First Thoughts On GA4 – Google Analytics New Interface


They say change is as good as a holiday. Not for me. I’d prefer the holiday instead :).

Adapt I will, but I do like my routine and familiar interfaces are counted amongst those.

The Struggles of an Early Adopter 

Recently Facebook also launched their new look and feel. It’s great on mobile, but I personally feel like they left the desktop user experience very far behind. Much of their Facebook Business applications were also just missing and/or not working properly. I think they forget that it’s far easier to manage your Page & advertising from desktop than mobile…but we’re not here to discuss FB today.

When Google Analytics rolled out Universal Analytics back in 2012 it was an adjustment – but only slightly so. The framework remained more or less the same as their first GA version (also slightly adapted from Urchin – which they bought to ‘become’ GA way back in 2005) – and some things were moved below different headings. It’s been 8 years that we’ve used that analytics interface and now, October 2020, they hit us with an entirely new Analytics called GA4 (Google Analytics 4).

This is the default experience for all new properties created in GA. Thankfully all my other properties still run Universal until they make the switch available, but I had to set up a new property for a new website launching, which is now running GA4.

Getting to Grips with GA4

I honestly thought I had not read properly while setting this up or clicked on something I shouldn’t have when it loaded. That is how different it looks. In my case it is probably exacerbated by the fact that there is no data in the account yet as the site hasn’t launched – but I felt completely lost looking at this interface. Even the tracking code is now different. No more “UA-” code. Now, it’s just “G-“.

The press release around the GA4 product is all good and well, and I completely “get it”. What I don’t get is the new GUI.

But I’m optimistic that will change once I have more data in there to build insights from and also hopeful the interface will make more sense too.

I do love the focus on Audiences as well as more customer driven views. The latter should assist with insights into content/ channels and the ability to build improved engagement (& marketing strategies) from those insights over time.


This is what it looks like without anything in – LHN totally different to UA, and naming somewhat different.

GA4-design - preliminary screens

Here is a side-by-side of UA vs GA4 LHN:

GA4 vs UA


Been using GA4? What are your thoughts on GA4?




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