Update: Google announced last year that Universal Analytics (UA) would cease data collection from July 2023, making way for the takeover of Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Read more about this transition in our updated post.
With the rise of data-driven strategies, analytics have become an integral part of decision-making processes for associations worldwide. Google has long been at the forefront of this movement with its universally used Universal Analytics. However, the release of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) signals a new era of data analytics that every association needs to understand. Let’s dive deep into what differentiates GA4 from Universal Analytics and how it impacts your data strategy.
Google Analytics 4 (GA4):
Google Analytics 4, introduced in 2020, is the latest version of Google’s analytics platform designed to provide more valuable insights for businesses and associations. GA4 is geared towards a more privacy-first era, aligning with the ongoing shift in the industry. It emphasizes machine learning to provide enhanced predictive analytics and user-centric measurement.
Universal Analytics has been the mainstay of Google’s web analytics for many years. It provides invaluable insights into website traffic, user demographics, and behavior. While Universal Analytics primarily uses session-based data collection, it does have the ability to track events, but with less granularity than GA4.
Key Features of Universal Analytics:
GA4 vs Universal Analytics: The Takeaway for Associations
So, which platform should your association use? The short answer is: both, if possible. Universal Analytics provides a robust foundation, but GA4’s focus on event-driven data, machine learning, and privacy controls reflect the future of analytics.
Google Analytics 4 provides a more comprehensive picture of the user journey, making it invaluable for associations aiming to improve user experience and engagement. However, as GA4 is relatively new, it still has room to mature, and there might be some gaps in reporting and functionality compared to Universal Analytics.
In conclusion, it’s recommended that associations implement GA4 alongside Universal Analytics, taking advantage of the strengths of both platforms. As GA4 continues to evolve, it’s important to stay up-to-date with its improvements to leverage its full potential for your association’s growth.