Universal Analytics refers to the previous generation of Google Analytics for measuring website traffic. If you set up Google Analytics for your website prior to October 14, 2020, you probably created a Universal Analytics property.
What is Google Analytics 4?
GA4, now being the default Google Analytics installation. Google Analytics 4 is not an upgrade to Universal Analytics. It is a completely different new version of Google Analytics which works on event-driven based models and also comes with a different set of reports.
Even though Google is heavily pushing the new Google Analytics 4 (and when you try to create a new property, it's GA4 by default), it's still possible to create Universal Analytics properties.
Why Should I use Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is the most comprehensive tracking tool available on the market. It gives you detailed data about your website visitors and the actions they take on your site. what they're looking for, and whether your business is addressing their needs. Overall it can be helpful in marketing strategies. business owners can set SMART objectives by increasing traffic to the website and to maintaining a high on-line presence in the industry.
What should I care about Google Analytics as a beginner?
NUMBER OF SESSIONS & USERS
In Google Analytics (GA), each visitor is initially referred to as a user, whereby a distinction is made between new users and returning visitors. In addition, each user who visits the website also generates a session. A single user can open several sessions, whereby the tracking of a session is terminated after 30 minutes of inactivity on the one hand and at midnight on the other.
NEW AND RETURNING USERS
As a rule, returning visitors already have an increased interest in the offered website content or brand and can, for example, be guided to the desired target actions with the help of dynamic, individualized content.
Bounce Rate is defined as the percentage of visitors that leave a webpage without taking an action, such as clicking on a link, filling out a form, or making a purchase. A low bounce rate usually correlates with a higher average session duration and a higher number of pages viewed per session.
GOAL CONVERSION RATE
In online marketing, a conversion is the execution of a desired target action by a website visitor. In Google Analytics you can create a maximum of 20 conversion goals, or target actions. Detailed conversion tracking is the basis for in-depth analyses and sustainable optimization of website performance to achieve the defined business goals.
AVERAGE TIME ON PAGE
Google Analytics KPIs focus on the so-called "page tracking", i.e. the performance measurement of individual pages of a website. The time on page shows how long visitors have stayed on average on an individual page or URL. Like the bounce rate, it is a good indicator of the quality of the traffic on a page and reflects how well the visitor's needs are met.
AVERAGE SESSION DURATION
Average session duration = total session duration / total sessions. The average session duration and bounce rate are the standard metrics that you can use in GA to evaluate the quality of traffic. The comparison of the individual conversion goals also offers you even more detailed analysis options.
How Does Google Analytics 4 Measure Users?
Data gets into Universal Analytics from “cookie-based” tracking. HTTP cookies, or internet cookies, are built specifically for Internet web browsers to track, personalize, and save information about each user's session. A “session” just refers to the time you spend on a site. Cookies are created to identify you when you visit a new website. The measurement approach Universal Analytics is a session-based data model.
In UA properties, Analytics groups data into sessions, and these sessions are the foundation of all reporting. During a session, Analytics collects and stores user interactions, such as pageviews, events, and eCommerce transactions, as hits. A single session can contain multiple hits, depending on how a user interacts with your website.
Instead of tracking sessions, GA4 has an event-based data model. In GA4 properties, you can still see session data, but Analytics collects and stores user interactions with your website or app as events. Events provide insight on what’s happening in your website or app, such as pageviews, button clicks, user actions, or system events.
Should I upgrade to Google Analytics 4
GA4 reporting view provides a new set of metrics which can much more accurately track users engagement with your website/app than the pageviews and bounce rate metrics used before.
While Universal Analytics is not going away anytime soon, Google Analytics 4 is the future of analytics so the sooner you can start learning the functionality and features, the better. Data continuity and reporting are important to your firm's success.
Do you want to know how to start?