Google Analytics 4: What’s New vs. Universal Analytics

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Google Analytics (GA) is a tool used for businesses to get to know their audience better. Through complete information, insights, and data gathered from interactions and engagements online, companies can understand how their clients think and behave. They can use the data collected for better results to integrate it into Google’s advertising and publisher products.

Google Analytics 4 is the newest update to the search engine’s insight tool. Compared to Universal Analytics (UA), it harnesses the information from websites and mobile applications. Unlike UA, GA4 tracks everything as an event. However, how is it better than universal analytics exactly?

1. Faster Than Before

Due to BigQuery integration, or the data warehouse that processes SQL queries at high speeds, GA4 allows people to analyse terabytes of raw data. It lets users take advantage of the insights brought by the platform’s machine-learning capabilities to stream data directly to BigQuery. Of course, the speed translates differently depending on the raw data users have on hand.

BigQuery was only available to the GA360 services in the past but at a cost. Now, users can access it through GA4 for free. However, there may be limits and quotas on the data stored via the free tier. But overall, users can do so much with the monthly free data allowance, capped at 10GB of free storage and 1TB of query data.

2. Access to Unsampled Data

Universal Analytics limits the users to 10 million hits per property to the amount of data collected. Although there can be a lot of sampling done when processing the data, having access to unsampled data is more significant as it ensures users of basing their decisions on reliable data.

It’s true that users find it helpful while working with segments and sampled data. However, the process could involve operating with incomplete information, assuming you rely on sampled data alone.

3. Enhanced Engagement Metrics

Engagement is a vital component of tracking user behaviour online. It is a way to monitor how users move through the site and how fast they bounce in and out from it. Using UA only gives the bounce rate and percentage of visitors leaving a website without any interaction.

Meanwhile, GA4 provides positive data on user engagement. Any session lasting for at least ten seconds is an “engaged” move. It is also called an engagement if a site visitor has at least one conversion event or two page views.

Through enhanced engagement metrics, businesses can track user engagement better rather than basing it only on their flow in and out behaviour. It gives businesses an idea of how users feel about their landing page, encouraging them to continue reading their content, sign up for a download, or more. The enhanced engagement was also part of UA, but it requires custom coding—something GA4 included in its pack.

4. Cross-Platform Tracking

Since GA4 highlights its website and application insights, the tool now merges data from both platforms, making it more efficient to work with. In fact, developers called GA4 “Google Analytics App+Web” while it was still in beta.

By combining two platforms in one place, businesses can get the complete view of engagement across their platforms without manually doing the process. GA4 creates the process easier and faster, making the move efficient for companies.

Conclusion

Google Analytics 4 is not a reason to abandon the trusty Universal Analytics property. However, it is a tool that can greatly improve how you track people who visit your website. In effect, businesses can improve their lead generation, sales conversion, and return on investment in no time. 

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