What is Google Analytics4, how does it differ from Universal Analytics?


Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is a more advanced and modern version of Google’s analytics platform, designed to provide deeper insights and improved data analysis capabilities compared to its predecessor, Universal Analytics (UA).

Differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics:

  1. Data model: GA4 uses an event-based data model, which allows for more granular tracking of user interactions and provides better flexibility in customising the tracking setup. UA, on the other hand, primarily relies on a session-based data model.
  2. Reporting and insights: GA4 offers more advanced analysis techniques, such as funnel analysis, path analysis, and cohort analysis, which help businesses better understand user behaviour on their websites or apps. These advanced features are not as comprehensive in UA.
  3. Integration with Google tools: GA4 is designed to integrate more seamlessly with other Google products, such as Google Ads and Firebase, providing a more unified view of marketing efforts and app performance.
  4. Cross-platform tracking: GA4 enables tracking across multiple platforms (websites, apps, and devices) using a single property, whereas UA requires separate properties for each platform.
  5. AI-driven insights: GA4 leverages machine learning to generate automatic insights, anomaly detection, and predictive metrics, offering more proactive recommendations compared to UA.
  6. Privacy and data control: GA4 provides better compliance with privacy laws and regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA, by offering more data control options, including consent mode, data deletion requests, and IP anonymization.

Regarding conversion tracking, GA4’s event-based model can provide more accurate and detailed conversion tracking compared to UA. However, the accuracy of conversion tracking also depends on the quality of the implementation, the defined events, and other factors, such as cookie consent and tracking prevention measures employed by users.

In terms of privacy compliance, GA4 is designed with privacy regulations in mind and offers more tools to help businesses comply with data protection laws. However, compliance with privacy laws ultimately depends on how businesses configure their analytics setup, manage user consent, and handle user data. It is essential to stay informed about the latest privacy regulations and best practices to ensure compliance.

Will it work better than UA with safari’s cookie restrictions?

Yes, GA4 is designed to work better with browsers like Safari, which have stricter cookie restrictions due to features such as Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP). Universal Analytics relies heavily on cookies to track user behavior, making it more susceptible to the limitations imposed by ITP and other privacy-enhancing technologies.

GA4, on the other hand, is built with a more privacy-centric approach, incorporating alternative methods to track user interactions while minimizing the dependence on cookies. For example, GA4 uses Google signals to provide cross-device tracking capabilities and leverages machine learning to fill in data gaps created by cookie restrictions.

However, it’s important to note that no analytics solution can completely bypass the limitations imposed by browsers or privacy-enhancing technologies. GA4 does offer a more resilient and future-proof approach in the face of increasing restrictions on third-party cookies and user tracking.

As a website owner, it is crucial to stay informed about the latest browser updates, privacy regulations, and analytics best practices to ensure that your data collection remains accurate and compliant.

Is it similar to Facebook’s conversion api?

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and Facebook’s Conversion API share some similarities in their objectives, but they are not the same thing. Both GA4 and Facebook’s Conversion API are designed to provide more accurate tracking and attribution while addressing privacy concerns and browser restrictions. However, they serve different platforms and purposes.

GA4 is a web and app analytics platform that helps businesses understand user behavior across their websites and mobile apps. It’s a complete analytics solution that provides reporting, analysis, and data collection capabilities. GA4 uses an event-based data model and is designed to integrate with other Google products like Google Ads and Firebase.

Facebook’s Conversion API, on the other hand, is specifically designed to improve the accuracy and privacy compliance of conversion tracking for Facebook Ads. It works alongside Facebook’s Pixel, which tracks user interactions on websites using cookies. The Conversion API allows advertisers to send web conversion events directly from their server to Facebook, bypassing the limitations of browser-based tracking.

While both GA4 and the Facebook Conversion API aim to address the challenges posed by cookie restrictions and privacy regulations, they serve different functions and are specific to their respective platforms. GA4 is a comprehensive analytics solution for websites and apps, while Facebook’s Conversion API is focused on improving ad conversion tracking for Facebook Ads campaigns.

It is worth mentioning that GA4 can be integrated with Facebook Ads using the GA4-Facebook Ads Integration, which enables marketers to use GA4’s event data for Facebook Ads targeting, optimization, and reporting. This allows businesses to leverage the strengths of both platforms for a more comprehensive understanding of their marketing efforts.

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