From Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 


Faced with technological advances and the rapid democratization of cell phones, consumer habits have been constantly reinventing themselves in recent years. Indeed, following the emergence of a multi-device user behaviour, it is now necessary to pay more attention to and prioritize the mobile experience both on web interfaces and on applications. The objective is very simple, to provoke more conversions on this device in order to take advantage of the increasing mobile traffic. The user journey has then further developed, it is no longer only multi-device, but also multi-platform. 

Between the appearance of an increasingly complex user journey and an adjustment of experiences on each platform, these behavioral changes have a considerable impact on the collection and organization of data stored in siloes within Universal Analytics. The separate reading and processing of web and application data on the platform actually becomes less and less appropriate and gradually loses its relevance. 

At the same time, greater respect for the personal data of individuals is being shaped, in particular with the implementation of regulations and the introduction of cookie restrictions. Between a simplified refusal of cookies and a considerable reduction in data storage time, this trend completely calls into question the quality and reliability of analytics, from which it is now impossible to obtain all user enagagements. 

A new data collection method adapted to current user behaviors 

At a time when companies are increasingly valuing data-driven decision-making, it became essential for Google to reinvent its analytical platform and adapt it to current trends. This is why, after several years without any major changes, Universal Analytics is giving way to Google Analytics 4, a platform that completely breaks down this disjointed vision of the user experience to now rely on a more unified version that simultaneously includes application and website data. As for missing data, Google innovates. The company uses its own personal data collection and artificial intelligence to compensate and give credibility back to analytics. 

An increasingly intuitive and accessible platform for its users 

A new method of data collection also means a new way of processing and presenting data. Indeed, despite all its technological advances, Google wants to keep the intuitiveness and accessibility of its platform so much appreciated by its users. The use of data in business has become essential for relevant decision-making and a guarantee of growth, any team member, whatever their expertise, must be able to steer their actions based on data analysis. 

This is why the organization and the reading process of the predefined reports in Google Analytics 4 have been reinvented and imagined according to a new logic much more centered on the user and his journey, making the platform more intuitive and efficient for analysis. 

Also, to facilitate decision-making and support users in their thinking, Google Analytics 4 once again relies on artificial intelligence. Depending on the behaviors observed during data collection, the platform is now able to alert significant trends to anticipate users' actions and seize all opportunities to optimize performance. 

However, a clear exploitation of the platform should in no way restrict the freedom and creativity of the more independent and experienced users in analytics. That's why Google Analytics 4 continues to innovate and develop its reporting capabilities. To do this, the platform offers even more flexibility in the construction and organization of these reports. Analyzing just got better! A gallery of models remains available for users who would like to be inspired or optimize the existing ones. 

Efficient decision making also requires optimal data availability in order to best reflect the company's activities. However, in some cases, the analytical vision is not sufficient and needs to be associated with other data sources to be truly relevant. This is why Google has also focused its analytical innovation on improving data import functionality. The scope of possibilities is now wider than before, contributing to the quality of analysis that the platform already offers. 

When and how do I start configuring Google Analytics 4? 

Even if Google Analytics 4 is still incomplete and some of its features are not yet implemented, it is important to know that this new version is not at all compatible with Universal Analytics. In other words: the collected data will not be able to be compared or even redirected to the new platform at the time of the switchover. As both versions will be available in the coming months, it is strongly recommended to prepare your Google Analytics 4 property now to build a history and avoid starting from scratch when the Universal Analytics version will become obsolete. 

To ensure the parallel on Google Analytics 4, it is planned a support feature within the platform itself to orient oneself more serenely. As for the creation of new properties without history, version 4 is activated by default to anticipate the final switchover. 

Google Analytics 4: a major analytical evolution to be tested as soon as possible! 

With a data processing method that is much more adapted to new user behaviors and the arrival of artificial intelligence on the platform, this new version is one of the biggest improvements in Google Analytics in recent years. 

With no sampling, the platform seems well on track to cope with the new paths and the rise of personal data protection, even if the reliability and effectiveness of its artificial intelligence still needs to be proven. 

In any case, we recommend a configuration of the Google Analytics 4 property right now to match your current measurement with Universal Analytics for example. This strategy will allow you to familiarize yourself with the new platform and to obtain a database with more relevant analyses as soon as possible. 

In addition, new features are expected soon and will give us even more visibility on the potential of Google Analytics 4. 

Clélia Bonnefoy

Analytics Consultant

Passionate about data analysis, Clélia helps customers succeed and optimize their digital performance.