GA4 now with BigQuery Connection

2022-12-13 | Article | Insights

Analyze, Modify, and Enrich your GA4 Data with BigQuery

Google Analytics 4 offers a feature previously only available in the paid edition of GA360: export to BigQuery. With the GA4 BigQuery Export you can load all your raw data on event-level to BigQuery, a powerful analytics database in Google Cloud. This enables you to analyze, modify and enrich your GA4 data. Advanced use cases such as cross-channel reporting, integration of offline data or machine learning built on top of the raw data in BigQuery extends your GA4 data capabilities. GA4 BigQuery Export is free of charge and available in the default GA4 edition.

Why should you export GA4 data to BigQuery?

Storing your GA4 data in BigQuery is the foundation of advanced analytical usage of your data. BigQuery is designed to handle large volumes of data. One of its core features is to enable data analysts to run queries on large datasets. Apart from data analysis, BigQuery offers a seamless integration into other Google Cloud services. This allows you to use your data e.g. for Machine Learning in Vertex AI. Apart from GA4, various other data sources can be stored and analyzed in BigQuery. In BigQuery this data can be combined and rearranged for advanced cross-channel reporting.

Use Cases for GA4 data in BigQuery

Create reports in third-party business intelligence tools
The most common use case is to visualize GA4 data in a third-party reporting platform. Some third-party platforms, such as Datorama offer direct connections to Google Analytics. But almost all third-party platforms offer a direct connection to BigQuery. Another advantage of storing data in BigQuery before loading it into the third-party reporting platform is the ability to store historical data for an unlimited timespan.

Combine data from other channels for advanced insights
Historical data and visualization in a third-party platform is a great first step for better reporting. With BigQuery as a powerful analytics database in the background, you can advance one step further with cross-channel reporting. Think of a retailer with multiple stores for example: With the GA4 BigQuery export, the retailer can combine GA4 data with the orders from their stores. Marketeers can then analyze how behavior on the website and offline purchase behavior correlate.

Predict conversion probability with machine learning
Exporting data from your GA4 properties to BigQuery is the first step for statistical analysis and machine learning. With a Conversion Probability Prediction based on GA4 data you can predict which customers are most likely to convert and should be targeted specifically. Alternatively you can exclude customers which are very likely to convert from additional campaigns since they will convert without additional advertising. For this advanced use case BigQuery provides the required technical infrastructure.

How is data stored in BigQuery?

GA4 Export to BigQuery offers the most sophisticated view on GA4 data available. Every event (page view, session start, first visit) ist stored as a new row. Within each row, for every event there are all parameters available (user properties, privacy settings, device and geo information, purchase and custom attributes). For a complete list of events stored, please see the resource linked at the end of the article. If you create custom events in Google Analytics, they are stored automatically in BigQuery.

Pricing and settings

BigQuery Export for GA4 can be run in near real-time or as a daily schedule. The near real-time setup allows you to set up reportings or activation use cases with the most recent data. Pricing is based on what you store and process in BigQuery. The export feature itself in GA4 is free to use. The streaming export pricing is currently at approximately 0,05 Euro per 600.000 Google Analytics 4 events depending on the size of the events. The daily schedule uses slightly less processing power and is therefore slightly less expensive.

Getting started

To set up BigQuery Export for GA4, first you need a Google Cloud project with BigQuery API enabled and a BigQuery dataset. After setting this up, you can create the linking in Google Analytics in the Property column under Product Links. Here you can select BigQuery Links and choose the Google Cloud project you created.

BigQuery Export for GA4 is one of the most useful features for advanced analytics. It enables more detailed reporting, holistic overview across different channels and is the foundation of advanced machine learning and data science use cases. The setup is free and requires simply a Google Cloud project. Please reach out to Digitl, if you have any questions and need additional information.

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