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A Complete Guide on Google Analytics 4

The most recent version of Google Analytics, Google Analytics 4, will be released in 2020, according to Google. On July 1st, 2023, the company’s web traffic analysis and data collection tool, Universal Analytics, will stop taking in new data.

Google Analytics 4: What is it? If you want to learn more about it, keep reading. We’ll go over everything marketers need to know about it in the guide that follows.

We’ll start by outlining its advantages and features while also describing how it differs from Universal Analytics. We will then provide you with some helpful advice for maximising its marketing potential.

What is GA4?

The most recent Google Analytics version, known as Google Analytics 4 (GA4), is used by millions of businesses around the world to collect data and track website visitors. It enables you to maintain tabs on important indicators, such, to mention a few, the quantity of users accessing your website, how long they stay there, and their total conversion rate. The Google Analytics 4 will take the place of the program’s previous iteration, Universal Analytics, this year.

Important differences between Google Analytics and Universal Analytics 4

The new Google Analytics is significantly different from the old one. It is very effective at gathering cross-channel data, for instance. As a result, it provides you with a simple method for following users across various programmes and websites. We’ll discuss a few more significant distinctions between the two platforms in the section that follows.

Different interface

The UI is among the most notable differences between the previous and new versions of Google Analytics. There are now only two stages of data organisation, down from three. Because of this, you shouldn’t anticipate finding some of the outdated Google Analytics reports or even specific features where you are accustomed to finding them. An official video walkthrough of the whole interface is included below, along with comparison images of the old and new dashboards.

Better cross-device and cross-platform tracking

In one Google Analytics property, Google Analytics 4 may measure data from both websites and applications. It enables you to view a person’s whole customer journey across all platforms and devices. Then, you may make greater use of that information to develop accurate customer models and to analyse the requirements and behaviour of a particular client group.

Reorganized reporting

Universal Analytics only produced reports about client acquisition when it came to reporting on the customer life cycle. On the other hand, Google Analytics 4 may produce reports on every stage of the client life cycle, such as engagement, monetization, and retention. It’s a wonderful change. It makes it far simpler to comprehend what the typical customer demands.

Predictive insights

Google Analytics 4 uses AI and machine learning to give you more in-depth understanding of user behaviour. By filling in the blanks left by users who chose not to participate in data gathering and cookie usage, it does this. 

With this capability, GA4 should be able to comply with the most recent privacy laws, including GDPR and CCPA. If any data is missing or unavailable, it employs predictive analytics and data modelling to make up for it rather than relying on user preferences. The following three metrics are then made available to you:

  • purchase likelihood. It is the likelihood that a user will log a conversion event in the upcoming week. The aforementioned user has to have engaged in activity at least once in the previous 28 days.
  • Probability of churn. It is the likelihood that a user won’t be active in the upcoming week. Within the previous seven days, the aforementioned individual had to have engaged at least once.
  • estimated income. It is the revenue anticipated from purchase conversions made by users who were active at least once in the last 28 days within the future 28 days.

Data privacy

It is also important to note that GA4 places a strong emphasis on consumer privacy, and for good reason. Many businesses are reluctant to continue using Google Analytics as a result of the most recent privacy rules, such as the CCPA and GDPR. By utilising the aforementioned predictive insights, the most recent version of the tool is intended to allay such concerns and guarantee complete compliance with any and all applicable data privacy requirements.

Debug view

Debugging with Universal Analytics necessitates adding extra browser add-ons, the majority of which are limited to Google Chrome. Google Analytics 4 allows you to access debug mode straight from the reporting interface, in contrast. As a result, you may view all user properties and custom parameters set while viewing user behaviour on a specific Google Analytics property in real-time.

Differences in data collection

The definition and collection of data, as well as the names given to specific data components and parameters, are different in Google Analytics 4. Google Analytics 4 is an event-based example. A user’s engagement with your website is known as an event, such as when they click on a link or buy something. Without any additional configuration, Google Analytics 4 automatically tracks a large number of these interactions and uses the data to provide in-depth reports. Additionally, without writing any code, you may set up various events with the aid of GA4 Event tags.

On the other hand, Universal Analytics concentrated on page views, which were frequently incomplete and erroneous. Analytics data was distorted since actions like clicking a link to an external site or downloading a file were counted as page views in addition to actual page views. Event tracking was quite different from that. Additionally, it needed to be manually configured, which involved developing and modifying on-site code.

GA4’s drawbacks and important considerations

Compared to earlier versions of the analytics tool, Google Analytics 4 has quite a few drawbacks, according to early adopters. Each of the aforementioned restrictions should be kept in mind if you plan to move to the new system. A limitation on custom dimensions and metrics, a lack of view filters, significant interface modifications, and a lack of migration support are among the most significant ones.

Lack of data migration

Existing data from a Universal Analytics account cannot be transferred to a Google Analytics 4 account. That is due to differences in how the two compute and define particular measures. The data they keep is incompatible because they accomplish this in two completely different ways. It is a severe constraint, even though it only applies to current Universal Analytics users.

Limit on custom dimensions and metrics

In Google Analytics, you may create custom dimensions and metrics, which are unique dimensions and metrics. In this method, you may monitor any information you need, such as email analytics or the frequency with which users click on a particular link. However, you are not free to do so. The number of custom dimensions and metrics you can generate for a single Google Analytics property is limited, much like with Universal Analytics.

Lack of view filters

Unfortunately, Google Analytics 4 lacks the view functionality. Many things become rather troublesome as a result. The first is that it occasionally fails to segregate developer traffic from other website traffic. Developer traffic is the traffic created by your own computer or device as you test and fix your website. 

Second, view filters are no longer used in GA4’s reporting interface. It has data filters, which are distinct from one another. Each one covers the complete Google Analytics domain, not just a portion of the data as was the case with Universal Analytics in the past.

Differences between GA4 Standard and GA4 360

There are two versions of Google Analytics 4: Google Analytics Standard and Google Analytics 360. Despite having a similar overall appearance, Google Analytics 360 has many more functions.


First off, it should be noted that GA4 360 is designed for large businesses. Because of this, it is not inexpensive. You are invoiced depending on the hit volume for all of the GA4 360 properties you own, and the retail price for it starts at $50,000 a year. Therefore, you will pay more the more people use the website or service that Google Analytics is tracking. GA4 Standard, on the other hand, is open source. 

Enterprise-grade service

GA4 360 must adhere to enterprise standards because it is designed for use by large businesses. It does this by giving each user a personal account manager and support team. In addition, before using any of your GA4 properties, you must sign a 360 contract for each one of them. On the other hand, using GA4 Standard does not require you to sign any agreements. Additionally, it lacks an account manager and support personnel.


There are no contracts or costs involved if you wish to immediately begin using GA4 Standard. However, this cannot be stated about GA4 360. Prior to signing a contract, you must schedule a call with an enterprise sales person. Then there is the significant monthly charge to consider. GA4 360 is therefore still mostly out of reach for most people and companies.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, Google Analytics 4 is a potent tool that gives marketers insightful data on user behaviour while also protecting user privacy and abiding by all applicable data laws. 

Predictive analytics, greater Google Ads integration, and improved cross-platform tracking are just a few of its many benefits. However, it also has certain disadvantages, such as a limit on the number of distinct dimensions and metrics and a lack of trustworthy data conversion tools.

The points described above should be kept in mind if you want to begin using Google Analytics 4. You can quickly maximise it and uncover its full potential by doing this.


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