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Google Analytics - Session Clustering by City

[ Edited ]
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# 1
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When reviewing a new client's reporting, I've found that their Sessions by City seem to cluster into groups. Does anyone know if this is just Google Analytics rounding the numbers or if this might be something to investigate further? The clustering seems odd, but the engagement data (duration, bounce, etc.) are different, so I dont want to jump to conclusions.

 

Another thing that seems odd is that many cities will look at exactly 3, 5, 8, 10, or 13 pages (in both Q4 2016 and Q1 2017). For example, ~29% of cities had 3 sessions (29.6% for Q4 & 29.0% for Q1), ~14% had 5 sessions (13.8% for Q4 & 14.0% for Q1), ~9% of cities had 8 sessions (8.8% for Q4 & 8.7% for Q1)

 

Has anyone seen this before? Is there a threshold at which GA begins rounding and clustering?

 

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REPORT INFORMATION

Report: Audience>Geo
Primary Dimension: City

Secondary Dimension: Region

Time Frame: Q4 2016 and Q1 2017
Report is based on 100% of sessions and Greater Precision is chosen

 

LocationQ4 Sessions
Newport Beach, California284
Columbus, Georgia284
Elk Grove, California284
Syracuse, New York284
Sao Paulo, State of Sao Paulo281
Shreveport, Louisiana281
Langley, British Columbia281
Santiago, Santiago Metropolitan Region279
Stockton, California279
Orange, California279
Grand Junction, Colorado279
Chula Vista, California279
Dublin, Ohio276
Lake Oswego, Oregon276
Corona, California276
Parker, Colorado276
Santa Monica, California276
Palm Springs, California274
State College, Pennsylvania274
Johnson City, Tennessee274
Cambridge, Massachusetts271
Fredericksburg, Virginia271
Chico, California271
Mission Viejo, California271
Williamsburg, Virginia269
Ken Caryl, Colorado269
Petaluma, California266
Ocala, Florida266
Highlands Ranch, Colorado266
Peoria, Arizona263
Chapel Hill, North Carolina263
Akron, Ohio263
Reston, Virginia263
Pleasanton, California261
Bradenton, Florida261
Edmond, Oklahoma258
Lakeland, Florida258
Elkhart, Indiana258
Fayetteville, Arkansas258
Fayetteville, North Carolina258
Oceanside, California258
Oro Valley, Arizona256
Livermore, California256
Palm Coast, Florida256
Concord, California256
Burlington, Ontario256
Miami Beach, Florida256
Flower Mound, Texas253
Richmond, British Columbia253
Thornton, Colorado253
Flagstaff, Arizona253
Longueuil, Quebec253
Athens, Georgia253
Markham, Ontario250
Dunwoody, Georgia250
Billings, Montana250
Mobile, Alabama250
Amsterdam, North Holland250
Kingston, Ontario248
Fishers, Indiana248
Oxnard, California248
Palm Desert, California248
Longmont, Colorado248
Saratoga Springs, New York245
Wapakoneta, Ohio245
(not set), Texas245
Bethesda, Maryland245
Winter Park, Florida243
Tel Aviv-Yafo, Tel Aviv District243
Hartford, Connecticut243
Hattiesburg, Mississippi243
Dahlonega, Georgia240
Lancaster, Pennsylvania240
Folsom, California240
Springfield, Illinois240
St. Augustine, Florida240
Modesto, California240
Redding, California240
1 Expert replyverified_user
1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions
Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by topic author Andy S
June

Google Analytics - Session Clustering by City

Rising Star
# 2
Rising Star

Are you 100% sure this data is not sampled? Repeating numbers like this are usually the result of sampling. Is this a 360 account?

John Wedderburn, Advertiser Community, Rising Star
Was my response helpful? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’ Learn how here.

View solution in original post

Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by topic author Andy S
June

Google Analytics - Session Clustering by City

Rising Star
# 2
Rising Star

Are you 100% sure this data is not sampled? Repeating numbers like this are usually the result of sampling. Is this a 360 account?

John Wedderburn, Advertiser Community, Rising Star
Was my response helpful? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’ Learn how here.

Google Analytics - Session Clustering by City

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
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@John W

 

Yes, after further investigation, I think it is sampling. 

I should have read more about the GA data sampling thresholds prior to posting the question. I think I was thrown off by the fact that the report said it was based on 100% of sessions. 

Google Analytics - Session Clustering by City

Rising Star
# 4
Rising Star

ok. I suggest you use the API to extract data to google sheets in smaller periods of days and then stitch these back up to get an unsampled figure. You can read more about this, and other methods to get around sampling, here:

http://www.lunametrics.com/blog/2013/06/24/solutions-google-analytics-sampling-problems-8-ways-data/

John Wedderburn, Advertiser Community, Rising Star
Was my response helpful? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’ Learn how here.