Analytics | 4/07/2022

Universal Analytics VS GA4 – Part 3

Posted by Roisin

Introducing: an epic trilogy of differences between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4.

Part 3: Navigating the metrics

For our final piece in our trilogy of blog posts focusing on the changes of GA4, we’re looking at how to navigate the metrics on the site and how this is different from Universal Analytics.

Google Analytics 4 is the future and arguably the most significant change to date and we are sure to see it grow and get better with time.

Reporting interface: The navigation has changed

It is important to remember that you should not expect to see the same reports from Universal Analytics on GA4 due to the previously mentioned different measurement models. Many of the reports from GA4 are only created when you start tracking these events.

These custom reports help to clear up irrelevant, premade reports that you don’t need and makes your dashboard far less cluttered.

One of the reasons that the reporting interface has changed is due to GA4 incorporating data from websites and apps in a singular GA property.

User reports are grouped differently now:

Universal Analytics GA4
·       Realtime,

·       Audience,

·       Acquisition,

·       Behaviour and

·       Conversions

·       Users,

·       Demographics,

·       Behaviour and

·       Ecommerce

Landing page reports: Gone?

This metric will now be missing for GA4.

However, you can create your own by creating an event on a page. You can monitor the start of a landing page session with ‘session_start_event’ and track it this way. Luckily, it’s an easy fix.

Sessions: New session related metrics

What is used to form a session will be changing from UA to GA4. In UA a session was a combination of user interactions with your website, for example, an event or pageviews.

However, GA4 sessions aren’t limited by time. As it won’t be creating new sessions for a source change mid-session, this could mean that your session count will be lower, as well as your average session time.

According to the Google Analytics help page there are three session related metrics:

  • Sessions: the number of sessions that began on your site (using the session_start event)
  • Engaged Sessions: the number of sessions that last over 10 seconds OR had one or more conversion events OR two or more page or screen views.
  • Engaged sessions per user: The number of engaged sessions divided by the number of users

Average pages per session is also no longer measured in GA4.

Bounce rate: Bounce vs Engagement

GA4 doesn’t measure bounce rate and have instead introduced engagement rate. Engagement rate not only looks at whether or not a user moves to another page on the site, but also the amount of time spent on a landing page.

Bring it on

Being able to compare the data between both versions makes it easier to double check that you’ve set GA4 up correctly and if you haven’t then it can be detected and fixed quickly.

We always knew there was going to be notable changes with GA4 and that is why this upcoming year leading to the end of Universal Analytics, is the key time to be explore these changes. Being on top of GA4 will create a more seamless transition between the two.

Need help? Speak to Fox&Bear about your analytics needs. Our website optimisation and analytics team are always happy to help answer any of your GA4 questions.