Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of Google Analytics. It uses Google’s advanced Machine Learning models to capture data for user behavior and website traffic. GA4 will eventually replace the current version of Google Analytics called Universal Analytics (UA) in the future. GA4 has been fully functional since October 16, 2020. It is now the default property type when creating a Google Analytics property. It won't import any past data from UA Properties. For more data, we recommend you immediately implement GA.
Universal Analytics is different from GA4 in that they use a different measurement model. Universal Analytics uses a measurement method that is based upon pageviews and sessions.
A session refers to a set of interactions between users (hits), with a website, that take place within a certain time frame. Sessions can include multiple pageviews and events as well as eCommerce transactions.
Google Analytics 4 uses an event-based measurement model. It is possible to capture any interaction as an event. Therefore, Universal Analytics hits translate into events in GA4.
In the past, there were two properties that could be used to view web traffic and app traffic. GA4 allows you to combine both apps and web traffic into one report view by using data streams. This makes it easy to view all traffic events.
This is probably the most important new feature GA4 offers from an implementation standpoint. In order to debug Universal Analytics, you had to use real-time reporting to verify pageviews and events. With DebugView, you can instantly verify events at a granular level as they are happening. Debug mode uses a data filter to automatically exclude this traffic from reports while using the DebugView to not inflate metrics.
While the UI might look the same with the left-hand report selectors, once you start digging into the reports, you'll quickly notice that the report category and options have been changed. Google has now added reports for Engagement and User Acquisition. This tells you that Google is placing more emphasis on the user.
Google Analytics 4 has one major change: it doesn't measure bounce rates at all. Instead, you'll be tracking an entirely different metric, the engagement rate. Engagement rate is more than just looking at the number of visitors who leave the site and move on to the next page. It considers how long the visitor spends on the landing pages. This makes engagement rate and bounce rates incomparable.
Google Analytics 4 gives you several engagement metrics such as engaged sessions, engagement rate, and engaged sessions per person.
GA4 offers a lot of enhancements and potential advantages over Universal Analytics. Google’s new analytics tool includes built-in machine learning for deeper insights and consumer-focused tracking, improved event tracking, re-imagined reporting, easier cross-domain setup, and free integration with Google BigQuery. With the advanced machine learning model, you can automatically use the new analytics to alert you about your data trends.
Google Analytics 4 allows you to set your business goals and convert tracking. This will allow you to track the actions taken on your website in order to achieve your goals.
We recommend setting up GA4 now and keep Universal Analytics also in place, to access historical data. Once it is set up, you can begin collecting information and enjoying all the latest features provided.
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