When Europe updated its privacy and security laws in 2018 aka GDPR, Universal Analytics (UA)
essentially became illegal. Many other countries followed suit in updating their privacy
legislation including New Zealand, Japan, Brazil, and even the state of California. This change in
policy resulted in Google announcing the rollout of Google Analytics 4, offering up increased
privacy, security, and control over your data.
What is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 (or GA4) is a completely new version of Google Analytics replacing the
current Universal Analytics. It measures website and app traffic together, instead of being
How is GA4 different?
GA4 and UA differ in how they view and track page views and screen views, user sessions,
content groupings, custom dimensions, and more.
Google Analytics 4 vs Universal Analytics: What’s Changing?
With the advent of omnichannel e-commerce, GA4 collects data from both web and apps to let
businesses see unified user journeys and customer life cycles across different platforms.
UA measured users by tracking sessions on platforms and devices. This resulted in missed
opportunities and data loss when switching devices. Now, GA4 uses an event-based data model
to track user behavior. Using user IDs and unique Google signals, it’s much easier to follow
users along the customer journey.
With the shift to event and parameter tracking, GA4 introduced engagement metrics such as
engaged sessions, engaged time, and engagement rate. This is a big shift from how you were
able to track metrics in UA.
Data control and privacy
In the wake of data privacy laws such as GDPR and CCPA, GA4 offers new data controls for users
to keep their privacy. These data privacy options include the user's ability to:
● Control how their data is collected, retained, and shared.
● Decide whether the data collected can be used to deliver personalized ads.
● Delete Analytics data by submitting a request to Google.
● GA4 only stores data for 14 months and doesn’t carry over historical data from UA.
When you switch to Google Analytics 4, it only collects data going forward, so
transitioning early is critical.
No IP Collection
Unlike its predecessor, GA4 does not collect IP addresses or store cookies.
GA4 applies machine learning technologies to fill in data gaps versus first and third-party
cookies with UA. Predictive analytics finds trends in user behavior, allowing you to provide
more intelligent insights and create forecasts.
GA4 introduces Explorations, which lets you access data and analytical techniques that aren’t
available in UA’s default reports. These features give you a more in-depth look at your data to
answer complex questions.
GA4 was designed to work better with other products such as Google Ads, and Google Data
I need help making the switch to GA4.
The Digital Team at AW has been hard at work transitioning our clients to GA4 to ensure
historical data is recorded and future data collection is started early.
If you need help in making the transition, ArachnidWorks is here to help. Contact us today!