Top 7 Features That Make GA-4 More Powerful Than Universal Analytics

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By Harsimran Julka

Even as a digital marketer, a lot of your clients may be deliberating switching on to Universal Analytics. But inertia might hold them back or they become too comfy with the present Universal Analytics dashboard.

However, if you want to unleash the full potential of your app or website, understanding the user becomes imperative.

GA-4 helps you to do that in a multiple ways via creation of custom events which was not possible in Universal Analytics.

The top 7 features of GA4 which makes it more powerful than UA are:

1. Session Time Frame: Indicates how many minutes or seconds the user operates a particular session (A session is counted as any page view of 10 seconds or over)

2.Custom Events: Custom events can be created such as link clicks, URL clicks, cart abandonments, remove from cart, refunds, view item, login, etc, which was not available in UA. 

Thus drop outs and cart abandonments can be easily measured. Downloads or button clicks can be easily measured.

Thus if a particular page in a particular browser or device is having a very high cart abandonment rate, the analytics can be provided to the tech team to investigate the bug and correct it.

3.Path Exploration: One can design or see the path a user explores while in a session on an app or website. This feature in GA4 is very important as one can easily determine the customer journey of most users and find out the issue if customers are dropping after a certain page or a screen. 

Top 7 Features That Make GA-4 More Powerful Than Universal Analytics

(Sample Data: User Path Exploration in GA-4)

The path exploration feature is super important for e-commerce customer journeys as one easily gives inputs on how to increase the transaction rates via data analytics on mapping the journey. 

4.Accurate Measuring: At midnight, a new session is counted for a user in UA unlike in GA-4 where the session remains constant to a user.  

5. Insights: One can customize INSIGHTS on GA-4 which is not available on UA. 

@ Insights – We can customize the events and customize our daily / weekly / monthly reports on anomalies found in the website / app – such as a sudden drop or increase in traffic / views / sessions.

(Sample- Insight Tool in GA4)

6. Determining User behaviour across App & Web with UserID: If a hacker is trying to gain access to certain pages from a certain geo location, in USER EXPLORER, a data analyst can determine the exact time he / she spent on the site and the pages he/she tried to access.

(Collated with IP Trackers in Web Security Plugins, one can analyze that user’s behaviour including geolocation via GA4.)

(Sample: User Explorer Identifier Numbers in GA4)

7. Help Clients Alert of DDoS Attacks / Block a certain geo-location: GA4 can help monitor the daily increase of traffic on email and can help detect immediately if some large scale DDoS attack is about to come, with an increase in fake traffic. The data analyst can be alerted via email notifications and so can the property owner.

CONCLUSION: GA-4 has features that can track user journeys, paths explored and enables creation of custom events. Since UA is announced to be discontinued by July 1, 2023, it will be imperative for clients to gradually shift to GA-4 for tracking user data. A recommended path will be to run both data analytics platforms in parallel, before migrating completely to GA-4 in 2023.

(The author is co-founder @ Startupanz.com.)