Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is an updated version of Google Universal Analytics (UA) released in 2020. It has a different approach in terms of data collection, reporting, and analysis.
If you’ve been looking around the Analytics online documentation or logged into the old UA dashboard, then you may have noticed a message like this:
The older UA will stop processing data beginning July 2023. So if you are using this version, and have not yet updated to GA4, then it’s probably about time to do so.
Some key differences between GA4 and UA are:
GA4 uses an event-driven data model, which means that events (such as pageviews, clicks, and conversions) are the primary data points collected. In contrast, UA uses a session-based data model, where sessions are the primary data points.
GA4 has a more flexible reporting structure, allowing for more customizable reports and deeper insights into user behavior. In contrast, UA has a more fixed reporting structure, with predefined reports and limited customization options.
GA4 focuses more on user-centric data, with features such as cross-device tracking, user lifetime value, and user engagement metrics. UA primarily focuses on session-based data, with features such as bounce rate, time on page, and session duration.
AI and Machine Learning
GA4 has more built-in AI and machine learning capabilities, such as predictive analytics and smarter insights. UA has fewer AI and machine learning features.
Import Data from UA to GA4
Data from Universal Analytics (UA) can be imported into Google Analytics 4 (GA4) using the data import feature. This allows you to transfer some of your historical data from UA to GA4 and continue to analyze and compare it alongside the data collected in GA4.
To import data from UA to GA4, you need to follow these steps:
- Go to your GA4 property and select “Data Streams” from the left-hand navigation menu.
- Click the menu icon next to your data stream and select “Data Import“.
- Select “Universal Analytics” as the source and choose the UA property and view you want to import data from.
- Select the data you want to import, such as custom dimensions or metrics, and set up any mapping or transformation rules if needed.
- Set the import frequency and start the data import.
Note that not all data in UA can be imported into GA4, and the data mapping between UA and GA4 may not be exact, so it’s important to review and validate the imported data to ensure it matches your expectations. Additionally, the data import feature is only available in GA4 and not in UA, so you’ll need to have an active GA4 property to use it.