Castella Media Switching to Google Analytics 4
Russ Castella

Russ Castella

We Ditched Google Analytics Universal for Google Analytics 4

That’s right, with the help of Google Tag Manager, we just switched all of our clients away from Google Analytics Universal to Google Analytics 4. We’re officially ready for the future, and we’re not looking back. Google Analytics 4, or GA4, is the current edition of the Google Analytics platform released in the fall of 2020. These platforms record user interactions. GA4 replaces Universal Analytics, UA, or GA3, as the default measurement method for digital analytics in GA. It is important to note that GA 4 is not an upgrade of Universal Analytics, but it is an entirely different, new version that functions on event-driven models and comes with its own set of reports.

What Is Google Analytics 4?

Google describes Google Analytics as an innovative approach to “privacy-first” monitoring, AI-based predictive data, and channel measurement. The new Analytics can populate user behavior and web traffic data without depending on “hits” from every web page. It does this by utilizing Google’s advanced machine learning models.

GA 4 is based on the same framework as Google’s “App + Web” system, released in 2019. It focuses primarily on cross-channel information, allowing companies to monitor users across applications, software, and websites. There are four categories of GA4. The first is automatically collected events and the second is enhanced measurement events. Category three is recommended events, and the fourth event category is custom events.

Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics

Google Tag Manager (GTM) and Google Analytics (GA) are two distinct tools that collaborate to provide you with the information you need to make informed strategic choices for your business and determine which Google ads to post.

GTM is used to store and manage code and does not have any reporting features or options to analyze data. GTM is used to deploy GA4.

Measuring Data Models

One of the key differences between GA3 (Universal Analytics) and GA4 is the measurement model that they employ. Universal Analytics uses a page-view and session-based data model.

A session is a collection of interactions with the same user or hits with a site over a specific period, a Universal Analytics property. Numerous page views, events, and eCommerce transactions can occur during a single session.

Google Analytics 4, on the other hand, employs a measurement model that is based on parameters and events. The fundamental premise is that any interaction with a website can be recorded as an event. As a consequence, all Universal Analytics hit types are converted to GA4 events.

No Monthly Hit Limits

Another notable distinction between GA3 and GA4 is the absence of monthly hit limits. Universal Analytics’ free version had a monthly limit of 10 million hits, which no longer applies, causing considerable difficulty gathering data.

Unlike Universal Analytics, Google Analytics 4 limits the number of events that can be recorded (500). There is no cap on the number of hits that can be gathered. Therefore, GA4 has proven to be a more suitable application than Universal Analytics.

Free BigQuery Connection with Your Google Analytics Account

BigQuery was previously available to GA360 clients only. It was one of the major differentiating factors between the free and paid versions.

If you are unfamiliar with it, BigQuery allows complex Google analytics data sets to be queried rapidly. If you’ve ever attempted to create complicated segments in Google Analytics, you know the impact sampling can have on data analysis.

Big Query extracts the data from GA and allows you to analyze it without the need for sampling, a new Google Analytics property that is free for all GA4 users.

Let's talk!

Do you need help transitioning from Google Analytics Universal to Google Analytics 4? Do you need help with the Google Tag Manager? Let us know about your project needs!

Castella Media Group

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