Which terms and features changed in Google Analytics 4?

01/31/2023by Martin Kura0

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) introduces a number of new features and changes compared to Universal Analytics, which has been the main version of Google Analytics over the past decade.

Four major Google Analytics changes

  1. Understanding User Engagement: GA4 provides information on user engagement, including time spent on site, number of pages viewed, and frequency of visits.
  2. Predicting User Behavior: GA4 includes machine learning algorithms to predict user behavior even without cookie consent.
  3. Tracking More User Actions: GA4 allows businesses to track more user actions, such as form submissions, clicks on links, and video plays.
  4. Better Tracking Across Devices: GA4 is better equipped to track users across multiple devices, providing a comprehensive understanding of customer journeys.

What is also changing with Google Analytics that might strike us as odd

  1. No views: With GA4, you can’t define views and it is no longer available as a metric. The “Sessions” metric will replace the “views”’ metric.
  2. Limited IP filtering: When using GA4, you’ll quickly discover that restricting access by IP address is limited. Unfortunately, the lack of support for RegEx means even fewer possibilities when it comes to your filtering options.
  3. No hostname filter: Like IP filtering, hostname is no longer available in GA4. You’ll need to use other methods such as event labels or content groupings
  4. Limitations on custom dimensions: While GA4 offers the advantage of custom dimensions to enhance reports, it’s important to note there is a limit: 50. For larger businesses this could prove limiting and stifle growth potential.
  5. No recurring email reports: If you rely on custom monthly reports or other types of automated emails, GA4 will not be able to accommodate these. You’ll need to use other methods such as the API or a third party reporting solution.

Why is Google Analytics changing?

Google made a new platform, GA4, instead of fixing Universal Analytics because it would have taken a lot of time and effort, and would have been gradually more and more complicated to use.

The main reason for Google to encourage the move from Universal Analytics to GA4 is to offer a more advanced way to track and understand customer behavior across different devices, platforms and channels. GA4 has new features that Universal Analytics does not, such as automatic tracking, insights using machine learning, and a better interface. Google wants to help businesses make the most of these new features and better understand their customers.

Can you still go back to Universal Analytics?

Yes, it is possible to revert back to Universal Analytics before July 1st, 2023. Since then, it will not be possible.

What to do next?

Find out yourself how Google Analytics 4 differs from Universal Analytics and take advantage of the new features available in GA4. Additionally, you should consider migrating your existing data from Universal Analytics over to GA4 as Universal Analytics will eventually come to an end.

Finally, make sure to keep an eye on Google Analytics changes and updates as GA4 continues to evolve.

Martin Kura

A multi-cultural nerd, digital marketer and SEO/content enthusiast. Likes good beer, dry wine, loves to cook and sing (sometimes all at once).

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