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  • The inconsistency in summing session numbers on GA4: What's the reason behind it?

    Posted by Li on 8 May 2022 at 3:33 am

    Hey there, you know what’s been bugging me? I was hanging out on GA4, checking out my session numbers like you do, right? So, I noticed something kinda funky. The big total number on the top and the sum of all the individual rows – they ain’t the same, dude! I’ve got a pic to explain better – it’s right here. Those numbers are saying it’s all 35,626 sessions together, but when I added it up myself I got 35,959. What gives, huh? What’s up with that?

    Caleb replied 11 months, 2 weeks ago 3 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • Alexander

    24 December 2022 at 2:58 pm

    Hey! So here’s the thing – Google launched GA4 with the idea of saving on servers used for supporting Analytics. In its earlier avatar – Google Analytics Universal Analytics – it was just too feature-packed as a free product.

    With GA4, things have changed a bit. We’re talking harsher data retention rules, limitations on dimensions cardinality, stricter sampling, you get the drift. It’s a different ballgame.

    Coming to your question, remember that one session can have only one associated channel. What’s likely happening is, GA4 isn’t just adding up the session numbers. That would be too costly processor-wise. Instead, it uses complex algorithms that make the process speedier but less precise. It’s similar to this technique called ‘hyperloglog’ used in data aggregation.

    Oh, did I mention? The GA4 interface can be buggy at times.

    But hey, there’s a workaround! To make those numbers add up, you can carry out your analytics in a BigQuery export from GA4. Or even better, use a Business Intelligence tool of your choice on the exported data. Hope this helps!

  • Caleb

    28 December 2022 at 5:53 am

    Yeah, GA4 can be a bit funky at times, mate. The total you see at the top, it’s de-duplicated, meaning it won’t count the same user visiting twice on separate days as two sessions. But when you add the individual days, it’s counting every visit, even if it’s from the same user. Hope that clears up a bit!

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