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.
What are we doing at HdK?
At HdK, we are systematically going through all of our websites and updating them to GA4. Once updated, we test them a week later to ensure that they are firing as expected, allowing us to check that the data is populating properly.
Alongside running our own internal training, HdK are also hosting a GA4 training session for anyone who wants to learn more about GA4 and the upcoming changes. During this session, we will talk you through the new structure and DataStreams that you can use to collect intuitive data on your audiences. You can register now for this free online session on our webinar page.
So, what do I need to do?
Firstly, get excited about GA4! At HdK, we are very excited to see where this is going to go. That said, getting familiar with a new system (especially one this different) is a challenge.
GA4 is built with web apps and hand held technologies in mind which means that tracking user interaction will be much easier. Ultimately, this speaks to a much more considered connection between audience interaction and data tracking – something that will be hugely important for marketers.
At this stage the best thing you can do is to be prepared – you can never start too soon. We suggest running UA and GA4 simultaneously for a period of time, allowing you to notice the changes in real time and get comfortable with the changes. You’ll also be able to clearly note the changes this way. This can all be done within Google Analytics.
Lastly, be sure to sign up for our webinar on GA4 by visiting our webinar page.
If you’re after any further support, get in touch with the HdK team. We are more than happy to help.