30 January 2023

Chris Lewis

Why You Should Be Using the BigQuery Export for GA4

BigQuery has the power to take your reporting to the next level. Here’s why!

As GA4’s rollout continues, marketers are scrambling to understand its new features and capabilities. One feature that is often overlooked is the integration with BigQuery.

Despite its potential, adoption of the feature has been slow; likely due to a lack of technical know-how or concerns about cost. Even those who have set up the connection are often not utilising it to its full potential.

The BigQuery integration can be a game-changer for businesses, providing several benefits that are not available in the GA4 reporting interface. Here are a few reasons why you should be using BigQuery today:


Soup Up Your Looker Studio Reporting

Have you noticed that your Looker Studio GA4 reports have started to break? Google recently introduced analytics data API quotas, which have impacted even the most basic reports. If your report is still intact, you may have to deal with poor performance and lots of buffering.

BigQuery’s connector for Looker Studio allows you to create GA4 data visualisations that won’t break and won’t buffer. What’s more, the connector actually queries the underlying dataset using SQL, so you don’t need to know any code to get started.


Eliminate Sampled Data and Cardinality

As has always been the case with Google Analytics, filtering large datasets leads to data sampling. With BigQuery, you have access to the raw data, so your reports will always be unsampled. This means you can draw more accurate conclusions.

Cardinality is also an issue in GA4. If a dimension can take many unique values, GA will often group several of these into a new value called “other”. This means the tables you view in GA4 are not always giving you the full picture. Using BigQuery eliminates this problem completely.


Aggregate Data From Multiple Sources

As a data warehouse, you can use BigQuery to aggregate data from many disparate sources. You can combine your GA4 data with data from your CRM, and start seeing how marketing activity really affects key business metrics, such as customer retention and profitability.

We are leveraging this feature for a number of our clients, to conduct some advanced lifetime value analysis. This simply wouldn’t have been possible without GA4’s integration with BigQuery.


Get rid of your costly marketing data hub

The integration of GA4 with BigQuery is a cost-effective solution for marketers. As compared to other data storage hubs that may require hundreds or even thousands of pounds per month, BigQuery offers an almost free alternative. While other platforms may still have their use cases, if your primary focus is analyzing Google Analytics data, switching to BigQuery can significantly reduce your costs.


Retain Your Data Forever

GA4 only retains some data for a maximum of 14 months (or two months if you haven’t changed your data retention settings). In BigQuery, your data is stored indefinitely, which is vital for longer-term reporting and data analysis.


What’s Next?

Setting up and using GA4’s BigQuery export is a fantastic way to get more from your marketing data, but it isn’t the most straightforward process. If you need any assistance setting up a BigQuery export from GA4, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

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