The shift from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) has brought about a conundrum of conversion differences that leave marketers scratching their heads. These are some possible reasons behind these disparities.
One primary factor contributing to the variance in conversion data between GA4 and UA is the divergent tracking methodologies employed by the two systems. GA4 emphasises event-based tracking, which is a departure from UA’s pageview-centric approach. This shift implies that some events tracked in GA4 might not be directly comparable to pageviews in UA and consequently, conversions tied to specific events could be perceived differently, leading to discrepancies in the reported figures.
Furthermore, the evolution of user-centric measurement in GA4 introduces an approach to tracking user interactions across devices and platforms. This model may capture conversions that were previously overlooked or attributed differently in UA, so the expanded scope of user engagement in GA4 may also account for variations in conversion metrics.
Another key aspect to consider is the enhanced focus on privacy and user consent in GA4. With stricter regulations and an increased emphasis on user control over data, GA4 allows users to manage their consent settings more granularly. This shift can impact data collection, as users may choose to opt out of certain tracking elements, potentially influencing conversion metrics. The era of heightened privacy awareness demands a re-evaluation of how conversions are measured and reported.
Moreover, GA4 introduces a more flexible and customisable event tracking system compared to UA. This empowers users to tailor their tracking to specific business goals, which can lead to a misalignment in event tracking setups between GA4 and UA that can result in differences in how conversions are recorded and attributed.
One possible factor can be the way that conversions are counted in GA4, which can differ to UA’s methods, and we covered this issue back in May. Once a conversion has been set up in GA4 you need to decide if these should be counted just once during a session or from every interaction that counts as a conversion.
The migration from UA to GA4 brings about a paradigm shift in analytics, and with it, the inevitability of conversion differences. The transition from pageviews to events, the user-centric approach, privacy considerations, and the customisable nature of event tracking all contribute to the complexity of the conversion variances. As businesses adapt to the new analytics ecosystem, understanding and addressing these nuances will be crucial in ensuring accurate and actionable insights.
If you want to know more about how understanding that difference can help your business, please get in touch.