Mismatch in numbers between Google Analytics and Plausible

I recently added Plausible to my website and found that the numbers reported by Google Analytics(GA) is quite different from those reported by Plausible.
Given that a large portion of users will have some kind of adblock extension installed, I expected Plausible to report higher numbers than GA, but found them to be significantly lower.

Here’s a snapshot of what both are reporting at the moment of writing this post:


Is this expected or am I comparing apples to oranges? :confused:

Hmm from the screenshot it seems accurate. Plausible shows 7.3k unique visitors, GA shows 5.1k users. This is similar to the differences we see on some other sites like you say caused by the fact that GA is blocked by many browsers.

Current visitors and active users might be different because of the different definitions of that term. For us current visitor is anyone visiting in the last 5 minutes. I believe GA is last 30 mins but not sure now!? Is this what you mean or? If you don’t want to share more details in a public forum, feel free to reach out via https://plausible.io/contact

I believe Google calculates Active users the same way? Emphasis is mine.

Overview report

The Realtime Overview shows the top-ten pages on which users are active, the source for the users on each page, and the number of active users on each page. Active users are those who have sent a hit to Analytics within the last five minutes. Active users per page is the number of users who have sent their most recent hit from that page.

Here’s an update as things are right now. There’s an increased deviation in both, bounce rate and session duration and roughly the same deviation in active users.

Active users on GA looks weird if it’s 5 minutes especially considering that they’re also showing less visitors in total. But in general it’s normal to see some differences in stats due to adblockers and different definitions/metrics. Did you have any specific questions?

Thank you for your answers. After digging deeper, I’m convinced that the GA data may be suffering from selection bias—our most ardent users would be disabling adblock for additional capabilities and are also probably the users who use it for long durations. This doesn’t quite explain the Active Users, but at least explains the higher session duration and perhaps even bounce rate.

One last question: How does plausible treat a client that navigated to a page over 10 minutes ago but is sending out a custom event once every 2 minutes? Would that client count as a current visitor and would their visit duration reflect this ‘activity’?

You need to have a page view in the last 5 minutes to be counted in “current visitors”. Perhaps that’s where the difference from active visitors in GA comes from. They might be counting events too in current visitors while we don’t.

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