The difference between GA4 & UA

Events are at the core of GA4 and allow the measurement of user interactions with websites and applications. We’ll highlight the types of events – from Automatic Events to Custom Events. Find out which are most relevant for your website.

Google Analytics 4 (hereafter GA4) is at its core a different platform from its predecessor, Universal Analytics (hereafter GA3). GA3 was based on hits, which could be pageviews, hits related to online store activity, event hits and more. In GA4, the data model is based exclusively on events, where all types of hits are captured and all user interactions on the website are recorded.

Events therefore play a central role in the new version of Google Analytics. Their structure has changed, which brings greater flexibility, but it also introduces additional complexity, as the implementation of event measurement requires more planning and thought – from the naming of events to the selection of accompanying parameters that provide additional information and context for user activity on the site. Recall that the event structure in GA3 was rigid, consisting of 3 components (in addition to the Event Value):

  • Event Category
  • Event Action
  • Event Label

GA4 removes this structure and replaces the above components with parameters. Up to 25 parameters can be sent per event, allowing us to send more data and context about events. This is why we advise against trying to “replicate” the old event structure when migrating, as this limits one of the main benefits of GA4.
The following is an overview of the types of events that are now available to us and additional tips on how to use the accompanying parameters.

Event types in GA4

The events in GA4 can be divided into two groups. The first group represents automatically logged events, while the second group requires users to go through additional steps to implement events.

The event categories are:

  • Automatic Events and
  • Enhanced Measurement Events

The second group includes events that require additional implementation:

  • Recommended Events and
  • Custom Events

As the name suggests, the first group contains events that are automatically logged and are part of the core functionality of the platform. These are basic events such as first_visit, session_start, page_view, user_engagement and others. There are also a number of events for measuring activity within mobile applications, which is another new feature, as in the past a dedicated analytics platform, Firebase, was used in this area.

Additional benefits of GA4

In addition to the basic page views/view events, GA4 also allows you to automatically log other common activities, and in most cases you don’t need the help of a developer to implement them. This includes measuring scroll (where we measure how many visitors have viewed at least 90% of a page), clicks on links that lead to another domain (outbound clicks), site searches (site_search), interactions with embedded YouTube videos, where API support and interaction with forms is enabled, and file downloads in the most common formats.

This is a very welcome feature that allows even less skilled users to measure a large number of events without the help of a developer. Of course, not everything is so simple and straightforward. Different website platforms, business contexts and the need for specific data require a customised configuration of events and accompanying parameters. This is the subject of the following section.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *