Understanding Data Freshness in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and how this affects your GA4 reporting in Affluent
One critical aspect to consider when working with GA4 data is its freshness. In this article, we'll explore the concept of data freshness in GA4 and how it impacts the data available in Affluent, the platform through which we provide data insights to our clients.
Data Processing Delay
Google Analytics 4 incorporates a data processing delay, which represents the time required for Google to gather and process data from your property, including website visits, user interactions, and events. This processing delay typically ranges from 24 to 48 hours.
During this period, the data is accessible in GA4, but it's important to note that it may undergo updates and refinements. Consequently, while user interactions are recorded and available in GA4, the data's accuracy may change or be corrected during this processing delay.
Effect on Affluent Data
To ensure that the data in Affluent aligns with what's visible in the GA4 interface, we impose certain limitations on the speed at which we collect and present data.
Google's Data API lacks a method to indicate if all hits for a report have finished processing. Consequently, the same report may yield different results when queried on a later date due to ongoing processing.
As a result, data from the past 48 hours may not be accessible in Affluent. This restriction is a direct outcome of GA4's inherent processing delay. Therefore, attempting real-time access to this data via Affluent may result in inconsistencies.
For a more detailed understanding of data freshness in GA4 and how it works, we recommend referring to Google's official support article on the topic: Google Analytics Data Freshness.