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  • The Disparity in User Numbers: GA4 vs. UA

    Posted by Robert on 20 January 2023 at 3:21 pm

    So, I tried switching from UA to GA4 using JavaScript, right? But here’s the weird part. The user count in GA4 is like 60 times more than what I had in UA. I mean, GA4 clocked at about 6xxx, while UA was just around 1xx. Now, page_view and first_visit events in GA4 are also shooting through the roof, like 60 times more than UA. The only thing that’s normal is the usual click events like downloads, dropdowns, and such. Got any ideas why this is happening?

    I even checked my site to see if there’s a duplicate GA4 code, but nah, none of that. Also double checked the page_view, first_visit events in debugView – no double counting either. The thing that’s bugging me is, it’d be sorta okay if GA4 had more users, but only if it was below a threshold of 30%, you know? So what’s up with that?

    Henry replied 11 months, 2 weeks ago 3 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • Amelia

    15 April 2023 at 8:53 am

    Sure, I can simplify that answer.

    Basically, it’s not uncommon to experience discrepancies when transitioning from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). There can be a lot of reasons for those differences, such as small changes in how the two systems define things like users and events.

    That being said, the difference in user count you’re seeing does seem a bit extreme. To get to the root of it, you should first make sure that aren’t any issues with how you’ve set up GA4. There are some links to basic debugging guides for GA4 in your answer.

    Once you’ve checked for any setup issues, the next step is to compare the events that get recorded when you access your site to what’s being shown in Analytics. You can do this by taking screenshots of your Analytics reports (make sure to include the date ranges), and of the events that are fired when you perform a typical pageview on your site.

    Once you’ve gathered this information, you should have a better idea of what’s causing the discrepancy.

  • Henry

    21 April 2023 at 5:07 am

    This discrepancy might arise from the differences in how UA and GA4 handle and interpret data. UA is session-based while GA4 is event-based. GA4 does not automatically remove bots and spiders from the data, while UA does. This could potentially inflate your user count significantly in GA4.

    Furthermore, GA4 handles new users differently than UA. In UA, a new user is defined as the first session by a user during a selected date range. In GA4, every event that doesn’t explicitly specify a user ID or a device ID is counted as a new user, which naturally inflates the new user count significantly.

    Lastly, consider that GA4 might count users across devices and platforms by default if they are logged into their Google account, rather than treating each device as a separate user like in UA. This could also inflate the user count in GA4 if your users tend to switch devices or browsers.

    For these reasons, comparing UA to GA4 in terms of user count isn’t like comparing apples to apples. These platforms have fundamentally different methodologies for tracking users and events, making direct comparisons difficult. You might want to take these differences into account when interpreting data from GA4.

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