GA4 has a lot more information about users compared to UA. It includes a primary metric called Total Users and reports on New and Returning Users. The primary difference between GA4 and UA is how events are tracked. UA uses an event-type system with categories, actions and labels, while GA4 has a data stream model.
Internal Traffic Filter
GA4 does things differently than UA in the way that it structures data collection. For example, it uses a single property for each website and does not split data by web or app (like UA). It makes it much easier to compare results across properties. Another difference is that GA4’s stats are based on events rather than views. It can make it a bit confusing initially, but it is important to understand if you want comprehensive reporting. Also, conversion tracking is different in GA4 vs UA. Instead of multiple types of goals (like pages/sessions or engagement), only events can be configured as goals. Website managers must specify these events. It is a significant change from the previous process of tracking purposes in UA.
If you compare your GA4 reports to your UA reports, you might see discrepancies between the number of users. It is because GA4 treats returning users differently from UA. Google has introduced the metric ‘engaged sessions’ in GA4, which replaces bounce rate and is applied to websites and apps. Engaged sessions have a duration of at least 10 seconds and include at least one conversion event or two page/screen views. It also means that session durations may vary between GA4 and UA when encountering new campaign parameters. It will also impact the average engagement time per session metric that GA4 reports on. It results from how GA4 handles events that do not trigger interactions and therefore do not add to session duration.
The GA4 conversion tracking is different than UA, allowing you to track more types of goals. For example, you can track user interactions like clicking an internal link or watching a five-minute video. It is a great way to get more detailed reporting on your website. It results from the GA4 measurement model that uses events instead of pageviews to determine metrics. That means the data is a lot closer to the actual observed data. It also enables Google to make predictions based on the data, such as how a fourth ad exposure affects search conversion probability. It is a big advantage of GA4 over other analytics tools. However, this can create many modeled data in your reports and might lead to inaccurate conclusions.
The bounce rate was one of the most misunderstood metrics in web analytics. It looked at single-page sessions without accounting for how users left your site. Google moved away from the bounce rate and focused on engagement metrics instead. The engagement metric considers the user behavior on your site. For instance, it would be considered an engaged session if a visitor to your website spent several minutes reading the content on the first page before leaving without clicking any links or initiating any interaction events. Bounce rates can be different in UA and GA4. GA4 now measures data streams (website or app) rather than views. Additionally, GA4 doesn’t restart sessions when new campaign parameters are encountered, as UA does.
In UA, you could use several predefined reports like attribution rates that analyze how conversions are assigned to different touchpoints. However, this model relies on a mix of actual and modeled data. In GA4, it is possible to use a data-driven attribution model by default which does not blend real and modeled data. In addition, you can easily change this attribution model in the future, which was different in UA. Another difference is how data is collected and processed in GA4. In UA, everything is based on sessions, whereas Analytics uses events as the core of its reporting. It can cause some inconsistencies between the two platforms.