Google Analytics Reporting Update from Range Marketing
Major Differences Between UA and GA4
August 28, 2023
We want to communicate an important update to our customers in regards to some of the changes in website analytics and reporting.
The previous version of Google Analytics, known as Universal Analytics (UA), was the industry standard for website analytics from 2012 – June 2023. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) supplanted UA on July 1st 2023, and UA will no longer collect data.
Data from UA does not carry over to GA4, but can be viewed for a full year until it is fully removed. Important to note that we cannot combine UA and GA4 data, or have true year over year comparisons.
Instead of providing general data, GA4 is able to tailor the data to help you understand how users interact with your website. UA was based on pageviews and sessions, while GA4 is based on parameters and events.
Overall, the transition to GA4 will help us understand our users better, and allow us to change up strategy based on the data. However, some metrics have changed, causing it to be difficult when comparing UA data to GA4.
Sessions: A session is defined as ‘group of user interactions that take place within a given time frame’. A session starts when a user either opens or views a page and there is no other active session. A session automatically times out after 30 mins of inactivity. If the user returns after a time out, it starts a new session. In GA4 they have introduced Engaged Sessions which are sessions that either last longer than 10 seconds, had a conversion, or had at least 2 page/screen views.
Pages Per Session: Changed to Views Per Session: Total number of web pages the users saw. Repeat views of pages are counted, so numbers could be slightly inflated.
Bounce rate: Bounce Rate was calculated as ‘the percentage of single-page sessions in which there was no interaction with the page’ in UA(when a user comes to your site, doesn’t interact, and immediately leaves, is considered a ‘bounce’). ‘Sessions that were not engaged’ is known as the bounce rate in GA4. The engagement rate shows you the percentage of quality site visits, which is a better metric to look at.
Ecommerce Revenue Tracking: We are actively working with our menu partners to track purchases from the website through GA4. Each menu has unique challenges of tracking ecommerce revenue. On your next QBR, we will educate you on the current state of ecommerce tracking on your website.
Events: Within GA4, everything a user does is considered an event. Pageviews, session starts, first visits, scrolls, clicks, contact form submissions, etc.
Users: Segmented further into Total Users, Active Users, and New Users. This helps us understand if users were engaged on the site(active), new or returning.