GA4 page views are inflated compared to Discourse page views

Hi Sam, Okay so let’s forget about Adsense.

What you are describing for Google Analytics on Discourse is what I understood to be the case. But the data since I moved suggests Discourse was generating way too many PageViews in GA4.

This is traffic from this time last year, running Universal Analytics on discourse:

Using Universal Analytics on Discourse I was getting between 13,000 - 25,000 page views per day

Once I added GA4 to my Discourse, my PageViews went through the roof as you can see here:

Using GA4 on Discourse I was getting from 46,000 - to 72,000 Page Views per day

Now having switched from Discourse to another forum system I am getting a very similar Page View total as I was when running UA on Discourse this time last year:

You can see where I switched on Nov 7th

Using GA4 on another Forum, The total Page views are back to the same (much lower) range of13,000 - 25,000 page views per day that i was getting using UA with Discourse

It’s also curious that the User Engagement metric/event that GA4 measures has gone up as the PV totals came down.

Seems to me like i was getting a massively inflated total on Discourse with GA4 but not with UA previously.

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I moved this cause it is not adsense related.

Just to confirm… Discourse pageviews are way lower than the pageviews you are getting on GA4?


Yes, Discourse Pageviews were considerably lower than I was getting on GA4 - I can no longer see the data but looking back at an old post on here I had said

So on my July 15th data above:

  • Google Analytics GA4: had 152K PageViews
  • Discourse Logged: 93K Page Views

I’d say if you removed the crawlers from the Discourse PVs it’d have been about 60K page views.

(Note: July is the peak period for my site - so it’s a lot busier than November)

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Here’s a more detailed post from before

I know we had an explanation for this before that seemed to make sense but looking at the Data from Google’s Universal Analytics before changing to Google’s GA4 and now the GA4 data on the new setup, it definitely feels like there’s something askew with the GA4 data when on Discourse.

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I had tested page scrolling back then and found if I scrolled down through a long old thread on my site for several dynamic loads that it would register a PageView on each infinite scroll page load, which I consider to be correct.

I’m slightly intrigued that on Discourse the GA4 events are pretty much all PageViews, whereas on the new setup, the PVs are down but User Engagement “event” is up significantly to just slightly less than Page Views.

Is it possible that GA4 is tracking all user engagement on Discourse as PageViews somehow?

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Looking at the implementation:

We only ever trigger this when a page changes, we do not trigger it on infinite load of topics.

In fact I even tried this code on local and confirm that infinite loading of pages is not triggering multiple page views.

   appEvents.on("page:changed", (data) => {
      if (!data.replacedOnlyQueryParams) {

The GA4 and GA3 implementations in Discourse are very closely aligned.

Can you still reproduce this issue?

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They seemed to act completely differently for me, am I the only one who saw a big jump in Page Views on the switch over to GA4? I can’t be, can I? all I did was change the tracking code.

I tested the infinite scroll by going to an old thread on my site and scrolling down for several infinite page loads, and then I could see that page in the “Realtime Overview” section of the GA4 dashboard and looking at the box called “Views by Page title” There were 14 views for that Page, which I assumed could only have been triggered by my scrolling down, I certainly didnt go in there 14 times, I was deliberately trying to test whether infinite scroll was generating a pageview.

I wonder is it only people who are trying to generate revenue with advertising who pay so much attention to page views? I was talking to someone else on here before about advertising and he said he used sessions instead of PageViews as Discourse generated too many PageViews per page load, I’ll see if I can find the DM and tag him here to see if he can add anything to this conversation.

I can’t recreate the issue anymore as I have moved from discourse, I’m only still contributing to this discussion as I am i big fan of discourse.

Hey it was @falcon9 i had spoken to before who said that Discourse generates way more Pageviews then his other forum - just tagging him here so he can hopefully add something and so it’s not only me reporting too many Pageviews.

Were any of these part of your experiment with the HISTORY (ALL) trigger?

I did try that at one point for a few days but the huge GA4 page views had started well (months) before that and carried on well after I had reverted to the standard implementation.

I was mostly trying to add AdSense using GTM and the HISTORY ALL, as I was trying to figure out the discrepancy between GA4 PV data and AdSense PV data - which we now know to be an issue.

I also added Fathom analytics using GTM and the history option and it gave me data similar to what i was getting with GA4, unfortunatly i can’t get that data anymore as the PageViews went so high that they wanted 70 quid a month.


Something else i have noticed is that Pageviews are down a colossal 67% this week (first week on new site) compared to the previous week (the season ended as well)

But user engagement is up 563% - which is baffling to me

Sessions Start down only 3%

Users and new users up 16 and 24% respectively

This suggests the traffic is basically the same if not slightly more people on the site, they’re engaging more, or at least the engagement is being tracked now, but somehow generating a fraction of the PageViews from the Discourse forum.

Is it possible that some of the engagement metrics were somehow getting logged as pageview previously? Something crazy going on anyway.

So trundling along now with the setup since nov 7

Do any of you run an alternative stat package alongside GA4 and does it get anything like the same traffic as GA4 records?

Currently running Matomo alongside GA4 on the new site and getting roughly the same number of page vew records