Comparing and Contrasting: Understanding the Key Differences Between UA and GA4

Dec 09, 2022

5 Minutes Read

By Akanksha Porwal

GA4Universal Analytics

Google Analytics 4 comes with a lot more benefits than Universal Analytics and that is definitely accurate. GA4 not only helps to stitch web and app analytics, but it also comes up with a lot more benefits and hidden gems which was not possible while using Universal Analytics/GA3.

Here are known and very useful gems of UA vs GA4.




User Unification (with/without User ID)

Not have default user unification without user id

Default user unification with/without user id

App Specific Tool & Integration

App analytics to be integrated using UA only

App analytics can be integrated via Firebase Analytics Tool easily

Device Model Info

Some latest device models are not identified properly in UA ans set as (not set)

Wide range of new devices are identified and less (not set)

User Sign-In Status

Available only in User ID view

Dimension ‘Signed in with User ID’ available by default in all data sets

Engagement rate & Engaged session

UA does not have such metrics available in the report

GA4 includes engagement sessions and engagement rate metrics

Bounce rate

Here the bounce rate is present by default and is calculated as the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server

Bounce rate calculation is different in GA4 than in UA

Here the bounce rate needs to be calculated manually (percentage of the session that was not the engaged session)

Convenience to utilize both, eCommerce and enhanced eCommerce tracking

UA allows both eCommerce and enhanced eCommerce tracking with separate reporting

GA4 allows only enhanced eCommerce tracking

Cross domain tracking

UA requires code adjustment from the GTM/Website (on-page) side  The implementation is quite more extensive than GA4

GA4 does not require any code adjustments  The implementation of cross-domain tracking can be easily set up in the GA4

Number of scope availability

There are 4 types of scopes available in UA

Eg: hit scope, session scope, user scope, and product scope

There are only 2 types of scopes available in GA4

Eg: Event scope and user scope

Features to track an automatic event

Not available in UA

Available in GA4

Data security

In UA, data security was an issue because if someone has created any filter, it would delete any historical data with that filter in mind. If that filter was created accidentally or done wrong.

We just lost a significant portion of the data all of a sudden

In GA4, however, filters do not delete data but rather just exclude it from the data processing for whatever report is being run. GA4 is thus much safer to use in the way of data security.

User id view feature

In UA we have to create another user id view for the user identification

GA4 has a feature to choose an option for the user identification in the same GA4 property eg: blended or observed

Tracking of the first visit of users

In UA, tracking of the first visit for the users cannot be done automatically, this can be achieved via applying custom solution

GA4 can track the first visit of a user automatically on the web and app both

Data retention feature

In the UA we have many options for data retention like:14 months, 26 months, 38 months, and 50 months and Do not automatically expire

In the GA4, we can retain our user-level and event-level data from 2-14 months only

Reporting characteristics

UA has features to provide many types of pre-defined reports for the analysis(acquisition, behaviour, etc)
Custom Funnel reporting is not available for standard client

In the GA4 we have fewer predefined reports  If we want to create any new report for any type of specific analysis, then we can investigate the ‘explore’ tab, here we have the right to create any type of report (blank, free form, funnel exploration, and path exploration) as per the business requirement

Enhanced eCommerce reporting characteristics

In the UA we have limited numbers of enhanced eCommerce reporting features and also have limitation in the dimensions and metrics due to which, deep analysis cannot be possible

Eg: Analysis of the product and promotion data simultaneously cannot be possible in UA

GA4 provides a deeper analysis of enhanced eCommerce

Eg: we have different types of item and promotion level dimensions and metrics with the help of it we will quickly create our new explorer report based on the business requirement

For any queries related to Google Analytics 4, please drop a comment and ask your questions. We are just one click away!