In 2005, Google began making its Google Analytics platform available to consumers; in 2006, it became free. It kept adding functions, and in 2012 a new version called Universal Analytics (UA) was released that connected them together. To take the role of UA, Google Analytics 4 was published in 2020.
In particular, Google Analytics 4 is an enhancement over UA since it retains past data. However, if you want to use it in lieu of UA, you might want to be aware that it still lacks the majority of UA’s reporting features. In time, Google Analytics 4 will become a stand-alone application. However, it would be wise to utilize it in combination with UA given its existing functionality.
What is Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?
Web analytics tools, which measure website traffic and offer insights into user behavior, are only one of the numerous tools and resources available to small businesses to assist in their operation and growth. Google Analytics is one of the best of these, assisting website owners in assessing the effectiveness of content, marketing, goods, and more.
The most recent iteration of the UA tool, GA 4, takes into account changes to online data collecting and privacy laws including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Google Analytics’ earlier incarnations partially complied with CCPA while being GDPR compliant. Users of the website have the opportunity to adjust GA 4 to guarantee CCPA and GDPR compliance.
In addition to compliance, Google Analytics 4 enhances UA by using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to gather, measure, and analyse data. You may utilise it without creating a UA account because it is the default setup for new accounts.
But be realistic about what to expect, as GA 4 is primarily a tool for analysis rather than reporting. It will eventually be built entirely and should contain all of UA’s features by that time. There is a clear learning curve because of how different Google Analytics 4 is from UA regarding its operation. Comparing Google Analytics 4 and UA can help you determine if you should use one or the other—or both.
Difference between Google Analytics 4 & Google Analytics
In Universal Analytics, Total Users is the metric shown in most reports. However, GA4 focuses on Active Users and shows these two metrics as interchangeable The metric named “Users” has the same name in both UA and GA4, but their calculations are different because one is based on total users while the other is based on active users.
Google Analytics 4, when compared to Google Analytics, has a lot of differences.
One of the most important differences is that Google Analytics 4 is way better at collecting data than Google Analytics. It also has a lot more features in it than Google Analytics does.
What Distinguishes Google Analytics 4 (GA4) From UA?
UA and Google Analytics differ in three key ways from one another:
- Accurate tracking
- Flexible reporting
- Trackable data management
Google Analytics 4 is still in the early stages of development, but it already offers a wiser, more complete view of your data than UA. The benefits of Google Analytics 4 over UA are listed below.
In order to keep track of everything a user does on a website, Efficient Tracking UA follows users using sessions that have specified durations. Instead of starting a session each time a user visits a site, Google Analytics 4 uses events, which capture everything a user does on the site while they are there. Due to the elimination of duplicate entries for each user, the GA 4 technique is more effective. It aids in the effective collection of data, the analysis of user activity, and the cross-referencing of data to produce insights that can be put into practice.
The kinds of reports they are capable of producing is another distinction. Owners of websites can somewhat adjust the pre-set reports provided by UA. Only top-level data is included in the built-in reports of Google Analytics 4. To dive down to certain data, the site owner can use the Analysis tab and produce personalised reports. This entails additional flexibility in the report’s data format and kind.
Manageable data tracking
Last but not least, UA users who have both a website and an app would have different attributes for data flowing from each. Property is the location where all online data is processed. Data from both websites and applications is gathered by GA 4 into a single property. It makes data monitoring for each user much more manageable by using the same tracking code for every form of the data stream, such as a website or app.
When there are advantages, there are certain disadvantages as well. Let us see some of those here:
Disadvantages of Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
Compared to UA, Google Analytics 4 still has some rough edges and fewer features. Users of UA will need to set up the new syntax for all events and event tracking in Google Analytics 4 since the previous ones on UA won’t carry over.
Because the AI needs data, new GA 4 customers will need to wait before performing data analytics. So that machine learning may begin to function, you must create historical data. It’s unfortunate that Google Search Console, one of the top SEO software solutions, isn’t currently compatible with Google Analytics 4.
Despite these drawbacks, Google Analytics 4 still provides site owners with a number of advantages, so let’s find out how to set it up so you can start using it.
How to Install and Configure Google Analytics 4 (GA4) on Your Website?
- Create a profile
- Add a property to the mix.
- Organize a data stream
- Arrange for data gathering
- Link your Google Analytics account to UA
- “Go live” Google Analytics 4 now.
- Verify the installation
For new users, setting up Google Analytics 4 for your website is rather easy. It takes an extra step if you currently use UA to link it and get data from your UA account.
Step 1: Register for an Account
- The first step is to create a Google Analytics account:
- Click “Start For Free” on the Google Analytics site to get started for free.
- Submit the needed data, then validate your account.
- Go to the Admin tab, pick “Create Account,” then click on Account.
- Name your account and list the website information you want Google to have access to.
- Press “Next.”
Step 2: Add Your First Property in Step 2
- Choosing “Create Property.”
- Give it a name, such as “My Startup website,” and select the currency and time zone. Press “Next.”
- Choose the business size and industry type. To create, click.
- Accept the terms of service and the data processing amendment.
Step 3: Setting Up a Data Stream in Step 3
- Choose “Web.”
- Enter the stream name “My Startup website (webstream)” along with the URL of your website.
- Select whether to turn on or off Enhanced Measurement. When enabled, it automatically gathers page visits and other events. The events you wish to gather can be changed at any moment.
- Then select “Create Stream.”
Step 4: Set up data collection in Step 4
If your website employs one of the most well-liked website builders, such as Wix, WooCommerce, Google Sites, or WordPress, you may locate the Measurement (“G-“) ID you want for the Google Analytics field for your CMS by carrying out the steps below:
- Visit Admin
- Click on Property, pick “Data Streams” as the property, and then click “Web.” choosing the data streams
- Find your “G-” ID in the upper right corner and copy it for your CMS.
- Find your global site tag if your website utilises another website builder or CMS:
- To access the web, go to Admin > Property > Data Streams.
- To add a new on-page tag, look for “Tagging Instructions” and choose it. Find the Global Site Tag and copy the complete code, then paste it into your CMS’s customer HTML function.
- A global site tag is an additional option for your web pages. As this would require accessing the HTML, ask your site developer for help.
Step 4: Link your Google Analytics account to UA 4
If you already have a Google Analytics 4 account, you may link it to it by adding code to your website that transmits information to both accounts:
- Admin > Property > Data Streams should be accessed. Select “Web”
- Select “Use existing on-page tag” under “Tagging Instructions” to tag a page.
- Choose “Google Tag Manager,” then open the container that was put in place on your page.
- Click “New” after selecting “Tags.”
- “Tag Configuration” is chosen, and then “GA4 Configuration” is selected.
- Provide the “G-” ID.
- Toggle the tag to be activated on “All Pages”
- Click “Save” after naming the tag.
Step 4: Construct Google Analytics 4 Liven Up
- Click “Submit” after visiting the “Tag Manager.”
- Click “Publish” after entering the version name and description.
- Verify the installation
- Choose the property you made.
- To get the report that verifies if your website is transmitting data to GA 4, choose “Real-Time.”
Whether you currently use UA or not, you need to install Google Analytics 4 as soon as feasible for your website. Even if it isn’t finished, you want to start gathering data to improve your website and provide visitors more for their money.