Why GA4 and BigQuery Numbers Don't Match

Why are the numbers reported in the GA4 interface and those calculated in BigQuery different? This is a question asked by one of the subscribers of this newsletter.

Note: Submit your GA4 BigQuery questions at the Ask a GA4 BigQuery Question page.

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and BigQuery might not always show the exact same numbers due to various reasons:

  1. Data Processing Differences: Google Analytics 4 processes data differently than BigQuery. GA4 uses a series of sampling, aggregation, and filtering techniques to process data for reporting, while BigQuery provides raw data. This can lead to slight variations in numbers between the two platforms.

  2. Data Sampling: In Google Analytics 4, when dealing with large datasets, Google may sample the data to provide faster reporting. This sampling can lead to differences in numbers compared to BigQuery, which provides access to unsampled raw data.

  3. Data Collection Latency: There might be a delay between data collection and its availability in Google Analytics 4 compared to BigQuery. This can result in discrepancies when comparing real-time or recent data.

  4. Time Zone Setup Differences: This should not be an issue but could be if you changed your timezone settings in GA4 after the data started flowing in BigQuery.

  5. GA4 Uses Estimations: GA4 uses estimated numbers for sessions, users, etc., while BigQuery does not.

  6. SQL Query Logic: Understanding which fields and combinations of event parameters and fields to use requires a deeper understanding of both GA4 data in BigQuery and SQL. Small logic mistakes are likely and will cause the differences in the numbers.

I hope this clarifies why the numbers between GA4 and BigQuery won’t match.

If you want better accuracy then use BigQuery. However, GA4 has a better interface and you don’t need to know how to write SQL.

If your organization needs GA4 and BigQuery help then contact us at https://www.optizent.com/contact/.

If you are interested in upskilling then check out BigQuery and other courses on Optizent Academy.

Thank you,

Anil Batra, Optizent.com

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