Unlocking Insights: GA4 vs. Universal Analytics Metrics

Unlocking Insights: GA4 vs. Universal Analytics Metrics

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Definition of Bounce Rate in GA4
  3. Comparison of GA4 and Universal Analytics Metrics
    • Users
    • Sessions
    • Goals and Conversions
  4. Discrepancy between Google Analytics and Shopify
    • Margin of Error in Reporting
    • Reasons for Differences in Metrics
  5. Challenges with GA4 Implementation
    • VPN and User Consent Issues
    • Safari Compatibility and Page Loading
    • Interference of Shopify Apps with Ecommerce Tracking
  6. Future of Reporting with GA4
    • Analytic Setup Considerations
    • Potential Enhancements in Tracking Capabilities
  7. Conclusion


Comparison between GA4 and Universal Analytics Metrics

In the world of web analytics, Google Analytics has been at the forefront, providing valuable insights into user behavior and website performance. With the recent release of GA4, there have been significant updates and changes to the way metrics are measured and reported. In this article, we will dive into the differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics metrics, shedding light on what marketers and website owners need to know.

Definition of Bounce Rate in GA4

One of the key updates in GA4 is the redefinition of the bounce rate. Previously, bounce rate was defined as the percentage of sessions where a user landed on a page and left without any interaction. However, in GA4, bounce rate is now measured as the percentage of engaged sessions. An engaged session is one that meets specific criteria, such as lasting longer than 10 seconds, having a conversion event, or having at least two page views or screen views. It's important to note that scrolling also counts as an event in GA4, adding a new dimension to how bounce rate is calculated.

Comparison of GA4 and Universal Analytics Metrics

To fully understand the differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics, it is essential to examine their key metrics. Let's take a closer look at some of the fundamental metrics and how they are defined in each version:

Users: In Universal Analytics, users refer to the unique individuals who visit a website within a specified time period. However, in GA4, users are defined in a broader sense, including both new users and potential returning users.

Sessions: A session is a period of time in which a user actively engages with a website. In Universal Analytics, sessions restart at midnight or when new campaign parameters are encountered. In contrast, GA4 sessions last for a set duration and are not restarted based on time or campaign criteria.

Goals and Conversions: Compared to Universal Analytics, GA4 provides more flexibility and freedom when it comes to goals and conversions. In Universal Analytics, a goal can only convert once in a session, even if a user completes the same goal multiple times. However, in GA4, multiple conversions for the same goal within one session are possible, allowing for a more accurate reflection of user behavior.

Discrepancy between Google Analytics and Shopify

For ecommerce businesses using Shopify as their platform, it is important to consider the potential differences between Google Analytics and Shopify's own reporting. While both platforms capture valuable data, variations in tracking and data collection methods can lead to discrepancies. Let's explore some of the reasons for these disparities:

Margin of Error in Reporting: It is crucial to recognize that a margin of error exists when comparing Google Analytics with Shopify. Acceptable differences can occur due to various factors, including the time lag between data updates and differences in data collection methods.

Reasons for Differences in Metrics: Differences in metrics can also arise from technical factors. VPN usage, user consent issues, and browser compatibility, particularly with Safari, can impact the accuracy of data collected. Additionally, incomplete page loading and interference from Shopify apps can affect ecommerce tracking.

Challenges with GA4 Implementation

Implementing GA4 can present its own set of challenges. Here are a few hurdles that marketers and website owners may encounter:

VPN and User Consent Issues: VPN usage and user consent requirements can impact data accuracy in GA4. VPNs often hide a user's true location, making it challenging to track their behavior accurately. User consent regulations, such as GDPR, can also limit the data available for tracking.

Safari Compatibility and Page Loading: Safari, Apple's web browser, can create compatibility issues with GA4. In some cases, Safari visitors may not fully load the page, causing discrepancies in data between Google Analytics and Shopify.

Interference of Shopify Apps with Ecommerce Tracking: Many Shopify apps, particularly those related to subscription upsells or cross-checkout features, can interfere with GA4's ecommerce tracking. This can lead to gaps in the customer journey, where data is missing between viewing a product and making a purchase.

Future of Reporting with GA4

As businesses adapt to the changes brought by GA4, it is essential to consider the future of reporting and analytics. Here are a few aspects to keep in mind:

Analytic Setup Considerations: To ensure accurate tracking and measurement, it is crucial to review the analytic setup for GA4. This involves examining tracking codes, event configurations, and goal definitions to align them with the desired outcome.

Potential Enhancements in Tracking Capabilities: GA4 offers an opportunity for enhanced tracking capabilities, such as improved cross-device tracking and increased flexibility in setting up custom dimensions and metrics. Exploring these features can provide deeper insights into user behavior and website performance.


GA4 introduces significant changes to the way metrics are measured and reported, presenting both benefits and challenges for marketers and website owners. Understanding the differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics metrics, as well as the potential discrepancies between Google Analytics and Shopify, is crucial for accurate data analysis and decision-making. By overcoming the implementation challenges and staying abreast of updates in GA4, businesses can harness the power of advanced analytics to optimize their digital strategies and drive growth.


  • GA4 introduces a redefined bounce rate that measures engaged sessions.
  • Differences exist in key metrics between GA4 and Universal Analytics, such as users, sessions, and goals.
  • Discrepancies between Google Analytics and Shopify can be attributed to various factors and should be interpreted with a margin of error.
  • Challenges with GA4 implementation include VPN and user consent issues, Safari compatibility, and interference from Shopify apps.
  • The future of reporting with GA4 involves considering analytic setup considerations and exploring potential enhancements in tracking capabilities.

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