Google Analytics 4 – Love It or Hate It?

Last week, Google announced the fourth version of Google Analytics, aptly named GA4. For those wondering what the previous three versions were (because we were), they were Urchin, Classic Analytics and Universal Analytics.

What Do We Know About GA4?

So, what do we know about the latest Google Analytics and the new features it brings to the table?

As Google has said, GA4 is actually an expanded and rebranded name for Google App + Web Analytics, which came out in beta last year. Google’s latest Analytics iteration includes expanded predictive insights, deeper integration with Google Ads, cross-device measurement capabilities and more granular data controls.

GA4 looks very different from previous versions of GA. The interface differences between Classic GA and Universal Analytics were indistinguishable, and we often had to rely on Google’s Tag Assistant to know what version a website was running.

This problem won’t exist for GA4 users as the entire interface has been reworked. Gone are ‘Audience’, ‘Acquisition’, ‘Behaviour’ and ‘Conversion’. They have been replaced by the group headings of ‘Life Cycle’, ‘User’, ‘Events’, ‘Explore’ and ‘Configure’.

How Do I Switch It Back To UA

This is one of the biggest questions we are getting from our clients and online users, in short, once you have created a GA4, you cannot switch it back to the previous version of Universal Analytics

So How Do I Get My Previous Universal Analytics Back?

There is a way, you would need to create a new property and when you get to the Property Setup, there is a ‘Show Advanced Options’

Click this and then select either UA only or both UA and GA4

If you select both UA and GA4 you can switch between the previous and new version of Analytics from the property drop down

Final Thoughts

GA4 is the biggest change to GA since its inception in 2005. One of the things that users liked about previous versions was its familiarity and easy to use navigation. However, over the past few years, the flaws in GA have become more apparent.

Cross-device measurement, offline conversions and attribution were inefficient and held back progress. GA4 is being built for the future and while it is going to take a while to get used to it, it’s very exciting!

New features are going to be released for GA4, so what we’re seeing now is not going to be the final version. Google never stands still with its products and features. Just look at GA’s ‘What’s New’ page and you’ll see the huge number of updates from the past 12 months alone.

You don’t have to immediately move all your website reporting over to GA4. Get familiar with the platform and get used to the new reports and GA4 terminology. It may seem very daunting now, but don’t panic!