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Google Analytics Universal Vs GA4

Since the official launch of Google Analytics 4 back in October 2020, many within the industry are still reluctant to step away from Universal Analytics (GA3) and embrace the new version of the measurement tool available. However, Google has recently announced that as of the 1st of July 2023, Google will be retiring GA3, finally bidding farewell to the version of analytics that we have come to know so well. 

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But what does this mean for your website? 

If you are still yet to implement Google Analytics 4 (GA4), like many users, now is the time. Data is crucial to any successful business marketing strategy; therefore, prioritising the analytics migration will mean that more data will be available to you when it comes to the switchover. Once Universal Analytics, or as some refer to it, Google Analytics 3 (GA3), has retired, the data will stop collecting through this version and continue only through Google Analytics 4.

So, before we explain how to make that all-important switch to the shiny new GA4, let’s look at the difference between GA4 and Universal Analytics?


A change to the interface 

When you first switch to the new GA4, it may be pretty daunting as the options that used to be available on the dashboard are either not there or have changed. It’s important to remember that although GA4 and Universal analytics report the same data, how it is collected and reported is different, which will show in your analytics reports and how you are shown the data. 

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Google Analytics 4 measurement model is based on parameters and events. GA4 considers every activity taken by a user as an event, in which you can then drill down to find out more. Whilst Universal Analytics bases its measurements on page views and sessions, GA4 would consider both these to be events. 


Engagement rate

In Universal analytics (GA3), Bounce rate refers to the percentage of users that visit your website and then exit without converting. This can be an essential metric to have as it can tell web admins and business owners a lot about how users are engaging with their online content. However, if you’re looking for the bounce rate of your website in analytics 4, you’ll now find it under engagement rate. 

While the Bounce rate defines the number of visitors who didn’t engage with your webpage, the engagement rate shows how many did. Engagement rate considers any session that visitors have acted, whether viewing a web page for more than 10 seconds, viewing more than one page, or triggering an event as engagement.



In Universal Analytics, an interaction made by a singer visitor on your website, whether it be viewed pages, triggered events, or a transaction in a set timeframe is considered a session. Google analytics 4 still refers to this as a session, although the duration of the sessions is not limited. There are three types of sessions in GA4

  • Sessions – the number of sessions that have started on your website.
  • Engaged sessions – sessions that have lasted 10 seconds or more, converted, triggered an event, or viewed one or more pages. 
  • Engaged sessions per user - the number of engaged users. 


Data from your website allows you to make better, informed decisions about your business; therefore, we advise that you Implement GA4 sooner rather than later to ensure no data is lost in the transition. 

If you are still unsure about what this new update means for you? Get in touch. Here at Hydra Creative, our Digital Marketing experts are google certified, prepped, and ready to assist you in creating and delivering the best SEO strategy for your business.

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