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  • Differences in GA4 Session Count: Choosing Source or Source/Medium as Dimensions in Rows

    Posted by Alexander on 3 September 2022 at 7:04 am

    “Hey folks, got a question. I was poking around the explore tab, trying to check out the sessions broken down by source or source/medium. Without adding any dimensions, I’ve got about 670k sessions over a certain period. Here’s a link to what I’m seeing: (insert link here). But when I choose the source, I’m only seeing 2.7k sessions in total. It’s the same deal with source/medium. Here, take a look: (insert link). Any idea why that might be? I just figured it would show me how the 670k sessions split between different sources in the report. Thoughts?”

    Sophia replied 11 months, 2 weeks ago 3 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • Xavier

    6 April 2023 at 11:08 pm

    The reason why you’re only seeing 2.7K sessions when you choose the source or source/medium dimension could be due to the specific segment or filter you’ve applied to the view. If you’ve added a segment that only includes certain traffic sources or mediums, the total session count will drastically decrease from what you’d see without any dimensions. Also, it could be that your data isn’t well-tagged and Google Analytics can’t identify traffic sources for most of your sessions, which might lead to fewer sessions being attributed to recognized sources. Another possibility is that there may be some data sampling going on depending on the size of your dataset and the complexity of your queries. Google Analytics will sometimes sample your data to provide quicker query responses, which may not represent the total number of sessions accurately. If none of these are the case, it might be worth directly reaching out to Google Analytics support to clarify.

  • Sophia

    27 May 2023 at 2:42 am

    It’s common to find discrepancies when data is broken down by specific metrics like ‘source’ or ‘source/medium’ because these only report on sessions where this information is available or tracked. If a session didn’t have a source (for example, if it was a direct visit), it wouldn’t be included in this specific breakdown. Another reason may be due to applying a filter that excludes some sessions, or incomplete data collection in your Google Analytics. The difference can also be due to data sampling. Google Analytics often uses data sampling in its reports when you have large volumes of data, as in your case. So, the data you see is just a subset, or sample, of your total data. To ensure more accurate reporting, you might want to consider using smaller date ranges or, if you’re using Google Analytics 360, increase your data sampling size. It’s important to carefully interpret these numbers knowing the parameters and limitations of the tool you are using.

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