GA4 vs. UA: Key Differences and Benefits for Your Analytics Strategy

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of Google’s analytics platform, and it offers several key differences from Universal Analytics (UA), the previous version of Google Analytics. In this blog post, we’ll highlight some of the key differences between UA and GA4.

1. Event-based tracking

One of the biggest differences between UA and GA4 is the way they track user behavior. UA uses pageviews as the primary way to track user behavior, while GA4 uses event-based tracking. This means that GA4 tracks specific user actions, such as button clicks and video views, rather than just pageviews. This allows you to gain more granular insights into user behavior and better understand how users are interacting with your website or app.

2. Enhanced measurement

GA4 offers enhanced measurement, which provides additional data on user behavior without requiring additional configuration. This includes data on scroll depth, outbound clicks, site search, and video engagement. Enhanced measurement allows you to gain more insights into user behavior without having to set up additional tracking.

3. Cross-device tracking

GA4 offers improved cross-device tracking, which allows you to track users across multiple devices and sessions. This means that if a user starts a session on their desktop and then switches to their mobile device, GA4 can track that user as a single user across both devices. This allows you to gain a more complete view of user behavior and better understand how users are interacting with your website or app.

4. Machine learning and AI

GA4 incorporates machine learning and AI to provide more advanced insights and recommendations. For example, GA4 can use machine learning to analyze user behavior and provide recommendations on how to optimize your website or app. GA4 can also use AI to create predictive metrics, such as predicting which users are most likely to convert.

5. Privacy and data control

Finally, GA4 offers improved privacy and data control features. GA4 is designed to be more privacy-friendly, with features like consent mode, which allows you to control how you collect and use user data. GA4 also offers more data control features, such as the ability to delete user data and control data retention periods.

In summary, GA4 offers several key differences from UA, including event-based tracking, enhanced measurement, cross-device tracking, machine learning and AI, and improved privacy and data control features. By upgrading to GA4, you can gain more granular insights into user behavior, better understand how users are interacting with your website or app, and take advantage of more advanced analytics features.

Below you will find instructions to setup GA4.

Step 1: Sign up for Google Analytics

The first step to setting up GA4 is to sign up for a Google Analytics account. If you don’t already have an account, go to the Google Analytics website and click on “Start for free” to create an account. If you already have an account, log in to your account and navigate to the Admin section.

Step 2: Create a new property

Once you’re signed in to your Google Analytics account, click on the “Admin” tab in the bottom left corner of the screen. From there, select “Create Property” and choose “Web” or “App” depending on what you want to track. If you’re tracking a website, choose “Web.” If you’re tracking an app, choose “App.”

Step 3: Set up your data stream

After creating your property, you’ll need to set up a data stream to start collecting data. To do this, click on “Data Streams” under the “Property” column, and then click on “Add Stream.” Follow the prompts to set up your data stream.

If you’re tracking a website, you’ll need to enter your website URL and choose whether you want to track all website traffic or only specific subdomains. You’ll also need to choose whether you want to enable enhanced measurement, which provides additional data on user behavior.

If you’re tracking an app, you’ll need to select your platform (iOS or Android) and enter your app name and app store ID. You’ll also need to choose whether you want to enable enhanced measurement, which provides additional data on user behavior.

Step 4: Install the tracking code

Once you’ve set up your data stream, you’ll need to install the tracking code on your website or app. Click on “Tagging” under the “Property” column and then click on “Set up tag.” Follow the instructions to install the tracking code on your website or app.

If you’re tracking a website, you’ll need to add the GA4 tracking code to the header of your website. You can do this by adding the tracking code to your website’s HTML code or by using a tag manager like Google Tag Manager.

If you’re tracking an app, you’ll need to add the GA4 SDK to your app. You can do this by downloading the GA4 SDK for iOS or Android and integrating it into your app code.

Step 5: Set up events and conversions

GA4 uses events and conversions to track user behavior and measure the success of your website or app. To set up events and conversions, click on “Events” or “Conversions” under the “Property” column and follow the prompts to create your events and conversions.

Events are actions that users take on your website or app, such as clicking a button or watching a video. To set up an event, you’ll need to define the event name, category, and other parameters.

Conversions are specific user actions that you want to track, such as completing a purchase or filling out a form. To set up a conversion, you’ll need to define the conversion name, category, and other parameters.

Step 6: Customize your reports

GA4 offers a range of customizable reports to help you analyze your data. To customize your reports, click on “Analysis” in the left-hand menu and then select “Custom Reports.” From there, you can choose which metrics and dimensions you want to include in your report and create custom visualizations.

Conclusion

Setting up GA4 can seem daunting at first, but by following these steps, you’ll be able to start tracking and analyzing your website or app data in no time. Remember to define your goals and KPIs before setting up GA4, as this will help you choose the right events and conversions to track. With GA4, you’ll be able to gain valuable insights into your audience and optimize your website or app for better performance.

If you need any help setting up GA4, feel free to contact us.

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