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  • Understanding Discrepancies in Event Counts between Google Analytics 4 and UA

    Posted by Emily on 9 June 2022 at 11:11 am

    Hey, I’ve noticed something weird. My event counts for GA4 and UA aren’t the same. It’s not a huge gap or anything, like 10% difference max. But if all my tags and triggers in GTM are identical, shouldn’t these counts be too? Any idea what’s up with the 10% discrepancy, or is this just a normal thing?

    George replied 10 months, 3 weeks ago 3 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • David

    Member
    9 November 2022 at 4:06 am

    You’re right! It does seem a bit odd. But actually, there might be some reasons why there’s a slight discrepancy. For one, GA4’s pre-made reports aren’t always super reliable. So we often suggest using the Explorer or exporting the data for analysis somewhere else if that’s a possibility for you.

    Secondly, you’ll want to double-check you don’t have Google Signals enabled because this alters the thresholding and sampling logic. Also, switching to device-only reporting can help with thresholding issues. Just a side note, once Google Signals is enabled, it seems the thresholding logic can’t be fixed even if you disable them afterwards.

    Another thing to consider is Event Properties Cardinality. Despite Google’s claims, GA4 still has a fair share of bugs and less-than-ideal features. The cardinality of your event property values is one example. If it’s too high, sampling starts becoming a bigger issue and a larger percentage of your events comes up as ‘Other(Other)’, and this happens even if you’re not using the high cardinality dimension in your report.

    There are also data retention limitations. Unfortunately, GA4 doesn’t provide free access to old data anymore, so if you’re trying to count old events, that may be a problem. UA does let you see old events, but GA4 does not.

    These suggestions are quite broad. For a better understanding, you might need to do further problem-solving on your end to find out exactly which datapoints and at what times aren’t getting counted. Exporting data to BigQuery might aid in narrowing things down. Right now, many analysts tend to avoid directly comparing GA4’s data to that of UA – even though knowing the difference can still be useful. But it’s kind of become the norm in the industry today.

  • George

    Member
    12 April 2023 at 11:28 am

    Discrepancies between GA4 and UA event counts, even with identical tags and triggers, can happen and are often due to the way these platforms process and count events. For instance, one finding suggests that GA4 might only show transactions that have a value for the field user_pseudo_id, which only appears in the BigQuery data export. Transactions where this field is null might not show up in the GA4 UI, leading to lower count compared to UA. This could potentially explain the discrepancy you’re seeing. Using BigQuery to look at raw event data is recommended for more accurate event counting.

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