Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is more user-friendly to preserve the key features and functionality you enjoy in Universal Analytics (UA) properties. The most important differences between UA properties and GA4 properties are as follow:
Key difference between UA properties and GA4 properties
Measurement: In the UA properties, you see the session-based data model. whereas GA4 properties give you an insight through a flexible event-based data model.
In UA properties, Analytics groups data into sessions, and these sessions are the foundation of all reporting. A session is a group of user interactions with your website that take place within a given time frame.In GA4 properties, you can still see session data, but Analytics collects and stores user interactions with your website or app as events. Events provide insight on what’s happening in your website or app, such as pageviews, button clicks, user actions, or system events.
Reporting: You get limited cross-device and cross-platform reporting in the UA properties. GA4 gives you full cross-device and cross-platform reporting. You get more powerful insights regarding the customer journey and behaviour.
In UA properties, most reporting relies heavily on device ID, although a few reports and features can also use the Google signals identity space. When the User-ID feature is enabled, its data is reported separately from the rest of your data and doesn’t integrate with other identity spaces.
In GA4 properties, data is processed using all available identity spaces. First, Analytics looks for User-ID because this feature uses the data you collect. Next, it tries Google signals, and finally, if there isn’t a match for either, it relies on the device ID.
Automation: There are limited automation options available in the Universal Analytics properties. Next-gen GA4 gives you the power of machine learning throughout to improve and simplify insight discovery.
Many basic interactions with your website or app are automatically collected as events in the latest Analytics property. For example, the first time a user visits your website, the property will log this action as a “first visit” event.
You can also enable the enhanced measurement feature, an option that lets you automatically collect more events without having to update your website’s code. Enhanced measurement allows you to measure many common web events like pageviews, scrolls, file downloads, and video views.
It’s easy to create new audiences with Google Analytics 4 properties. You get more options when defining and segmenting your audiences. If you create user IDs for signed-in users, GA4 properties allow you to use this data and user ids when building the audiences for retargeting purposes.