5 Features You’ll Miss From Universal Analytics

June 19, 2023

With the news breaking that our current Google Analytics (GA3) is transforming to GA4, you may be wondering if all of its features are going to be transferred over. The short answer is no, and sadly some beloved old-favourites are going to be bidded a farewell. This transition brings exciting new capabilities but it’s important for us to understand which features won’t be making the cut.


Custom Reports

While GA4 offers flexible reporting options, it doesn’t have the same custom report builder functionality as the previous version. Although you are still able to build custom reports in GA4, for some users their new system may take a little bit of getting used to. GA3 offered a more simplistic approach, and unfortunately with GA4 things may seem harder before they get easier. However, if you spend some time experimenting and exploring these features, hopefully you shouldn’t be in the dark for too long.   


User ID and Cross-Device Tracking

A key distinction between GA4 and GA3 is GA3’s ability to track users across devices using their User ID feature. Although GA4 still allows cross-platform tracking, the User ID feature is now sadly unavailable. This isn’t as bad as it seems, as GA4 simply adapts a different method for cross-tracking and user identification. 


Goals and Ecommerce Tracking

What once was ‘goals’ in GA3 has re-emerged as ‘events’ in GA4. This means that the features within goal setup such as destination, pages, screens per session, and duration goals have become unavailable.  


Remarketing lists

Although GA4 hasn’t scrapped this feature completely, it is adopting a different approach to its predecessor. This means that if your remarketing lists are stored on your GA3 account, it’s important to get them transferred over as quickly as possible!


Custom Dimensions and Metrics

GA4 brings about a different method for tracking dimensions and metrics compared to the OG which can be useful to your business needs. In GA3 you could set the scope of custom metrics to ‘Hit’ or ‘Product’ but in GA4 you can only set your custom metric to ‘Event’. In GA3 the scope of your custom dimensions can be ‘Hit’, ‘Session’, ‘User’, or ‘Product’. In GA4, you can only create custom dimensions with the ‘Event’ or ‘User’ scope. Click here to read more about GA4 custom dimensions and metrics. 


It’s important to note that while some features may not have a direct equivalent in GA4, this updated system brings about a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to analytics! It is also worth mentioning that this switch isn’t as daunting as it may seem, and google has provided a lot of resources and documents to help guide you through! As of today, there are just 2 weeks to make that all important switch, so this is your sign to save your precious data today.


Related: How To Get The Most Out Of GA4