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Universal Analytics vs Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

If you thought that the changes involving Google Analytics weren’t to be implemented any time

soon, then you thought correctly. Nevertheless, as they have now announced when these changes will be implanted (23rd July 2023), it’s vital to know and understand what the main changes will involve so you can see how this can affect you and your business.

To start off, one of the main changes would be that Google Analytics 4 would operate across both – web and app. This differs to Universal Analytics’ way of working as it was built to only operated on websites and independent sessions. Whilst this is a significant change, what’s considered as the bigger change, is the measurement model that Google Analytics 4 has introduced to improve what many highlighted as a limitation for a long while.

Differences between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics

As we may already know, Universal Analytics’ measurement model is based on a session and pageviews. However, GA4 addresses this by measuring based on events and parameters. This way, any interaction will be recorded as an event rather than having a specific category, label, or action (Which at times caused some confusion). To break it down a bit more, previous analytics separated pageviews and events which made it difficult to correlate. Another limitation to this was the fact that events had to be manually configured. Now with GA4 measuring results based on events and parameters, this makes it more flexible when navigating and making reports.

These events will be separated in 4 different categories:

  • Automatically Collected Events – Made by basic interaction with your site

  • Enhanced Measurement – Gathered automatically as you enable the enhanced measurement via you G4 property

  • Recommended Events – Events recommended by Google that must be set up manually


  • Custom Events – Events implemented by yourself

Another important change would be the privacy aspect of GA4 when gathering data as it will no longer store a user’s IP address. As we all know, there’s been an increased focused on data protection in most (if not all industries) surrounding privacy and Google does not wish to go against this so it will adhere to the appropriate protocols in their new feature. Whilst this is an important feature, many people have been unsettled with this approach due to its limitation to be able to track their consumer’s behaviour online. While these changes are quite important, Google Analytics has set the start date to the 1st of July 2023, giving you the opportunity to make the relevant transition and educate yourself on the new features that’s included in GA4.

How to implement GA4?

Here are quick steps to take to set up your GA4 Property:

·  Create a GA4 property and action GTM

·  Activate the Enhanced Measurement via your G4 property

·  Create the Custom Events Measurement

·  Set your Conversion Events in order

·  Set up the Ecommerce tracking

.  Begin to build exploration reports.

In the meantime, you can:

  • Continue, to use and collect new data in your Universal Analytics properties (Until July 2023)

  • You can still access your previously processed data in your Universal Analytics property up to 6 months (After July 2023)

  • You will be provided with a future date for when the current properties of Universal properties will no longer be available.

Whether these changes benefit you or not, it is inevitable if you wish to carry on using Google Analytics. With more features likely to be developed, we will keep a close eye and report how people have responded to the new feature once it has been used.

Lilian Tsumbu

Digital Marketing Assistant




0161 236 5794