Skip to content

Google Analytics GA4: The key differences between GA and G4 that any marketing agency or marketing manager should know

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is a complete rebuild of Google Analytics (Universal Analytics) and introduces a range of new features and changes. Here are some of the key differences that a marketing agency or marketing manager should be aware of:

  1. Event-Based Tracking: GA4 is designed around event-based tracking. This means it tracks interactions with a website or app as events; almost everything can be an event. This is a shift away from the session and page view-based tracking model of Universal Analytics.

  2. User-Centric Measurement: GA4 emphasizes user behavior more, with cross-platform tracking (across multiple devices and platforms) being a key feature. This allows a complete understanding of how users interact with a site or app.

  3. BigQuery Integration: GA4 offers integration with Google's BigQuery for all users, not just those on the premium GA360 tier. This allows for more advanced analysis and data processing.

  4. Advanced Analysis Techniques: GA4 provides advanced analysis techniques like funnel analysis, path analysis, and cohort analysis out of the box.

  5. Enhanced Measurement: GA4 can automatically measure certain types of user interactions such as scrolls, video engagement, outbound clicks, site search, etc.

  6. Machine Learning at its Core: GA4 leverages Google's advanced machine learning models to automatically alert you to significant trends in your data, predict future actions your customers may take, and provide a more complete understanding of the customer journey.

  7. Codeless Event Tracking: GA4 allows you to track certain types of events without adding extra code to your website, making it easier to customize the data you collect.

  8. Privacy-Centric: Given the changes in privacy regulations and the phasing out of third-party cookies, GA4 is designed to handle data more responsibly and has more flexible data controls to help you manage how you collect, store, and use your data.

  9. Different Reporting Structure: GA4 has a completely different interface and reporting structure than Universal Analytics. This might require some training to get used to.

  10. No "Bounce Rate" Metric: GA4 has eliminated the "Bounce Rate" metric and replaced it with an "Engagement Rate" metric, which is a significant shift in understanding user behavior on your site.

Remember, Google will eventually phase out Universal Analytics, and GA4 will become the standard. Therefore, it's important to start becoming familiar with GA4 and its differences sooner rather than later.