Differences Between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4

Differences Between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4

As you may already know, Universal Analytics (UA), the current Google Analytics platform, will stop collecting data by July 2023. This means that businesses want to migrate from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
GA4 is the latest version of Google Analytics, providing a more comprehensive and advanced range of features in comparison to Universal Analytics. Some of the key differences between the two platforms are discussed below.

Data Model

One of the most important differences between the UA and GA4 is the data collection and tracking. UA model relies based on session and page view, whereas GA4 uses the measurement model based on events.


In Google Analytics, a session represents a user’s visit or browsing session on your website. It starts when a user accesses your site and ends when inactive for typically 30 minutes or when they leave. A user can have multiple interactions within a session such as pageviews, events, conversions, and more.


Events are specific actions or interactions that occur within a session. They are tracked separately from pageviews and represent specific user actions, such as button clicks, form submissions, video plays, file downloads, and social media shares.
Thus, GA4 is more flexible and gives a broad understanding of how users engage with your website.

There are 4types of events in GA4

  • Automatically Collected Events: These are the events that are automatically tracked by GA4 without any additional settings, like page views, scrolling, video engagement, file downloads, and more.
  • Enhanced Measurement Events: These are the events that provide additional insights into user behavior and engagement, these are automatically tracked without any manual configuration. For example, outbound clicks, site searches, video progress, scroll depth, and more.
    Enhanced measurement event gives better user interaction and helps to optimize the user experience to improve your digital presence.
  • Recommended Events: These are events that are not automatically collected but can help you to get more insight and measure additional data to create a more useful report. For example, signing up, adding items to a cart, initiating checkout, and completing a purchase.
  • Custom Events: This event allows businesses to customize events and track the events based on their specific needs. Examples include tracking button clicks, form submissions, or specific user actions within an app or website.

Unified Tracking

Google Analytics is commonly used for measuring and analysing website performance, while Google Analytics for Firebase is specifically designed to track and analyse app engagement.
One of the biggest advantages of GA4 is that you can track and analyze both website performance and application engagement.

Free Data Export to BigQuery:

In GA4 the export of data to BigQuery is available at no additional cost. You can transfer your GA4 data to BigQuery, Google's cloud-based data warehouse without any charges Storing your GA4 data in BigQuery offers the advantage of gaining deeper clarity and performing a comprehensive analysis of your data

Bounce rate Vs Engagement rate:

The bounce rate metric in Google Analytics is the percentage of users who leave the website without any interaction like clicking a link, signing up, etc.
The traditional bounce rate metric is no longer available in GA4.
Instead in GA4, there is a new metric called Engaged sessions per user. This metric shows the number of people who actively interacted with your content. An engagement session is defined as a user staying on a page for 10 seconds or more, triggering one or more events, or viewing two or more pages.


No IP Address: The GA4 does not capture or store the IP address of the users. The removal of IP addresses in GA4 helps to enhance user privacy and compliance with data protection regulations.
Data retention option: The time period for storing the user data is usually two months, however using the data retention option you can extend it to 14 months if wanted.


To summarize, Google Analytics 4 is a powerful analytics tool that provides advanced functionalities and features. Overall, GA4 is a valuable tool for businesses to gain deeper insights and optimize their strategies for better performance.

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