Google Analytics 4 vs Universal Analytics: What You Need to Know

Google Analytics GA4 is the next generation of Analytics that collects event-based data from both websites and apps. It is designed for the future of measurement, with features such as privacy controls, predictive capabilities, and direct integrations to media platforms.

Google Analytics GA4 is different from Universal Analytics (the current Google Analytics platform) in how it reports the data. GA4 is focused on two main things: machine learning and data visualization. GA4 uses event-based data instead of session-based data, and offers more flexible and customizable reports.

Universal Analytics properties will stop processing data on July 1, 2023. This means that you will need to migrate to Google Analytics GA4 before that date if you want to continue collecting and analyzing data from your websites and apps. You can use the GA4 Setup Assistant to add a Google Analytics 4 property alongside your existing Universal Analytics property. This way, you can compare the data and reports from both platforms and get familiar with the new features of GA4.

Some differences between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics are:

  • Hit types vs events: Universal Analytics uses different hit types such as page hits, event hits, eCommerce hits, and social interaction hits. Google Analytics 4 uses only events to capture any interaction on your website or app.
  • Event structure: Universal Analytics events have a category, action, and label. Google Analytics 4 events have no such structure and can be customized with parameters and user properties.
  • Screen views: Google Analytics 4 tracks screen views for apps, which are similar to page views for websites. Universal Analytics does not have a screen view hit type.
  • Custom dimensions/metrics: Universal Analytics allows you to create custom dimensions and metrics to collect additional data that is not automatically tracked. Google Analytics 4 does not have custom dimensions or metrics, but uses parameters and user properties instead.
  • Content grouping: Universal Analytics allows you to group your content into logical categories that reflect how you think about your site or app. Google Analytics 4 does not have content grouping, but you can use event parameters to group your content by different attributes.


Google Analytics 4 is a major update from Universal Analytics that offers a new way of measuring and analyzing data from your websites and apps. It has many advantages over Universal Analytics, such as event-based data collection, machine learning features, privacy controls, and cross-platform integration.

However, Google Analytics 4 also has some differences and limitations that you need to be aware of before migrating. You should start using Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible to get familiar with the new platform and prepare for the end of Universal Analytics data processing on July 1, 2023.

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