Home Digital Marketing Difference Between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics

Difference Between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics

by Tarun Pal
Google Analytics 4 vs Universal analytics

For your information, more than 28 million sites, including 74% of the most popular 10,000, use Google Analytics to obtain insights. We have all been familiar with universal analytics for 12 years. But in October 2020, Google announced a new version and interface of Google Analytics called GA4, it makes you think and now you are at the right place.

In this digital world there is a reason behind every change and similarly there are many reasons for Google to launch GA4. But before knowing the reason you need to know the difference between GA4 and UA. 

In this article, we will try to explain all the questions specially related to google analytics 4, and explain the major difference between both analytics. 

Difference Between GA4 & UA

The main difference between GA4 and UA is  collecting session based data and GA4 groups event-based data but in my opinion these are the 4 advantages which are the main ones.

Universal Analytics 

  • Session-Based Data – In the UA property, Analytics serves data in sessions, and these sessions are the core component of all reporting. A session is a set of user interactions with your website within a given time frame. 
  • Limited Cross- and Cross-Platform Reporting – Means if you have both website and app then you have to create 2 or 3 properties. And the worst thing about Universal Analytics is that you can get information about websites and apps from the same interface.
  • Limited Automation – Even with the help of Google Tag Manager, UA is limited to automation. For example, you can set goals in UA but it will not provide complex data like exact revenue, best selling product etc.
  • Real Time Report – Universal Analytics shows real time data like location, pages visited, device of users who visited your website in the last 5 minutes.

Google Analytics 4

  • Event-Based Data –  In GA4 properties, you can still see session data. But GA4 collects and stores user interactions with your website or app as events. Events provide information on how users perform on your website, such as page views, button clicks, user actions, or system events. 
  • Full Cross-Device and Cross-Platform Reporting –  This is the main difference and advantage of GA4 that you don’t need to create separate properties for web and app. You can get all the data from Web, Android and IOS on a single dashboard.
  • Machine Learning – GA4 isn’t limited to tracking revenue or best-selling products, it’s much more than that. With the help of machine learning, GA4 provides predictive metrics such as purchase likelihood, churn likelihood, and expected return.
  • Real Time Overview – In Google Analytics 4, you can see a real-time overview of the past 30 minutes such as location, pages visited, devices, events, and conversions events.

The Benefits of Google Analytics 4 

There are a lot of benefits of using GA4 as google developers are improving day by day but in my opinion these are 4 benefits which are the main ones.

1. Ecommerce Purchase Event

Obviously, most of us have been using Universal Analytics for e-commerce purchase conversions for years. But there is a lack of some data in UA like which product is on high sales, exact revenue and many more.

GA4 has many features and Ecommerce Purchase Event is one of them which provides complex metrics about user activity on your website or app.

For example, How many users ____?

  • Added the product to Wishlist 
  • Added shipping or payment info
  • Completed the purchase 

You can read more about e-commerce events on google analytics official documentation page – Measure Ecommerce.

2. Cross-Platform Reporting

Unlike Universal Analytics, you can integrate both web and app into a single property with data streams in GA4. The major benefit of cross platform reporting is that it will merge duplicate user data. 

For example, a user came to your website and then downloaded your app, and finally bought a product on your website. 

So the advantage of GA4 is that it will count this activity by 1 user. But if UA tracks this activity it will provide you 3 visitor data one form app and 2 from web.

3. Cookieless Measurement

Do you know, only 43% of web users accept cookie policy. And for Universal analytics cookie data is the foundation of it. And cookies are the biggest contention between Google and Apple, because Apple cannot compromise with user data and Universal Analytics is nothing without cookie data.

In the GA4 scenario, cookies are no longer important for providing meaningful data, instead of cookies Google has developed identity spaces modeling.

4. Predictive Capabilities

Certainly, the predictive ability of GA4 is the biggest advantage and feature. As Google said, the new version of Analytics can predict things that will happen in the future such as revenue, traffic potential of a website in the next 28 days.

Related Post: E-Commerce SEO: The Tried And Tested Guide

Reason Behind Launching New Version Of Google Analytics

In my opinion and observation, there are two reasons behind introducing Google Analytics 4:

  • Cookie Policy: There can be thousands or more internet users, even browsers like Safari doesn’t allow cookie policy and older versions of Analytics UA were not able to find data without cookies. So Google solved this problem with an even-based data model.
  • Interface: Maybe all of us or even Google itself is bored with the old interface of Google Analytics so they tried to come up with something that will inspire and pave the way for new job designations.

Final Words

Google Analytics 4 is the future of analytics and it will surely create new job opportunities, as it is not easy to understand as compared to the old one. You need hard practice to implement and understand Reports, Parameters, Exploration, BigQuery.

You may also like


Dang k'y March 7, 2024 - 10:32 am

Your point of view caught my eye and was very interesting. Thanks. I have a question for you.

Waffle Bytes March 7, 2024 - 1:11 pm

Yes you can ask!


Leave a Comment