What is Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?
Google Analytics 4, or GA4 for short, is the fourth version of the Google Analytics platform. The previous version (known as Google Analytics Universal Analytics) has been used since October of 2012. Since Universal Analytics is now 10 years old, Google is looking to upgrade the platform to a new, more modern platform.
What Are The Main Differences Between Universal Analytics And GA 4?
The most striking difference in GA4 are the visuals when you first open the platform on your browser. Similar to Universal Analytics, you get a previous 7-day snapshot and a real-time report, however, below these metrics are now recently viewed reports —to easily pick up where you left off—and below that, insights generated from the platform.
The sections in the left menu bar have been reorganized as well. There are significantly less drop downs per section and each of the items have been renamed. This makes it a bit more easy to understand what is offered in that section.
What Will Be Different In Google AdSense?
At the time of this writing, GA4 is still being updated with new integrations and features. One of the items that has a section built out, but not an integration with the data source, is Google AdSense. Right now with Universal Analytics you are able to pull in your AdSense data to your blog and see which blog articles are generating the most amount of ad clicks, views, and ultimately: revenue. Though GA4 is lacking and is still being developed, the new report interface for viewing ad clicks, views, and revenue and other data has been revamped and looks very clean and organized! It just needs the connection to be built out for AdSense data to flow into GA 4.
There are some reports that are a bit confusing in GA4 such as Acquisition for example. There are now two sections for acquisition: user acquisition and traffic acquisition, but both of these reports look to have very similar data. Therefore to a person just starting with Google Analytics, it will be very confusing, as the Acquisition report section has to deal with when users first start their sessions. However, one of these reports may change in the future or be revamped.
Final Thoughts on GA4
GA4 is not fully ready for prime time, but it's been nice to see that it's getting a stronger integration with Google Data Studio and we're excited to see how all the future features will get built out.