Google Analytics 4 vs Universal Analytics: What's the difference between both of them?

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October 2020, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), formerly known as "Mobile + Web," was released. At the time of writing, GA4 is the most recent type of Google Analytics property.

What's the big deal with GA4 and UA properties? GA4 offers website and mobile app analytics, as the name "Mobile + Web" implies. Where UA was solely responsible for website statistics.

Google Analytics 4 is the latest version of Google Analytics that aids in data analysis. Google Analytics 4 has many new features, such as Data Modeling using Artificial Intelligence (AI), that make it a useful tool. Universal Analytics is a Traditional Analytics application that enables you to track and measure user behavior on your website.

This article compares and contrasts Google Analytics 4 vs Universal Analytics. It gives a thorough comparison of Google Analytics 4 vs Universal Analytics, highlighting the key differences between the two to assist you in making an informed choice between the two. It also outlines the essential aspects of each asset as well as the obstacles you may encounter while dealing with them.


GA4 is the most recent version of Google's widely used analytics software. In the same account, it can track both a website and an app. It also includes various new reporting options that provide more detailed information about how visitors interact with your website.

The way data is kept and processed (data architecture) behind the scenes in this edition of Analytics is fundamentally different from previous versions, giving us all completely new ways to measure and evaluate traffic consumption for years to come.

Google Analytics 4 has a different appearance than Universal Analytics, and the navigation has also altered. If you're a Universal Analytics customer who just set up a new GA4 property, you could have trouble finding some of the reports you've previously enjoyed.


Universal Analytics, sometimes known as Traditional Analytics, is a version of Google Analytics for SEO that adds new tracking codes to your website. It also has characteristics that allow for more accurate measurement of user activity.

Every visitor to your website receives a unique User ID from Universal Analytics. This ensures that all activities associated with a User ID are reported as coming from a single user. You can more precisely analyze your user count with this functionality.Analytics.js, Google Analytics SDKs, and Measurement Protocol are three tracking codes provided by UA to allow you to get more detailed information about your users and drive organic traffic using podcast.


While Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics (Google Analytics 3) are comparable, there are some significant changes. If you've used Universal Analytics before, you'll notice many improvements in the way it appears and functions straight away.

Aside from the appearance and navigation of the landing page, there are a few important changes. Google is always introducing new reports and capabilities to GA4, but here are a few notable differences as of now:


The measuring model used by Universal Analytics and GA4 is the most significant distinction between the two. Universal Analytics employs a session and page view-based measuring approach.

A session is a collection of user interactions (hits) with a website during a specific period. A single session can include several page views, events, and eCommerce purchases.

Google Analytics 4, on the other hand, employs a measurement methodology based on events and parameters. According to this idea, any touch can be recorded as an event. As a result, in GA4, all Universal Analytics hit kinds were renamed events.

What's more, an event in Universal Analytics (and all prior versions of GA) has its category, action, and label, as well as its hit type. There is no category, action, or label in GA4. Each hit is an event, which can (but does not have to) include parameters.

Page view, for example, is a GA4 event that has the parameters page location (page URL), page referrer (prior page URL), and page title.


Cross-Device Reporting aids in the organization of data across different devices and is thus one of the key characteristics to consider when deciding GA 4 vs Universal Analytics. This clarifies the relationships between TouchPoints, Sessions, and Interactions.

For example, you may have observed that some consumers look for a product on their mobile device but buy it on their tablet the same day, while others click your ad on their mobile device, explore your website on their desktop the next day, and buy it on their tablets a week later. Cross-Device Reports can let you connect data from different devices used by the same person. This report helps you understand what your users are doing at each stage of the conversion process (from user to customer).

Cross-Device Reporting is available in Google Analytics 4, but not in Universal Analytics. Because of the differences in how different platforms record user interactions, this is the case. Event-Based Tracking is used by Google Analytics 4 to capture user interactions, whereas Session-Based Tracking is used by Universal Analytics to record and group user interactions based on a specific time frame.


The removal of monthly hit limits is another key difference between GA4 and Universal Analytics. The free version of Universal Analytics had a monthly limit of 10 million hits. That isn't the case now.

Some of our clients were having trouble gathering all of the data they required while keeping under this time constraint.

Instead, the number of various events that can be captured in GA4 is limited (500). At the time of writing, there is no limit to the number of hits that can be amassed. As a result, a growing number of clients have chosen GA4 as their primary analytics platform.


You learned about Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics in this article. It provided a detailed comparison between Google Analytics 4 with Universal Analytics. It gave you an overview of their features and limits. It also provided the parameters for distinguishing between the two features. In the end, the decision between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics is purely based on your business model and requirements.

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John Fernandes

John Fernandes

John Fernandes is content writer at YourDigiLab, An expert in producing engaging and informative research-based articles and blog posts. His passion to disseminate fruitful information fuels his passion for writing.