Google Analytics (GA), a tool that website managers and marketers must operate, can collect user information and behavior on websites, including gender, age, and number of website visits, to help brands plan future marketing activities. In 2020, Google officially launched Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and announced that the Universal Analytics version of Google Analytics would no longer be able to collect data starting from July 1, 2023. The brand that relies on data for decision-making needs to cope with this transition period. Let GoSky introduce the differences between GA4 and the old Universal Analytics and the GA4 interface report!

What is GA4 and what advantages can it bring to brands compared to Universal Analytics?

Compared to Universal Analytics, GA4 has the following advantages:

Cross-platform data integration for websites and apps

GA4 combines the Universal Analytics tool for tracking websites and the Firebase tool for tracking apps to track website and app data at the same time, providing a more complete understanding of cross-device user behavior patterns.

User-centered analysis

Compared to Universal Analytics, which collects data based on "sessions," which can often lead marketers into traps such as dwell time and bounce rate, GA4 collects data based on "events" and pays more attention to user behavior on the website.

Connect with Google Ads

In addition to viewing Google Ads marketing campaign and effectiveness data in GA4 reports, GA4 can also import the list provided in the GA4 target audience report directly into Google Ads for remarketing.

What are the differences between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4?

Here's a table to help you understand the differences between the two versions. In addition to the cross-platform data integration mentioned earlier, the biggest difference between Universal Analytics and GA4 is that GA4 introduces metrics such as "engagement" to measure visitor activity on the page, while the old version focuses more on "bounce rate" to observe visitor inactivity. Although the new version of GA also includes the concept of bounce rate, the tracking methods for both versions differ slightly, so they cannot be considered the same metric.

How do you view the reports in the Google Analytics 4 interface?

The GA4 left-hand navigation panel has four main report categories: Reports, Explore, Advertising, and Settings, which are explained below:

1.Reports: Same as the four major reports in Universal Analytics (Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, Conversion), this report allows you to observe user interaction information from source to conversion.

Acquisition: Observe how users discover and revisit your website or application by viewing the effectiveness and engagement of each source/medium to perform the next optimization.

Engagement: Observe how users use the website and app, such as which pages are viewed most and what events are triggered on the website.

Monetization: Observe whether users bring revenue after entering the website and interacting, such as which products sell well and what is the cart/purchase rate after users view the products.

Retention: Observe the frequency and duration of user interactions with the website or app after their initial visit, such as whether users revisit and the ratio of new to existing customers.

Audience: Display user information such as age, gender, country, city, and language.

Technology: Display what browser and device users are using.

2.Explore: Create your own report formats based on your needs and save them as templates. The official report template library is also provided for everyone to use.

3.Advertisement: With the ability to observe conversion and revenue across multiple channels, not limited to data from advertising campaigns, and by using different types of attribution models, the best conversion path can be identified through analysis. In addition, the interaction between the source media and users is divided into three touchpoints: early, middle, and late. The following are the six different attribution models provided by GA4:

Last-click: Ignoring direct traffic, 100% of the conversion value is attributed to the last source media clicked by the user before completing the conversion.

First-click: All credit for the conversion is attributed to the first source media clicked by the user before the conversion.

Linear: Conversion credit is evenly attributed to all source media.

Position-based: 40% of the credit is attributed to both the first and last interactions, and the remaining 20% is evenly distributed to the middle interactions.

Time decay: The closer the touchpoint is to the completion of the conversion, the more credit is attributed. Credit is divided based on a 7-day half-life, meaning that clicks that occur within 8 days before the completion of the conversion receive half of the credit of clicks that occur 1 day before the completion of the conversion.

Google Ads last-click priority: 100% of the conversion value is attributed to the last Google Ads channel clicked by the customer before completing the conversion. If there are no Google Ads clicks in the path, the attribution model reverts to last-click cross-channel.

4.Setting: Customizable content, such as events, conversions, target audiences, etc., can be extended to view changes in percentage within intervals for common events and target audiences.

Do I need to install GA4? Should I continue to use Universal Analytics?

Starting on July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics will stop processing data. Although it can still be viewed for a period of time after July 1, 2023, new data will only flow into GA4. Currently, GA4 cannot completely replace Universal Analytics, so it is recommended to use both during this transition period. However, it is strongly recommended that brand owners install GA4 as soon as possible to prepare for future trends!