What Sets Google Analytics 4 Properties Apart?
Important notice before you read this blog.
As of March 16th, 2022, Google announced that the mainstream version of Google Analytics labeled “Universal Analytics” will be deprecated in July 2023, with Google Analytics (360) enterprise depreciating in October 2023, presenting Google Analytics 4 (GA4) as the future of the platform.
To find out more, download our up-to-date guide to GA4 and Privacy-First Measurement.
GA4 properties see improvements, as compared to UA properties, to three key areas in measurement, reporting and automation.
|Universal Analytics Properties||Google Analytics 4 Properties|
|Measurement||Session-based data model||Flexible event-based data model|
|Reporting||Limited cross-device and cross-platforming||Full cross-device a cross-platform reporting|
|Automation||Limited automation||Machine learning throughout to improve and simplify insight discovery|
Session-based VS Event-based
UA properties used a ‘session-based’ model. This model grouped data into sessions. Sessions being a group of a user's interactions (page views, events, e-commerce transactions etc.) with your website in a given timeframe.
Moving forward GA4 properties will now utilise an ‘event-based model’. An ‘event-based’ model now collects and stores website or app interactions as events (page views, button clicks, user actions etc.).
Events will collect and send information that more are specific to the action that the user took or add further context to the event or user.
Benefits of this new model include that it's more flexible and scalable whilst being able to perform custom calculations faster with Google’s improved machine learning.
This new and improved model will also consistently collect data across multiple devices and platforms, making collection for data on single users who frequently move devices and platforms easier.
Advanced Features Now Available To All Accounts
The Analysis Tool
The Analysis tool was previously only available to 360 users. Users can now interpret data with greater freedom using the Analysis tool. Users can now employ a variety of techniques, like funnel analysis, path analysis and exploration to uncover insights.
Users are now able to export Analytics data to BigQuery so that it is easier to securely store data in the cloud, combine it with data from other sources and run queries across all data sets. Or move data to any other system where it can be utilised.
Which Identity Spaces Are Used In GA4?
Create your own persistent IDs for signed-in users, you can use this data to accurately measure user journeys across devices. To enable the User-ID feature, you must consistently assign IDs to users and include the IDs along with the data that is sent to Analytics.
Google signals use data from users who are signed in to Google. With Google, signals enabled, Analytics associates event data that it collects from users on your site with the Google Accounts of signed-in users who have consented to share this information.
Analytics can also use device ID as an identity space. On websites, the device ID comes from the user's browser. On apps, the device ID comes from app-instance ID. You don't need any further set up in Google Analytics to use device ID.
Before & After
UA properties rely heavily on Device-ID as the primary identifier. When the User-ID feature enabled, data is reported and stored separately from the rest of the collected data and doesn’t integrate with other identifiers.
This makes it difficult to properly measure the user journey across multiple devices and causes issues in regards to duplication.
User data collected through the GA4 property is processed using all available identity spaces, as opposed to prioritising a single identifier. GA4 will move through each identifier in order to create a single user journey from all of the data associated with the same identity.
This process makes it easier to de-duplicate users and give a more unified understanding of the user and their relationship with a business.