If you own a small business, chances are you’ve heard about Universal Analytics (UA) and Google Analytics 4 (GA4). But do you know the difference between them? Understanding these two platforms’ differences will help you decide which one to use for your business. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between UA and GA4.
What is Universal Analytics?
Universal Analytics (UA) is Google’s first iteration of analytics, released in 2013 as an upgrade to its predecessor, Classic Google Analytics. It’s a free platform that provides businesses with insights into their website performance, visitor behavior, and online marketing campaigns. With UA, businesses can track page views, time spent on site, bounce rate, and more. Additionally, businesses can use it to set up conversion tracking for eCommerce websites or optimize their AdWords campaigns.
What is Google Analytics 4?
Google released Google Analytics 4 (GA4) in 2020 as an update to UA. The main difference between UA and GA4 is that GA4 tracks your customers’ journey across your platform using event tracking instead of cookies.
With this innovative property, you can get a whole picture of website and app data. Behavioral/conversion modeling gives you the power of machine learning. With direct integrations to media platforms ready-to-go, GA4 makes driving actions on your website or app effortless.
Do I need to switch from UA to GA4?
Yes. Google’s stance on this is 100% clear. If you have a Universal Analytics property, you must migrate to Google Analytics 4. Google plans to discontinue Universal Analytics in the summer of 2023. We assume you will still be able to access your old data, but no new data will be sent to UA after the shutdown.
The only real question is, do you need to switch to it immediately? We’d argue that the answer to that question is also “yes.” Unfortunately, Google has made no plans to allow you to import existing UA data into the new GA4 platform. That means that when you switch, you’ll be dealing with all new data. Switching now, even before you intend to analyze or utilize GA4 data, means you will have months and months of data to use in your future reports.
How do I switch to GA4?
When you log into your Google Analytics account, you should see an alert at the top of your screen asking you if you are ready to switch to GA4. Additional information and detailed steps are available via Google’s support documentation.
Would you prefer to have some help along the way? Reach out to our team. We can let you know whether you already have GA4 installed (which is likely if your account was made in 2020 or later) or if you need someone to install it for you. We would be happy to help!