GA4: What’s the Diff?

One of the biggest changes in GA4 is the way it tracks user behavior. Instead of using cookies to track website visits, GA4 uses a combination of machine learning and  user-centric data models to track user behavior across multiple devices and platforms. This allows advertisers to gain a more complete picture of how their customers  interact with their website, apps, and other digital assets. 

Three words you’ve probably heard: Data-Driven Attribution. What is it? Data-Driven Attribution uses algorithms to analyze your Google Analytics data to identify patterns among users who convert compared to those who don’t. Unlike traditional attribution methods, conversion credit is assigned to the most impactful touch points along a customer’s journey, not just the last click. Data-Driven Attribution looks at all the interactions in this journey and reveals trends in how users are engaging with your content and campaigns. This is a valuable tool to improve ROI by helping advertisers understand how tactics collectively influence conversions.

Another key difference you’ll see in GA4 is that it utilizes event-based measurement instead of the session-based measurement used by Universal Analytics. An event represents a distinct user interaction on a website – for example, loading a page, clicking a link, or downloading a pdf. GA4 measures events performed by a specific user, including those spanning multiple sources and devices, whereas Universal Analytics creates a new session when these changes take place. This means we’re no longer limited to a user’s activity during a single session, giving us more insight into the user experience and thus where to focus marketing efforts. 

Among the new event types that GA4 provides, some are collected automatically – while others, like page views and scrolls, can be enabled with the click of a button – no additional configuration needed! Plus, GA4 offers a wide variety of recommended and custom events so you can track the most important actions on your site. These key actions can then be marked as Conversions, which are GA4’s equivalent to Universal Analytics’ Goals. 

There are even a few brand new metrics such as: Engaged Sessions, Engagement Rate and Average Engagement Time. All of these features support an overall shift towards a focus on engagement, as opposed to sheer traffic volume, to gauge the levels of user interaction with a site. 

One other key feature of GA4 is its enhanced reporting capabilities. The new version includes a number of new reports and dashboards that provide businesses with more insight into their website performance. For example, the new User Acquisition report shows businesses where their website traffic is coming from, while the User Engagement report provides insights into how users interact with their website.

The digital media pros at Brkthru have prepared a comprehensive guide to explain what’s happening, what’s changing, all about your data and how Brkthru can help. You can download the guide here:

GA4 Guide