What is the difference between GA4 and Google Analytics sessions? [UA→GA4]

What is the difference between GA4 and Google Analytics sessions? [UA→GA4]
Photo by Justin Morgan / Unsplash

πŸ’Ž A session in GA3 is a collection of hits logged for a user over a specific period of time. A session in GA4 is a collection of events that are logged for a user during a specific period of time.

πŸ’Ž The time between the first and last hits in a GA3 session are used to determine the session's length. While the time between the first and last events in a GA4 session is used to determine how long the session lasted.

πŸ’Ž In contrast to GA3, user activity in GA4 is automatically identified. This could increase GA4's active user numbers.

πŸ’Ž A GA4 session starts to expire whenever a website or app is put in the background.

πŸ’Ž The timeout for a GA3 session cannot be less than one minute or more than four hours. In contrast, the timeout for a GA4 session cannot be less than 5 minutes or more than 7 hours, 55 minutes.

πŸ’Ž If a person visits your website again from a different campaign source while a GA3 session is still ongoing, the session ends. However, if a person visits your website again from a different campaign source while their session is still open, GA4 does not end.

πŸ’Ž GA3 uses the sessions statistic to tally sessions. GA4 counts sessions by recording the number of session start events.

πŸ’Ž At midnight, a GA3 session automatically ends (11:59:59 pm). A GA4 session does not, however, end at midnight on its own (11:59:59 pm). The identical GA4 session, however, would now count twice - once for each day.

πŸ’Ž Sessions are calculated and adjusted in various ways, the session count of GA3 and GA4 is unlikely to match.

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