between GA4 and Universal Analytics. It’s also what makes migrating to GA4 worth the hassle. The measurement models in Universal Analytics are based on pageviews and sessions. In case you’re unfamiliar, a session is a cluster of user interactions or hits on a website within a specific time. A typical session will contain elements like:
- E-commerce transactions
On the other hand, Google Analytics 4 uses a measurement model based on events and corresponding parameters. This means that any interaction counts as an event, meaning all hit types in GA4 count as events. Confusing? Let’s break it down.
In Universal Analytics, every event had a category, action, and label and stood as a specific hit type. GA4 has done away with these auxiliary tags and made every hit an event. The events can exist as-is or contain parameters.
No Monthly Limits
Google Analytics 4 finally removes the monthly hit limits that most website owners had to deal with. Remember, the free version of Universal Analytics 4 had a monthly limit of 10 million hits. This precluded any significant data collection and could be downright annoying. But this isn’t to say that GA4 has no limits. Its limit is in the number of different events that users can capture. Users can only capture up to 500 different events. Good luck trying to reach that limit!
Another exciting feature GA4 brings to the table is free BigQuery. BigQuery is a serverless data warehouse that allows users to query extensive and complex data sets. This feature was only available to GA360 (paid Google Analytics accounts) users but will now be available to all GA4 users.
Migrating from Universal Analytics to GA4 is easier said than done for the most part. Thankfully, our comprehensive Converting To GA4 Training will bring you and your company up to speed on making the switch and provide you with a hands-on workshop that shows you how to review and interpret website traffic data in the new software version. That way, you can make the most of Google Analytics 4 and ensure your company remains ahead of your competition. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation.