UA vs. GA4: 5 Main Differences

With Google planning to replace UA with GA4 as its default web analytics tool in 2023, it’s important for Shopify Sellers to know the differences and benefits.

Kelli Harris
By Kelli Harris
Head and shoulders photo of Michelle Meyer
Edited by Michelle Meyer

Updated May 9, 2023.

While Shopify analytics vs Google Analytics currently don't always correspond, Google's change to replace Universal Analytics (UA) with Google Analytics 4 (GA4) as its default web analytics tool on July 1, 2023, will include various upgrades and adjustments that could benefit Shopify sellers.

Consolidated Interface

GA4's goal is to consolidate your web and app analytics into a single platform to manage and analyze all relevant data more easily. Therefore, you can monitor and evaluate your customers' journey across all of their devices by aggregating data from their interactions with your website as well as Android and iOS applications under one roof.

Data Streams

One technique to consolidate various data sources is by using "data streams". Each piece of property might have several data streams added to it via the internet and other apps. In GA4, "Views" will no longer be accessible. Instead, filters can be activated or deactivated as well as be tested before being applied to a property or sub-properties.

Hits Become Events

To provide a holistic perspective of the consumer experience across all channels, GA4 adapted the UA method of several types of hits plus custom dimensions and metrics, such as landing page metrics, to the event-based, parameter-driven model more known to users of Firebase's app analytics tools. Passing a pageview from UA as an event in GA4 is still possible. Parameters replace custom metrics and dimensions to allow for event personalization. By conforming to app-specific workflows, businesses may gain a more holistic understanding of their customers' experiences across several devices and platforms.

More Report Customization

"Explorations" will make it easier to generate custom ad hoc reports in GA4. Its user interface resembles Data Studio and contains various templates to utilize as guides, from "free form" to complex templates for path and funnel research, acquisition and conversion, and e-commerce report creation. The templates are organized by techniques, use cases, and industries.

Goals Become Conversions

In UA, conversions are either e-commerce transactions or goals. However, in GA4, any event that contributes to your business goals is labeled as a conversion.

UA vs. GA4: Which Is Better for Shopify Sellers?

As a result of GA4, a holistic view of the user journey is created, and more reporting options will be available to Shopify sellers. Once GA4 has been set up on Shopify, its new features are not only helpful for merchants who want to improve their marketing efforts but also for those who want to understand their customers better.