Why GA4 and BigQuery Numbers Don’t Match

Why are the numbers reported in the GA4 interface and those calculated in BigQuery different? If you have this or a similar question then this post is for you.

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and BigQuery might not always show the same numbers due to various reasons:

  1. Data Processing Differences: Google Analytics 4 processes data differently than BigQuery. GA4 uses sampling, aggregation, and filtering techniques to process data for reporting, while BigQuery provides raw data. This can lead to slight variations in numbers between the two platforms.

  2. Data Sampling: In Google Analytics 4, when dealing with large datasets, Google may sample the data to provide faster reporting. This sampling can lead to differences in numbers compared to BigQuery, which provides access to unsampled raw data.

  3. Data Collection Latency: There might be a delay between data collection and its availability in Google Analytics 4 compared to BigQuery. This can result in discrepancies when comparing real-time or recent data.

  4. Time Zone Setup Differences: This should not be an issue but it could be if you changed your timezone settings in GA4 after the data started flowing in BigQuery.

  5. GA4 Uses Estimations: GA4 uses estimated numbers for sessions, users, etc., while BigQuery does not.

  6. SQL Query Logic: Understanding which fields and combinations of event parameters and fields to use requires a deeper understanding of GA4 data in BigQuery and SQL. Small logic mistakes are likely and will cause the differences in the numbers.

I hope this clarifies why the numbers between GA4 and BigQuery won’t match.

If you want better accuracy then use BigQuery. However, GA4 has a better interface and you don’t need to know how to write SQL.

Where to get more help with Google Analytics 4 and BigQuery?

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