Articles on: General questions

What is sampling in Google Analytics?

What is data sampling in Google Analytics?



In data analysis, sampling is the practice of analyzing a subset of all data in order to uncover the meaningful information in the larger data set.

If you are analyzing a large data set, it can be difficult or expensive to uncover meaningful information from the entire dataset. Therefore, to make the process faster, easier, and more effective, Google Analytics will take a subset of your data for analysis through Data Sampling.

In Dataslayer, your Google Analytics data is presented without sampling, ensuring accuracy. However, in the Google Analytics console, your data might undergo sampling, potentially leading to discrepancies.

How can I check if my data is being sampled in GA console?



You can tell whether your data is sampled or not by observing the color of the shield icon at the top of your report. When the shield icon is green, the data you are looking at is unsampled. If you see a yellow shield, then your data is sampled.

Identifying unsampled data in Google Analytics

Identifying sampled data in Google Analytics

You can also change the nature of your sampling to increase or reduce the sample size by selecting ‘Greater precision’ for a bigger sample size or ‘Faster response’ for a smaller sample size in the dropdown menu.



If you are using the free version of Google Analytics, there will be limited access to unsampled data when you exceed the threshold limit of 500,000 sessions. Google Analytics will sample data when the dataset involved is very large and may take too long to process. In this case, it will only pick a portion of the data to process.

How can avoid data sampling in Google Analytics with Dataslayer?



Dataslayer is the easiest way to avoid data sampling. In our Google Analytics connector, select the option "Avoid GA Sampling (slower but more accurate data)". This will imply a longer processing time for your query.



And on the GA console?



Although not always possible, there are a few ways to avoid data sampling in the Google Analytics Console, or at least reduce it. In this article from our blog you can find out more about it.

What is data sampling in Google Analytics 4?



In Google Analytics 4, the data sampling process is essentially similar to that of traditional Google Analytics. Both versions utilize sampling to efficiently process large volumes of data and provide insightful reports and analysis quickly and effectively.

How can I check if my data is being sampled in the GA4 console?



To determine whether your data has been sampled or not, you should navigate to the "Reports snapshot" section within the GA4 console.



Next, take note of the color of the shield icon located at the top of the report. When the shield icon is green, the displayed data is not sampled. If a yellow shield appears, the data is sampled.

Below is an example of a chart where the data is not being sampled:



How can data sampling be avoided in Google Analytics 4 using Dataslayer?



Dataslayer cannot prevent data sampling in Google Analytics 4 because the official GA4 API has not yet added that functionality.

Do you have any questions? Don't hesitate to write us through our website chat or through our email.



See the full GA sampling article here.

Updated on: 17/04/2024

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