Read Time: Approx. 3 Minutes 56 Seconds 
Author: Lewis Stretton 
Universal Analytics also known as (UA) is to be shut down and will stop processing data at the end of June. From July 1st 2023., GA4 will be the new go to measurement platform for marketers and website owners. Keep reading to find out the key changes between Universal Analytics and GA4. 

What is Google Analytics 4 (GA4)? 

The official Google Analytics 4 launch date was in the middle of October 2020. It is an analytics service that enables you to measure traffic and engagement across your websites and apps. Sounds similar? This is because GA4 still gathers metrics and measures your performance like UA. The reason businesses use UA is because it’s a platform that gathers all your marketing and website performance metrics in one area and this is exactly the same with GA4. 

What is new in GA4? 

After doing a bit of research ourselves and a couple of Lunch and Learns with the team, we concluded that there are a lot of changes in GA4 compared to UA. 
Tracking Model: 
We discovered that GA4 tracks differently. The new tracking model is known as an event-based measurement model. A simple way to describe this model is that it allows you to understand customer journeys easier. This is due to many of the new tools/features GA4 has to offer. Now if we look at what it originally was with UA, this model was known as a session-based model. This measures different customer interactions with your website within a given period (a session). The changes to the models have caused a difference in value for metrics. This is why you may see the same metric reporting different values on a UA account, in comparison to a GA4 account. 
Cross Device: 
So, what else is new? After doing some research, a new change is its capability to track cross device activity. Although this sounds complicated it isn’t. It means you can now group a website and an apps data into one group, which is known as a property in GA4. The benefit of this is that it allows you to get a more in-depth version of your customers behaviour and engagement, across these channels. Overall, this gives you a better understanding of your customers. This will help users like us, as all the websites’ data and Apps data are all in one space to use. 
An important change that GA4 changed from UA is the privacy of user’s data. Although this doesn’t directly affect you using GA4, it is important to understand. So, what makes the new Google Analytics 4 more private than Universal Analytics? It is their new privacy control tools. Customers now have to consent to how long they allow their data to be tracked for. As an owner of a GA4 account, this then allows you to set a data retention period. What this means is that GA4 will now have the ability to automatically delete users’ data after a specific time period you have set up. This means that you do not have to worry about complying with the privacy data regulations. 
Machine Learning: 
GA4’s new innovation is machine learning. This machine learning allows you to measure metrics that will predict or find out the probability of the future behaviour of your users. There are 3 key metrics you can use: 
Purchase Probability: this metric calculates the probability that a user who was active in the previous 28 days, will log a specific conversion event in the next 7 days 
Churn Probability: this is also a probability, that gathers a user data who has been active on your site or app within the last 7 days. It will determine if this user will not be active in the next 7 days 
Predicted Revenue: this metric predicts the revenue expected from all purchases within the next 28 days, based on a user who was active in the last 28 days 
All of these metrics stated are brand new to GA4 and will be useful to learn the behaviour of your customers. 
Intelligent Insights: 
With GA4 you can now ask intelligent questions, in real time. GA4 insights will allow you to find out about key data points faster than ever. Simply click the icon highlighted in the image below (highlighted in red) and ask a question or choose a question based on the auto generated categories. The insight tools answer the questions in a variety of different ways, from one sentence answers to small and condensed tables. Overall, the insights tool is a quick and easy feature to find out performance and trends. 

What we think of the changes ... 

Although many of us didn’t want UA to go, the dreaded countdown is slowly approaching. The changes being made to GA4 will be the future of analytics and need to embraced. GA4 is bringing many positives but it’s also bringing in many negatives. With GA4 bringing in AI in its machine learning and the new property with website and app tracking, we know this will be beneficial for many businesses. We do know there is also change which may be negative for businesses, with lower values tracked in GA4. However, the main conclusion we are taking from this is that there are more pro's than con's and everyone is in the same boat. This will be occurring for every business and not just yours. 
Need help on getting started with reporting and setting up your dashboards? Stay tuned as next week we will be launching our users guide to GA4! Alternatively, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of qualified GA4 experts. 
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