Key Differences Between GA4 vs Universal Analytics

March 4, 2023
key differences between ga4 vs universal analytics

Google Analytics is the web analytics platform to find critical questions related to who is visiting the website, for how much duration the site is been used, and which content is mostly looked for. GA4 is the newer version of the Google Analytics platform. This website and apps can be tracked in the Google Analytics 4 version itself. In the Universal Analytics platform, websites and apps need to be tracked separately. You need to discover the key variances between GA4 vs. Universal Analytics.

You need to move to the newer version Of Google Analytics 4 as Universal Analytics is going to shut down by July 2023. After its shutdown, you will not be able to track your visitors and Universal Analytics App will no longer be updated. The newer platform provides security and data privacy. It’s better to shift to Google Analytics 4 to track customer records when universal Analytics stops.

Today Universal Analytics is used by many websites for tracking website traffic. To continue analyzing web traffic records you need to shift to GA4.

Significant Difference Between GA4 vs Universal Analytics

  • Data Measurement in GA4

GA4 uses an event-based model to process and track website data whereas Universal Analytics uses a measurement model based on page views and the number of sessions. Sessions are linked to a single person and tracking is done whenever they visit your website. In GA4, event data is not related to a particular individual but it treats as anonymous and is concerned about actions that are taken without categorizing the number of individuals taking that action.


GA4 provides an enhanced measurement feature, deep tracking of user activities is possible and allows tracking of user actions on the number of devices in an exact way.

  • Account Structure

In Universal Analytics, the structure of accounts has three main elements that are Account, Property, and View whereas GA4 has only two parts i.e. Account and Property. Universal Analytics used a view element for creating a different collection of data. In GA4, there is no view element in it. One company needs only one Google Analytics account. Multiple companies require multiple GA accounts. One GA4 property is required for each website. Managing three websites require three GA4 property.

GA4 property has more than one data stream. The data stream is of two types’ web data stream and app data stream. The web data stream represents the website, app data stream represents the mobile app, which is further classified into Android and ios data, streams.

  • UA Goals are Replaced with Events in GA4

In UA conversions are measured with goals. Universal Analytics has four different types of goals that are destination goal when a user reaches a particular page, duration goal which measures the time duration the user stays, and goals that tell about the number of pages visited by the user. The event marks user interaction with the website. Whereas in Google Analytics there is no difference between e-commerce transactions and goals. Google Analytics provides for GA4 events. GA4 events are marked for when any user interacts with the website. When these GA4 events are successful, conversion is observed in the GA4 property.

In Google Analytics 4 goals are not there but events are recorded instead, on the basis of people’s interaction with the website e.g.: the number of people entering the payment, and delivery details.

  • No Bounce Rate

Google Analytics 4 does not have a bounce rate metric. GA4 replaces the bounce rate metric with the engagement rate. The session is said to be engaged when the user stays over 10 seconds and has more than the one-page view and has one conversion event. GA4 represents the number of people that have interacted with your webpage content.

bounce rate metric

A bounce occurs when a user comes on the site and does not interact and no hits are recorded. User exits without navigating another page is considered a bounce. In GA4 there are new reporting metrics that are engagement time metric, pages and screens used whereas in universal metric there is session duration metric only. GA4 shows the pages, which receive high traffic on their website.

  • GA4 Doesn’t Track Form Conversions

Forms are essential for a business that gives feedback. Its tracking provides details for forms working better. The developer can only provide a setting in Google Analytics for form conversion tracking. This requires a custom code for its setting. Tracking in GA4 requires customization as GA4 does not track form conversions.

Monster Insights helps you track forms that are seen the most, it checks for form conversion rates and one can work on forms that do not perform well. Monster Insights are one of the best plug-ins as it allows connecting WordPress website with Google Analytics.

  • Engagement Metrics

GA4 uses a new concept of engagement metrics that includes engaged sessions, which means sessions that, lasted for more than 10 seconds, and how many numbers of engagement sessions are used by a user. Engagement Time for which your website was used by the user on their browser. Engagement Rate which specifies the percentage of engaged users.

GA4 provides better insights about user behavior and content that is used by the users the most and finds out the most engaging content. Whereas in Universal Analytics the concept of Engagement metrics was not used instead bounce rate was used.

Concluding It

It’s better to shift your work to GA4 as Universal Analytics will soon end up and tracking cannot be done further. One has to do the transition from UA to GA4 which require time for the user to cope with the new changes. There is a difference between both as discussed above. GA4 doesn’t provide for any bounce rate and has replaced this with engagement metrics. Hope above discussed points provide a clear view of the changes involved.