Google Analytics 4 (GA4) - How is GA4 different from your current Universal Analytics (UA)?

What’s happening?

Around Oct-20 last year, Google announced a new release of Google Analytics called Google Analytics 4. GA4 is a rebrand of the Google Analytics App + Web property. Universal Analytics has been around since 2013 and with the changing way we use the internet, Google felt it was time to update its website analytics as well.

If you’re a regular user of Analytics, it’s worthwhile to wrap your head around what will be changing because we’ll be moving over sooner or later.

How is GA4 different from UA?

This table talks about the trends that are going on in recent years and how Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is trying to address those changes compared with Universal Analytics (UA).

Google Analytics 4 vs Universal Analytics Table


Google Analytics 4 Limitations

Ok so as I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t feel like Google Analytics 4 is quite ready yet. Specifically here are a few things we’re concerned about.

No backups

So, having a backup property where you haven’t tried to manipulate or clean up any of the data is a pretty standard Analytics practice. Currently, you can’t have a backup in GA4.

Not a lot of filters

Similar to the issue of no backups above, there isn’t a lot of functionality to clean up the data in GA4. There could be issues with some URLs having capitals and others not. Filters are limited to excluding internal/developer traffic

Historical Data Limits

While you can look back as far as you like in Universal Analytics, currently you can only look back as far as 14 months in GA4.

Too much change

There is a lot of change going on in digital right now. You may have noticed from the repeated headlines about Google and Facebook in the news. And this is another thing to layer on top of that, a new tool to learn. I predict another limiting factor to update of the tool will be how much time people have while everything else is going on.

Should you update to GA4?

Yes, sort of. It’ll likely take a few years for GA4 to be commonplace amongst digital marketers. Universal Analytics isn’t going away anytime soon. Almost all our clients at Insight only have websites so the benefits of GA4 are less apparent at this point in time.

Get your agency to set up a GA4 property soon so you can start collecting the data. But you don’t have to move over until you’re comfortable.

If you’re one of our clients, you’re in luck. We’re going to setup GA4 properties to ensure that at least we’ve started collecting the data for you. But even if not, updating is reasonably easy if you follow these steps.

Need a hand with your Google Analytics? Feel free to reach out. We are happy to help!

Kim Voon

Founder

With over 15 years of experience in search and online marketing, Kim is the Founder of Insight Online. Kim started Insight as he saw an opportunity to build an agency that focuses on business results and strong working relationships with clients.

As the face of the business, Kim will likely be your first point of contact, chatting with you about your work and what you’d like to get done. The best part of his job is meeting new people, getting to know their businesses, and making a tangible, measurable difference for them.

In his spare time, Kim loves playing disc golf, strumming a little guitar and is an avid bookworm.

His favourite charities are Zeal which supports youth in their development over a number of years and Lifewise, an organisation focussed on getting homeless into homes.