Google Analytics vs GA 4: Pages Reporting Is Flawed

Comparing Google Analytics 4 page reports to the old Universal Analytics version exposes another ‘little’ difference between the measurement systems: your page titles can be shown in different languages, spread across twice as many rows (your data will vary).

The Pages and Screens report in Google Analytics 4 defaults to Page Title as the primary dimension, and you may notice that some of the numbers are smaller than with Universal Analytics, especially if your site has global appeal. You may also notice that you can have a lot more pages in the report. This is all because the same page title can be displayed in multiple languages! Seems that GA4 records the page title in the language of the visitor.

That is an interesting observation, but then you realize that all of the numbers you see are specific to the language of the page title, and that those first few rows of metrics are really only for your most-viewed language. So what is the total for all languages on a specific page? You can’t tell looking at the Page Title-grouped report, so switch to the Page Path dimension instead…

Well, that is EVEN WORSE — now the metrics are spread over three times as many rows with a lot of query strings included!  That effectively make the provided Pages and Screens report of limited value for global sites.

Alternative Reporting Options

Well, it turns out that you can use the Analysis Hub and select the ‘Page path’ dimension in a custom report that will give you one line of measures per page, but one must wonder why the default reports don’t use it. Hopefully that will change as the product continues to evolve.

The ‘Page path’ dimension is also available from the API (Beta release), so reporting solutions like Analytics Edge can get you what you need in an automated Excel report. You can download a 30 day free trial here.