Google Analytics:What Is It,How It Works,and Difference from GA4

Google Analytics:What Is It,How It Works,and Difference from GA4

Google Analytics is a free web analytics service that offers basic analytical tools and statistics used for search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing. The performance of a website and information about its visitors are monitored and analyzed using Google Analytics. In addition to identifying the most popular sources of user activity, it can provide valuable information about the effectiveness of a company’s marketing initiatives and campaigns, keep tabs on how customers complete tasks (such as making purchases or adding items to their shopping carts), identify trends and patterns in customer behavior and gather demographic data.

To collect user data from every website visitor, Google Analytics employs the usage of page tags. JavaScript page tags are added to each page’s code. Google’s data-gathering servers get data from each visitor via the use of this tag, which is embedded in the visitor’s browser. Customizable reports may then be generated by Google Analytics to monitor and show data on the website traffic, the average session lengths, sessions by route, page views, and more.

To collect visitor information, the page-tag acts as a web beacon or web bug on the page. The system, however, cannot gather data from users who have deactivated cookies since it is reliant on cookies.

Google Analytics has capabilities that allow users to see how visitors interact with their websites over time. Data gathering, analytics, tracking, visualization, reporting, and interaction with other applications are all made possible via the use of features. The following are only a few examples:

  • Tools for data visualization and monitoring, like dashboards, scorecards, and activity charts illustrate data changes over time.
  • Filtration, modification, and analysis of funnels of data.
  • Application program interfaces (APIs) for data collecting.
  • Actionable insights, intelligence, and identification of anomalies.
  • Segmentation to analyze subsets of data, such as conversions.
  • Tailor-made reports for advertising, audience acquisition, audience behavior, and conversion.
  • Sharing and conversation through email.
  • Integrations with Google Ads, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Google Data Studio, Google Optimize 360, Google AdSense, Google Optimize 360, Google Display & Video 360, Google Search Ads 360, Google Search Console, and Google Ad Manager.

For each website, a unique set of metrics may be shown in the Google Analytics dashboard, with the option for users to store profiles for future use. Content summary, keywords, referral sites, visitors review, map overlay, and traffic stream overview are some of the categories that may be tracked.

In addition to being accessible via the Google Analytics website, a plugin or a widget for integrating the dashboard onto other websites is also made available. Independent vendors also provide customized Google Analytics dashboards, which may be customized to meet specific needs.

A metric is a quantitative measurement unit that is universally accepted. Google Analytics allows customers to monitor up to 200 metrics to assess the performance of their websites.

While certain measures may be more beneficial to some firms than others, the following are among the most often-used metrics:

1. Users

A user is defined as a unique or first-time visitor to a website.

2. Bounce rate

The number of visitors that only looked at one page. The Google Analytics servers received just a single request from each of these visitors.

3. Sessions

This is the collection of visitor reactions that occur throughout 30 minutes of activity.

4. Average Session Duration

The average amount of time that each visitor spends on the site.

5. Percentage of New Sessions

The proportion of website visitors who are making their first visit.

6. Pages Per Session

The maximum number of times a page is seen during a single session.

7. Goal Completions

How often a visitor performs a desired activity. Additionally, this is referred to as conversion.

8. Pageviews

The number of pages that have been visited.

There are dimensions and metrics in Google Analytics reports, respectively. Understanding the difference between the two is essential for accurate report interpretation.


These are descriptive or categorical qualities or labels that are used to classify and organize data. The dimension “Region” might be used, for instance, if the average session duration is being assessed over many distinct areas. Measures like “average session length” may be used to illustrate the concept of metrics. In Google Analytics, dimensions may be rearranged. Dimensions such as these are typical examples:

  1. Language
  2. Browser type
  3. City and country
  4. Models of devices
  5. User age group


These are quantitative analyses of a particular sort of data. Metrics such as average session lengths, website visits, web pages per session, and the average amount of time on site are all examples. Metrics are a unit of measurement that is used to evaluate measurements across several dimensions.

