Why Aren’t There Views in GA4?

Google Analytics 4 comes with various changes that are tough to navigate. Whether it is new events, conversion, metrics, or reporting, it will take some time to get used what you are seeing in the new GA.

One key difference is that there no longer are views like there were in Universal Analytics, and the way we have to segment data is a lot different in the GA4 interface.

Let’s break it down!

Views in Universal Analytics

In Universal Analytics, each account can have up to 50 properties and each property can have up to 25 views. Then, you can customize your specific views to customize filters for your data. When you first create a property in Google Analytics, you automatically start with an “unfiltered view”.

Some common reasons to why you would use views in UA include:

  • Segmentation – When using specific views, you can parse out certain data segments and analyze certain data points. For example, subdomains, excluded traffic, IP addresses, or even tracking data in a certain region, views segments that out.
  • Customization – You can create customized reporting to tailor to your business needs and goals, including solely ecommerce data or traffic to your blog.

The views in Universal Analytics are valuable as they provided a way to organize and analyze your data. However, the GA4 does not include views and offers a different data collection model.

What Does GA4 Have in Place of Views?

When looking at your properties in GA4, you will notice you will only see “Account” and “Property” and no option for “Views”. The new option you will see is “Data Streams” which are under the Property setting.

Data streams can be set up for each property to include data from your website, mobile app, or other digital platform. By setting up different data streams, you can apply filters to customize your single reporting view, which are now called “Data Filters”. Data filters are applied right to the data stream and do not work retroactively.

Why Did GA4 Lose Views?

The way that GA4 collects data is different than traditional UA, thus making the structure and reporting model a bit different. GA4 uses an event-tracking approach to focus specifically on the user and the events on the website.

A few reasons why GA4 no longer has views includes:

  • Event-driven nature – In GA4, you define specific events and parameters to track user interactions, which gives greater flexibility and customization compared to UA.
  • User-centricity – Now, the analytics are more focused on tracking individual user interactions and behaviors across different platforms. This moves away from “views” because it is more comprehensive of a user journey.
  • Audiences and segmentation – GA4 creates a stronger emphasis on creating custom audiences and segments to analyze certain groups of users based on behaviors and attributes. By allowing users to create tailored data, it eliminates the need for views.
  • Cross-platform tracking – It is easier to understand user interactions across digital touchpoints because GA4 provides improved support for cross-platform tracking. In a traditional view-based approach, this wouldn’t be as easy.

The transition from the views in UA to the event-driven model of GA4 brings key differences to the structure of the data. GA4 is trying to provide businesses with more advanced tools for users to understand more about user behavior and how to optimize user experience.

While it will take some time to get comfortable with the new tracking system, the goal is to give businesses more valuable insights in the long run.

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Steve DiMatteo

About the Author

Steve DiMatteo

Steve DiMatteo is our Senior SEO Strategist and Content Manager and has been working in marketing since 2010 on accounts ranging in legal, SaaS, and more. His past experience also includes writing for the Associated Press. Over the years, he has been featured in the Washington Post, Variety, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, and numerous other publications.

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