Google’s Universal Analytics (UA) has been upgraded to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). If you have a UA account to track your website then UA will still be working and not stop because you migrate to GA4.
If you are starting a new installation then Google provides you an option to choose only GA4 or GA4 and UA. You choose both as GA4 is still under upgrades. If you already have a UA account then add GA4 to it. GA4 is the new and best-in-class tool for monitoring your website’s activities.
GA4 uses AI and Machine Learning to provide in-depth insights into how your customers engage with your website and app and track the entire customer journey. GA4 uses technology like privacy-first tracking, cross-channel data measurement and AI-driven predictive analysis.
Setting up GA4
One of the ways to migrate from UA to GA4 is by using Google Tag Manager (GTM). This will help you optimise for speed.
You can create a new GA4 property and collect data from the UA property using GA4 Setup Assistant. Your UA property will stay unchanged and collect data as usual. The admin panel provides access to both properties.
Your GA4 property will be backfilled with historical data by the GA4 Setup Assistant wizard. Your GA4 property will collect only future data. To view historical data you can use the reports in your UA property.
Comparing UA with GA4
To set tracking in UA via GMT the ‘tracking ID’ is used. To set tracking in GA4 via GMT, 'measurement ID’ is used.
UA uses a measurement model based on ‘sessions’ and ‘pageviews’ and everything is based on tracking these. GA4 uses a flexible measurement model based on ‘events’ and ‘parameters’.
In UA you can create additional views for tracking your website and app separately. In GA4 you cannot create additional views but an option is provided to create data streams for your website and app.
In UA you can set the time for data storage to one of the following 14, 26, 38 or 50 months or ‘do not automatically expire’. In GA4 you can choose the amount of time period from 2 or 14 months.
In UA you can see the data of viewers in the last 5 minutes. In GA4 you can see the data of the users in the last 30 minutes. You can see the viewers by Audience, Source, Page Title and Screen name.
GA4 still lacks some integration including Search Console but it will be modified.
New features of GA4
- You can set up alerts to get notifications when Google Analytics 4 discovers significant data trends that you should know about.
- You can build new things using Analytics Reports like ‘Churn Portability Report’ for your returning customers. You can customise for all dimensions like Acquisitions, Engagement and Monetisation. You can create and edit reports based on your needs.
- You can analyse the user journey across Google products like YouTube. It can track a view to a conversion from a YouTube video.
- In GA4 you can track interactions like Scrolls, PageViews, Site Searches, Outbound Clicks, Video Engagements and Downloads. You can disable/enable these events individually.