Main differences between GA4 & UA
- A streamlined structure
The main difference between UA and GA4 is that the structure is much more streamlined. In UA everything is primarily considered as views and sessions. The most fundamental shift here, is that GA4 considers everything to be an event. For example, all ‘Hit Types’ such as Page View, Event, Social, Transaction, User timing, Exception, App /Screen View will now be tracked as events. This makes it much easier to track user interaction, but it also means GA4 will take a bit of getting used to.
In GA4, events will take longer to record. While this is a change from UA, the most important thing will be to expand your reporting time to roughly 24 hours out from the day you wish to include in your data.
In GA4, sessions are recorded differently and are likely to appear lower than your organisation is used to. GA4 records sessions, engaged sessions, and engaged sessions per user.
- Bounce rate
Although valuable, Bounce Rate has always been a fundamentally flawed metric. If a user visited a page and scrolled through, digesting every word of copy and enjoying every image, before clicking away, this would have been considered a bounce in UA as the user did not ‘engage’ with the page. Essentially, GA4 has waved farewell to Bounce Rate. Instead, organisations need to get familiar with Engagement Rate. Here, all users from those who click away immediately to those who engage with multiple aspects of a page are recorded.
So, what do I need to do?
Whilst the products share many of the same features, GA4 has a number of technical differences. The main change is the way that users and events are tracked, which allows for a new kind of reporting on the dashboard. Take some time to ensure your GA4 is set up in a way that makes sense for you. There are a number of different settings which can be customised on the dashboard.
One of the most important actions you can take is streamlining how you export and store your data. In GA4, you will only be able to export data for up to 14 months, so if you need to compare annual reports we recommend scheduling regular exports of your data and storing them securely. We have outlined a basic explanation of how to do so below.
Let’s say you want to get data about Traffic acquisition over a certain period of time (14 months).
You should go to the main landing page for the account you wish to view and then navigate to Acquisition > Traffic acquisition.
In the top right corner you will see a date selector. Here, you can select a custom date range to pull from. For this example we have just pulled from the past 2 months.
If you click onto the Share icon highlighted in pale blue, you will be given the option to Download File either as a PDF or a CSV which you can then add to excel or your software of choice. Please note, each data collection software will work differently with GA4.
In GA4 it is possible to make more customised reports. As GA4 is new, we are looking into methods for exporting data from specific reports. Each report will be different and so we are happy to support you if you are looking for more specific information, as and when the time arises.
What are we doing at HdK?
We have systematically gone through all of our client websites and updated them to GA4.
Alongside running our own internal training, HdK also hosted a GA4 training session for anyone who wanted to learn more about GA4 and the changes from UA. You can watch the recording of that session by clicking the link here.
If you’re after any further support, get in touch with the HdK team. We are more than happy to help.