Businesses might use Google Analytics to collect different sorts of data for promotional reasons.

User Acquisition Data

Allows for a better understanding of how visitors arrive at the website. Customers may arrive through several routes, including sponsored search engine results, organic search engine outcomes, social media links, or by putting the URL directly into the browser. It is vital to understand user acquisition statistics to maximize website traffic.

User Behavior Data

Demonstrates how visitors interact with the website and their level of engagement. This covers the time spent on each page, the number of pages visited, and whether or not they interact with videos and visuals. This data may be employed to develop web layouts that more effectively link users to the information they want, resulting in a more successful user experience. Optimization of user experiences based on user behavior data increases the likelihood of sales and conversions.

The most current version of Google Analytics, known as GA4, was published in October 2020. Google Analytics 4 is a significant upgrade over prior iterations. Machine learning is used instead of third-party cookies to improve data accuracy, and a new user experience is provided.

The following are some of the new features in Google Analytics 4:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning
  • Interaction with Google Ads at a higher level
  • Customer-focused reporting is based on data collected throughout the lifecycle
  • Tracking capabilities that don’t need any extra coding and can deliver data in real-time
  • Increased data management and regulatory compliance features


Google Analytics 4 (GA4) offers a streamlined interface with fewer sidebar reports. It provides analytical reports for both users and events.

Universal Analytics, on the other hand, features additional reporting in the sidebar and does not make a clear distinction between user analytics and event analytics.


In GA4, event-based tracking is a central feature. Every user interaction is treated as an event, and administrators can set up various event types, such as session start, first visit, page views, and form submissions.

Universal Analytics uses a hit-based tracking approach, including page hits, e-commerce hits, event hits, and social media hits.


GA4 offers more flexibility when it comes to tracking events. It frees you from predefined values, labels, actions, and categories. Events can be categorized into:

  • Automated data collection
  • Events requiring additional parameters
  • Recommendations like logging in, sharing, or registering
  • Custom events that users can define to collect specific data

Universal Analytics categorizes events into categories, labels, actions, and values. It allows users to measure events as conversions and objectives.

Page Views

In GA4, page views are tracked using the ‘page_view’ event, providing more detailed insights into page interactions.

Universal Analytics tracks page views with attributes such as page path, page title, and page attributes.


GA4 considers the start of a session when a user first interacts with the website. The session’s duration depends on the time it takes for users to move between the initial and final events.

Universal Analytics defines a session based on user activity, including page views, conversions, and interactions. It doesn’t matter if a user becomes idle for a while; as long as they continue to engage, the session continues.”

This comparison highlights the key differences between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics in terms of interface, tracking methods, events, page views, and sessions. Depending on your analytics needs, you can choose the platform that best suits your requirements.

Using Google Analytics offers both advantages and disadvantages. In general, users like the platform since it is flexible, powerful, and cost-free. In addition, the following advantages are provided by Google Analytics:

  • Free, simple to use, and beginner-friendly are just some of the advantages of this service.
  • Metrics and dimensions may be customized in Google Analytics. This platform is capable of capturing a wide range of valuable information.
  • There are other features in Google Analytics, including data visualization, monitoring, reporting, and predictive analysis, amongst other things.

Some past weaknesses of Google Analytics have been identified as potentially affecting the accuracy of its data. These include the following:

  • By blocking Google Analytics cookies, some browser plugins, ad filtering tools, and private networks, users may lower their data’s overall accuracy and precision by a significant margin.
  • Samples of 500,000 random sessions are used to lessen server load. Only the total number of visitors is shown as an error margin in these reports. As a result, extremely significant error margins might exist even for short pieces of data.

Matomo (formerly Piwik):

  • Matomo is an open-source web analytics platform that provides similar features to Google Analytics.
  • It offers user privacy features and the ability to host analytics data on your servers.
  • Matomo provides customizable reports, real-time tracking, and e-commerce analytics.


