Difference in Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) vs. Universal Analytics


What Are Events?: Think of events as actions. When someone visits a page, clicks a link, or watches a video on your website, it’s counted as an event (if you’ve set it up). Both GA4 and Universal Analytics track these actions, but in different ways.

Events in Universal Analytics:

  • Structure: In Universal Analytics, events were divided into categories, actions, labels, and values. For instance, for a video, the category might have been ‘Videos’, the action could have been ‘Play’, and the label might have been the video’s name.
  • Setup: Needed additional tracking codes on your website to capture events.

Events in GA4:

  • Flexible Structure: GA4 simplifies things. Instead of multiple parts, each event has a name and can carry up to 25 extra details, or ‘parameters’. Using the video example again, the event might be called ‘play video’, with extra details like the video’s name or length.
  • Automatic Tracking: GA4 automatically tracks some common events, like page views, without extra codes. But for most additional events you’ll need to add code to your website or use GTM in a similar way as UA was.

Choosing Good Names: It’s important to name events clearly. In GA4, rather than using broad categories like ‘videos’, it’s better to use specific names like ‘play video’ or ‘pause video’. This makes understanding the action easier.

Keeping Things Clear and Consistent: Always use similar names for similar actions in both systems. This helps avoid confusion when looking at the data.

Writing Down Event Details: Make a list or notes about what each event name and detail means. This helps everyone understand the data better. You can use GA4’s note feature or even just a simple document.

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