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Universal Analytics vs Google Analytics 4

Google has released the latest version of Google Analytics, namely Google Analytics 4. What’s the difference between these two versions of Google Analytics?

Here are the differences between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4:

  1. Reporting InterfaceReporting interface in Analytics 4 has more reporting menus. The given data metrics are quite difficult to understand. However, this reporting has actually been adapted to the user’s situation to make it easier for users to track the website.
  2. Measurement ModelGoogle Analytics 3 or Universal Analytics uses a measurement model based on sessions and website page views. This third version allows you to track your data, from analyzing it, collecting it and storing it. This data includes clicks, website page views, and information about visitor actions on your website.Google Analytics 4 provides much more detailed information because the measurement model is based on events and parameters. When you track website pages, the latest version of Google Analytics provides information about the user’s location, page title, and more.
  3. Tracking IDTracking ID is an important part of Google Analytics for setting up this type of tracking. This activity is supported by the Google Tag Manager (GTM) tool. In Google Analytics 4, the tracking ID is in the Measurement ID section. As for Universal Analytics, tracking ID is in the Tracking ID section.
  4. View and Data Streams SetupThe latest version of Google Analytics no longer has additional display options like Universal Analytics. If you really want to create a data stream for your website or app, you can still do that in Google Analytics 4, but it’s not as easy as previous versions.
  5. Event Tracking SetupGoogle Analytics 4 can no longer track events using category/action/label/value rules. While it may not seem as easy as Universal Analytics, the technology used in the latest version of Google Analytics is much more flexible as it can capture four categories of events, namely: automatically collected events, enhancement measurement events, recommended events, and custom events
  6. Event Tracking AutomationThe next difference is that Google Analytics 4 has an enhanced measurement feature that automatically tracks different types of events. Starting from video tracking, exit tracking, scroll tracking, site search tracking, and many more. This feature simplifies the tracking process across all marketing channels.
  7. User and Event Data RetentionThe latest version of Google Analytics has added user  features and event data retention to determine how long the tool stores user-specific data such as user identifiers, advertising identifiers, and cookie data.
  8. E-commerce TrackingE-commerce Tracking is a feature that can also be found in Universal Analytics. However, for Google Analytics version 4 is still not accurate (still under development).
  9. Cross Device and Cross Platform TrackingData information in Google Analytics 4 only focuses on websites and apps, making it easy to perform and track user activity. This feature provides faster and more useful information than previous versions.
  10. Attribution ModellingThe new version of Google Analytics doesn’t have this feature yet. Meanwhile, Universal Analytics has provided attribution model features through the attribution reports section and multi-channel funnels.
  11. Custom DimensionsUniversal Analytics allows you to change or define custom dimension scopes to clicks, sessions, users/products. Google Analytics 4 turns this section into an event.
  12. Custom MetricsCustom metrics feature is similar to custom dimensions. There is only one scope in Google Analytics 4, namely events. In Universal Analytics,  this scope is either a product or a click.
  13. DebuggingGoogle Analytics 4 has a reporting view which provides a debug view report. Here you can validate the analytics configuration in the interface.
  14. Engagement MetricsIn the new version of Google Analytics, report views can provide a new set of metrics. In the report, there are engaged sessions, engagement rate, engaged sessions per user, and engagement time.The presence of this metric is useful for tracking user engagement on your website or app. The results are much more accurate than the metrics used in Universal Analytics. With this, SEO strategy analysis is getting better.
  15. IP AnonymizationThere’s also an IP Anonymization feature that sounds foreign. Basically, Google Analytics can track and store the IP addresses of people who visit websites. In this way, you can view the geolocation data set. However, Google Analytics does not provide IP address reports in the reports.However, if your privacy policy does not allow storing the full IP address, use the IP Anonymization feature to hide the IP of website visitors.
  16. Reporting ViewsThere is only one reporting view in Google Analytics 4. This is very different from Universal Analytics, which has 25 reporting views.
  17. Big QueryGoogle Analytics 4 provides a free BigQuery connection. You can access raw data from Google Analytics 4 then run SQL queries. This is very helpful for more accurate data analysis to understand user activity on your website.
  18. Advanced Analysis ReportsThe Google Analytics reporting view has a new set of reports called Analysis for further analysis. The use of Advanced Analysis Reports helps you to understand the users who access the website through various channels or marketing channels.

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