Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the new version of Google's popular analytics platform. It offers a number of new features and improvements over the previous version, Universal Analytics (UA).
The key benefits of GA4:
It's more flexible and scalable. GA4 can collect data from a wider range of sources, including websites, apps, and offline interactions. This makes it easier to get a complete view of your customer journey.
It's more privacy-focused. GA4 uses machine learning to identify individual users without the need for cookies. This means that you can continue to collect valuable data without compromising your users' privacy.
It's more predictive. GA4 can use machine learning to predict future behaviour, such as which products customers are likely to purchase or which pages they are likely to visit. This information can help you to improve your marketing campaigns and website content.
The key differences between Universal Analytics (UA) and Google Analytics 4 (GA4):
Data model. UA uses a session-based model, while GA4 uses an event-based model. This means that UA tracks user interactions in sessions, while GA4 tracks all user interactions as events.
Hit types. UA uses a variety of hit types, such as pageviews, events, and ecommerce transactions. GA4 only uses one hit type, the event.
Account structure. UA has a single account structure, while GA4 has a dual account structure. This means that UA properties are associated with a single Google Ads account, while GA4 properties are associated with both a Google Ads account and a Google Analytics account.
Reporting. UA reports are based on sessions and pageviews, while GA4 reports are based on events. This means that GA4 reports will be more granular and detailed than UA reports.
…and of course the challenges for marketers moving from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). We all have been used to a single platform as our source of truth for some many years:
Data model. The data model in GA4 is different from the data model in UA. This means that you will need to learn how to use the new data model in order to get the most out of GA4.
Reporting. The reporting in GA4 is different from the reporting in UA. This means that you will need to learn how to use the new reporting tools in GA4 in order to get the information you need.
Privacy. GA4 is more privacy-focused than UA. This means that you will need to take steps to ensure that you are compliant with all applicable privacy laws when using GA4.
Learning curve. GA4 is a new platform, and it takes time to learn how to use it effectively. This means that you may experience some challenges when you first start using GA4.