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Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is now the latest iteration of the popular web analytics platform. As users transition from Universal Analytics (UA) to GA4, it’s important to understand the key differences between the two regarding metrics and data collection methods. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at these differences to help you navigate the shift to GA4 and make more informed decisions based on your analytics data.

1. User Metrics:

UA focuses on Total Users, while GA4 emphasizes Active Users. Although both properties use the term “Users,” the calculations behind this metric differ. Comparing Total Users in both properties may provide more comparable results. Remember that different user-identity spaces and filters might impact these metrics as well.

2. Pageviews:

Pageviews should generally be similar between UA and GA4. However, factors like filters, app data management, and single-page application tracking may cause differences in pageview counts. Ensure you have the same filters in place for both properties and consider additional app traffic in GA4 when making comparisons.

3. Purchases:

Web purchase counts should closely match UA and GA4. To ensure accurate comparisons, maintain consistency in the transaction_id parameter and follow proper e-commerce implementation guidelines for both properties.

4. Sessions:

Session count differences may vary based on geography, UTM tagging, filters, and estimation methods. GA4 uses statistical estimates to count sessions, while UA does not. Understand these factors when comparing session counts between the two properties.

5. Conversions:

Comparing conversion counts can be challenging due to differences in goal types and conversion counting methods. UA supports various goal types, while GA4 only supports conversion events. To reduce discrepancies, update your GA4 conversion counting method setting to “Once per session” and be aware of the impact of filters on your data.

6. Bounce Rate:

GA4 provides a more useful way of measuring engagement compared to UA, considering the way websites and apps have evolved. Bounce rate, as calculated in GA4, better represents the level of customer engagement with your site or app.

7. Event Count:

It’s crucial to rethink your data collection approach regarding the GA4 model rather than attempting to directly port your existing event structure from UA. The event count comparison between the two properties may not be straightforward, especially in cases with multiple sign_up events.


Transitioning to Google Analytics 4 may seem daunting at first, but understanding the key differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics can help ease the process. By keeping these differences in mind and adapting your data collection approach to fit the GA4 model, you’ll be better equipped to make data-driven decisions for your business in the ever-evolving digital landscape.