What Is GA4? How Google Improved Your Analytics
Over the years, Google has deployed new versions of Analytics to improve and drive more efficient reporting for websites across the world. The newest version of analytics, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), has officially replaced the long-standing iteration, Universal Analytics (UA), after a three-year-long rollout.
July 1st, 2023, marked the official end of UA and the mandatory transfer of all accounts to GA4. This means that any UA accounts you may have had are no longer receiving user data. This switch has been long anticipated, and according to Google, the new GA4 analytics system is more powerful, efficient, and accurate.
Our team of Google Analytics specialists have been tracking the GA4 announcement and subsequent shift from the beginning.
GA4 vs. UA
The goal of any version of Google Analytics has been to collect data, organize it, and create visual representations to allow website owners and managers to make better-informed decisions for their websites and/or businesses. Google Analytics 4 is no different.
At the core of it all, GA4 collects data based on events and parameters, while UA collected data based on sessions and page views. This means that formulas to calculate certain metrics have changed, but most metrics kept the same name.
So, what metrics have changed? (Each of these will have a table directly from Google that directly compares the differences.)
Google Added a New 'Active' User Type and They Improved How They Track Total and New Users
Google Improved How They Track Standard and Unique Pageviews By Improving Pageview Tracking Algorithms and Removing Unique Pageviews
Google Improved How Purchase Events Are Tracked By Simplifying The Code Needed for Tracking
Google Improved How Sessions Are Tracked By Adding Granularity
Google Improved Aquisition Metrics By Adding New Dimensions to Tracked Data
Google Improved How Conversions Are Tracked With a More Accurate Formula
Google Improved Bounce Rate Tracking By Changing the Time and Session Type Criteria a User Needs to Meet to Register as a Bounce
Google Improved How Events Are Tracked By Totally Overhauling The Architecture of Event Tracking
Additionally, the ability to create custom views and event tracking has been greatly expanded. There are almost a limitless amount of ways to organize your views, events, and tracking—giving you a new perspective on your website’s traffic.
All of these changes add up to make reporting more accurate and flexible for every website’s individual goals.
Our digital marketing team began migrating to GA4 for ourselves and our clients since last year. So far, the experience has been smooth and improved our management skills for client websites and analytics.
After experiencing this shift from UA to GA4, the most significant change is how GA4 collects and structures data. It has completely shifted the way data is interpreted and manipulated to track activity on a website. These shifts have greatly improved accuracy overall and will provide high-quality data for all users.
The best change for us has been the ability to customize every client’s reporting experience to better understand and visualize their website’s success. Coupled with the seamless integration with our other data software, GA4 has greatly improved our ability to manage and support client website success.
If your business hasn’t initiated the switch or isn’t sure how to take advantage of the new Google Analytics 4 changes, reach out to our digital marketing team!