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Google Analytics 4: Everything you need to know

This article is ONLY a summary of everything you need to know about GA4.

In March of this year (2022), Google announced that Universal Analytics will stop processing data in July 2023.

This has caused quite a stir among many marketers around the world, because it means using Google Analytics 4 - the "modern universal".

In this article, you'll learn more about why UA is being discontinued, replaced with GA4, and what it means for you as a marketer and business owner.

Why Google Wants to Replace Universal Analytics?

Universal Analytics is a tool that for many businesses it is key, because it contains all the data from the beginning of their marketing process until now. Additionally, GA4 lacks many of the out-of-the-box features and reports that a marketer uses on a daily basis.

So why are Google replacing it? The reasons for which it is known are several:

  • GA4's measurement model compared to that of Universal Analytics
  • internet without cookies
  • user data policies

We will look at each one separately.

Data measurement model

The old method of measuring user data is through "sessions". Explained in non-programming language, this means that when a user enters a site, the session begins, and the user's actions are detected by cookies.

That is, if a user clicks on a video 3 times, it counts as 1 conversion.

This model, however, is outdated and not designed for the way modern sites work.

To address the problem, GA4 uses „events“, to track what a user does on a page.

Each action is considered an event, such as: "scroll", "pageview", "click", "file_download", etc., each of which has parameters.

In this way, marketing departments can produce more precise reports where they can track every action a user has taken.

Internet without cookies

The topic is vast, but simply put, Google announced that by 2023 they want to stop using cookies.

"…today we explicitly state that once third-party cookies are removed, we will not create alternative identifiers to track users as they surf the web, nor will we use them in our products."

David Temkin, Director of Product Management at Google

The problem with cookies is that they share information with third parties, and in today's world where the privacy of our personal data is becoming increasingly important in society, Google cannot continue to use cookies.

What are the differences between UA and GA4?

The problem with any new software is adapting to its interface and functions. The difference between GA4 and UA is really big.

Therefore, the first question we would ask ourselves is "What is different?".

Again, there are a few key differences between GA4 and UA that we notice:

  • measurement model 
  • ability to create custom reports
  • lack of funnel tracking option
  • many more

Measurement of data

As we described above, one of the differences between UA and GA4 is precisely the way data is measured.

GA4 uses „events“, to track what a user does on a page.

"Events" are the more modern way of tracking, where every user action counts as an event.

This is a positive for marketers because they have the ability to create custom reports with custom demographics, segments, filtered data, specific metrics, etc.

Custom reports from Google Analytics

One of the benefits (in our team's humble opinion) is the ability to make custom reports.

This gives more flexibility when working with clients and expands the capabilities of Google Analytics.

We advise you to see our next article where we show, how to create custom reports.

Track multi-channel funnels in GA4

Perhaps the biggest downside to GA4 is the lack of funnel tracking functionality in GA4.

At Universal Analytics, this has always been one of the most used features among marketing departments.

There is currently no indication that Google will integrate the feature, so this is where GA4 alternatives step in.

You can see all the differences in the Netpeak Journal article.

What does this mean for my business?

It's not long until Universal Analytics stops functioning, so we advise you to switch to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible and work with both in parallel to get used to the new features of GA4 while accumulating data in it as well.

The worst thing you can do is not transfer from UA to GA4 and start directly with a blank GA4 with no historical data from your ad campaigns.


All summarized

There is a trend at Google that is making tools more and more difficult to use. This necessitates the need to hire an agency or freelancer to undertake the task.

With the arrival of GA4, the use of Tag Manager is deepened and setting up Enchansed Ecommerce becomes very difficult without a marketing team and developers.

The differences are many, and the changes in privacy policies, society's desire for a free cookie world force the switch completely to GA4.

We at have started transferring all client Analytics accounts to GA4 to prevent the loss of historical data, we advise you to do the same, no matter if you are an agency, freelancer or business.

Need help with GA4?

Let us listen to your problem and find a solution together. Book a free consultation now.

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