Starting July 1st, 2023, Google’s Universal Analytics will become deprecated. In its place, Google Analytics 4 will become the default analytics tool for tracking engagement and traffic on your websites. With more granular data collection and broader customization, GA4 has a lot to offer. However, the improvements made in GA4 as compared to its predecessor come with some challenges.
The main challenge of switching from Universal Analytics to GA4 is a general change of workflow. Universal Analytics was designed as a collection of default metrics and reports. Much of the data analysis and predefined key factors came out of the box. Overall, this made Universal Analytics easier to use and learn.
GA4, on the other hand, aims to break the limitations of Universal Analytics. With fewer default reports and tracked metrics, GA4’s usefulness can demand customization. Let’s take a look at some of the major changes that we will encounter using GA4.
In Universal Analytics, data collected is based on “Sessions” and “Page views.” In a attempt for granularity, GA4 has shifted its data model to be based on “Events.” Due to this shift, certain metrics that were once default in Universal Analytics or either absent or changed in GA4. While these shifts don’t change the usefulness of Google Analytics Services, it may push us to change the way we determine success. Learning new metrics and what they mean for our business will take time.
Much like metrics, Universal Analytics and GA4 have varying reports. Universal Analytics had a many types of reports that you could use in order to examine your website. GA4 has condensed those reports into fewer ones while also offering the ability to create customized reports of your own. For example, in the “Acquisition” tab of Universal Analytics, over 30 reports were available. GA4 offers only 3 general categories in its “Acquisition”tab, offering only a handful of reports within them. The rest can be tailored for your business needs. GA4’s breadth of options for customization can present a barrier in terms of its learning curve.
Need help with GA4?
Confused about how to use GA4? Need help understanding GA4’s new layout and reporting system? BCSE is always here to help! Want a more hands-on approach? Save your seat today for Carrie Saunders’ “4-Day Google Analytics 4 Boot-camp.” In this bootcamp, Carrie will guide you in getting your GA4 account set up and exploring the many ways you can use it to optimize your business!