Google Analytics 4 vs Universal Analytics

Last Updated: 2022-03-25

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is now the default and recommended version of Google Analytics, replacing Universal Analytics (UA) which dates back to 2013. Universal Analytics will stop working in 2023.

GA4 doesn’t rely on cookies and uses an event-based data model for measurement. It also does not store IP addresses, which can help brands stay on the right side of privacy regulations.

Tracking Id

You need to create new properties, as the ID looks differently:


And update the tracking code ("tag") on your web pages.

Diff in hierarchy

GA4 has only 2 levels under ADMIN page, while UA has 3.

  • UA: Account -> Property -> View
  • GA4: Account -> Property

Data Collection

  • UA: sessions focused (num of sessions, bounce rate, session duration, pages per session, etc.)
    • The concept of a session can be difficult to apply to mobile and single-page apps.
  • GA4: events and users focused (events, event parameters, and user properties).
    • events: e.g. page_view
    • parameters: describe the events
    • user properties: describe the user

Other concept migrations:

  • goals -> conversion events
  • bounce rate, pages/session, and average session duration -> engagement time

Data captured across both websites and native apps now share a single format.