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  • Analyzing Discrepancies in Event and View Counts Between GA4 and UA

    Posted by Abdul on 16 June 2022 at 7:28 pm

    So, here’s the deal. I’ve been using UA property, loaded through GTM, on my web pages (here’s a screenshot for you:
    enter image description here). I then decided to make the jump and created a new GA4 property, which I am also loading via GTM. Screenshot below:
    enter image description here

    Comparing the data for the main domain in both GA4 and UA, they’re both holding up quite well. There’s a slight 10% difference in view and event counts, which I can live with. Where the issue pops up is when I look at my subdomains. When I start comparing total page views for each specific page on a specific date, the variance jumps to more than 90% off.

    For example: 
    On https://sub.xzy.com/page1, this is what my numbers look like:
    UA Count - 9000
    UA Unique Count - 600
    
    GA4 Count  - 200
    GA4 Unique Count - 20
    

    This just doesn’t add up, right? Majority of the articles I’ve browsed indicate that a 10% difference is acceptable, but this… this is a chasm. Is there anything I may have overlooked? Your insights would be much appreciated.

    I tried doing some GTM debugging. Both UA and GA4 tags are firing when I open a page using GTM debugger. When I look at the real-time data in both GA4 and analytics, page view counts are tallying up accurately.

    So, it seems like GTM is doing its job well. The analytics events are even being pulled from GTM correctly. But here’s where I’m hitting a wall – I just can’t seem to figure out why the view count for my subdomain pages is all over the place. What gives?

    Amelia replied 11 months ago 3 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • Ethan

    Member
    15 October 2022 at 8:04 am

    The issue seems to be with how page views are being tracked on your subdomains. Remember, GA4 is not just a UI upgrade over UA, it’s a complete rethinking of what Google Analytics should be, and focuses on “events” instead of “sessions” which was the traditional metric followed in UA. This change in data models is likely causing this significant difference in numbers reported by GA4 and UA.

    It may also be possible that page view tracking is not implemented correctly on your subdomain. Make sure you have set up your GA4 property for cross-domain tracking if you want to track users and events accurately across main domain and subdomains.

    Another key difference between UA and GA4 is how they handle bounce rate. In UA, a single page visit with no other interaction would count as a “bounce” and wouldn’t increase the page views count, whereas GA4’s ‘engaged sessions’ metric is more forgiving. This could feasibly impact page view counts, especially if you have a lot of single-page visits.

    If you’ve checked all of this and the issue persists, you could try reaching out to the Google support or community as it might be an issue that requires deeper technical analysis. Make sure you have patience while Google addresses this issue or while the community comes up with a more useful solution.

  • Amelia

    Member
    22 November 2022 at 11:18 pm

    The difference you see in numbers between Universal Analytics (UA) and Google Analytics 4 (GA4) for your subdomain pages appears to be excessively large, and therefore, it is understandably concerning.

    To understand this difference, it’s important to note that UA and GA4 have different ways of tracking and counting sessions, users, and interactions. However, these differences typically cause a variance of around 10% – a far cry from the 90% difference you are noticing on your subdomain pages.

    You’ve already verified that both UA and GA4 tags are firing correctly on your pages with Google Tag Manager (GTM). This indicates that GTM is working as intended, and suggests that the problem lies in the recording (or non-recording) of interactions on GA4 rather than with the GTM setup.

    There could be a few technical reasons behind the significant difference in numbers, including issues like the improper configuration of GA4 for subdomains, the effect of same-site cookies, or even a difference in the handling of bot traffic.

    In simpler terms, despite GTM correctly firing tags, it might be that these interactions are not being correctly recorded or categorized in GA4 when it comes to subdomain pages. It could be a good idea to closely examine your GA4 configurations and ensure they are in line with best practices, especially for subdomain tracking. Also, ensure that you’re comparing equivalent metrics in GA4 and UA, as GA4 might now use different definitions for previously familiar terms. Additionally, seek help from technical forums or GA experts to dig into more specific issues.

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