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2 min read

Google GA4 vs Universal Analytics: Key Metric Changes

By Penny M

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is a web analytics tool that helps business owners and marketers track and analyze their website and app data. GA4 is an upgrade to Google's Universal Analytics (UA) and offers advanced tracking and analysis features. With GA4, business owners can now integrate their app data with their website data in the same account.

GA4 provides marketing professionals with a host of metrics to better understand their website users. Key changes include sessions, engagement rate, events, user acquisition funnels cross-domain tracking enhanced measurement of user lifetime value

With HLM helping you navigate GA4, you'll be equipped to make data-driven marketing decisions to expand your business efficiently and exponentially using digital strategies.

In this blog, we’ve identified the top metrics most important to our clients and how they’ve changed with GA4.

Here are some of the specific metrics that have changed with GA4:


Sessions at Google Analytics 4 have changed. A session refers to any collection of user interactions on your website within a defined time period; in Universal Analytics, each new campaign would start a new session regardless of activity level, but not so in GA4. Therefore, the new campaign may not trigger new sessions; therefore this may result in lower session counts within your Google Analytics 4 property - so don't be alarmed when comparing data sets!

Engagement Rate

GA4 introduces a new metric called Engagement Rate that acts like the opposite of bounce rate; rather than showing how many sessions were not engaging, Engagement Rate shows the percentage of engaging sessions (such as visits that included some sort of interaction with your website).


GA4 introduces an event tracking model that allows website owners to better monitor user interactions on their websites, such as form submissions, downloads, and video plays. With this new event-tracking model comes more detailed data collection. Business owners can now more precisely track specific actions such as form submissions, downloads, and video plays.

User Acquisition

GA4 recently revised its user acquisition metrics to provide more comprehensive insight into the user journey. Their new "Conversion Paths" report consolidates data from various channels - such as organic search, paid search, social media posts, and direct traffic - into one comprehensive view of user acquisition.


GA4 has improved upon UA's funnel analysis tool by offering you a more in-depth view of user journeys on your website and revealing where users drop off. Understanding more of their behavior on-site will enable you to optimize the conversion funnel more easily.

Cross-Domain Tracking

GA4 simplifies cross-domain tracking by making it easy to track user activity across multiple domains, subdomains, and apps. Cross-domain tracking gives a comprehensive view of the user journey and allows you to identify which campaigns are producing positive results.

Enhanced Measurement

GA4 introduces an enhanced measurement feature, enabling you to automatically track a wide variety of website interactions, such as file downloads, clicks, and video plays, without setting up additional tracking codes.

User Lifetime Value

GA4 has a new "User Lifetime Value" (LTV) metric that allows you to track the total value of a customer from their first visit to their most recent one so you can maximize the value of every customer relationship.

The Bottom Line:

GA4 can be an invaluable tool for website owners and marketers looking to maximize the return on their marketing investment. By using GA4, you'll gain insight into how visitors find you online as well as which pages or content on your website receive more engagement or conversions compared to others. When used with an experienced agency such as HLM, GA4 will give you all of the insight needed to expand efficiently with digital marketing.

Looking for a digital agency that stays on top of the digital industry’s constant changes and uses those changes to your advantage? You found it. Contact us now

Author: Penny M

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