  • Mixpanel is a product analytics platform focused on user behavior analysis.
  • It allows businesses to track user interactions within their web and mobile applications.
  • Mixpanel provides insights into user retention, engagement, and conversion funnels.

Adobe Analytics:

  • Adobe Analytics is part of the Adobe Experience Cloud and offers robust analytics and reporting tools.
  • It is suitable for enterprises and provides advanced features for marketing analytics.
  • Adobe Analytics integrates well with other Adobe marketing tools.


  • Heap is an event-based analytics platform that automatically captures user interactions without the need for manual tracking setup.
  • It offers retroactive analysis, allowing you to track events even before they were defined.
  • Heap provides funnel analysis, segmentation, and A/B testing.


  • Clicky is a real-time web analytics tool known for its user-friendly interface.
  • It offers real-time data, heatmaps, uptime monitoring, and conversion tracking.
  • Clicky is suitable for small to medium-sized websites.

Yandex Metrica:

  • Yandex Metrica is a free web analytics tool offered by Yandex, a Russian search engine.
  • It provides heatmaps, session replays, and user behavior tracking.
  • Yandex Metrica integrates with Yandex advertising services.


  • StatCounter is a simple web analytics service that offers real-time visitor tracking, customizable reports, and device-specific analytics.
  • It is suitable for small websites and blogs.

Open Web Analytics (OWA):

  • Open Web Analytics is an open-source alternative to Google Analytics.
  • It allows you to self-host your analytics data and provides event tracking, goal tracking, and heat maps.

When choosing a Google Analytics alternative, consider factors such as your specific analytics needs, budget, data privacy requirements, and the level of technical expertise required for implementation. Each of these alternatives has its strengths, so evaluate them based on your unique circumstances.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a web analytics service that tracks and reports website traffic. It is one of the most popular web analytics services in the world, and it is used by millions of websites to track their traffic and understand their users.

What are the benefits of using Google Analytics?

  • Tracking website traffic: Google Analytics can track website traffic from a variety of sources, including search engines, social media, and direct referrals. This information can be used to understand how visitors are finding your website and what pages they are visiting.
  • Understanding website users: Google Analytics can provide insights into website users, such as their demographics, interests, and behavior. This information can be used to improve the website experience for users and to target marketing campaigns more effectively.
  • Measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns: Google Analytics can be used to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns by tracking the traffic and conversions generated by each campaign. This information can be used to improve future marketing campaigns and to allocate marketing resources more effectively.

How does Google Analytics work?

Google Analytics works by placing a small piece of code, known as a tracking code, on all pages of your website. When a visitor visits your website, the tracking code sends data to Google Analytics about the visitor’s session, such as the pages they visit, the time they spend on each page, and the source of their visit. Google Analytics then processes this data and generates reports that you can use to track and analyze your website traffic.

How do I get started with Google Analytics?

To get started with Google Analytics, you need to create a Google Analytics account and add the tracking code to your website. Once you have added the tracking code, you can start tracking your website traffic and generating reports.

What are some tips for using Google Analytics?

  • Set goals: Before you start using Google Analytics, it is important to set goals for what you want to achieve. This will help you to focus your efforts and to track your progress over time.
  • Segment your data: Google Analytics allows you to segment your data in a variety of ways. This can be useful for identifying specific trends and patterns in your website traffic.
  • Use custom reports: Google Analytics offers a wide range of pre-built reports. However, you can also create custom reports to meet your specific needs.
  • Monitor your results: It is important to monitor your Google Analytics results regularly. This will help you to identify any problems or opportunities with your website.

Where can I learn more about Google Analytics?

There are a number of resources available to help you learn more about Google Analytics. The Google Analytics website offers a variety of tutorials and documentation. You can also find many helpful resources online, such as blog posts and articles.

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