I am quite new to GA4 and have a question regarding the difference between the closed & open funnels, as the data in GA4 seems to be not quite consistent to me. First two steps in my funnel are Session_Start and View_item. In the open funnel I have a lot of users, who apparently stepped in the second step. This seems to be very uplausible, as they actually all have to start the session on the website before. Any ideas why this can happen?

Also when I create 2 funnels: 1.open funnel with Session_start and View_item steps 2.funnel with only View_item step,

the number of users who viewed the item is slighltly diffent. Shouldn't it be the same?

Moreover, the number of users at the first step differs when new steps are added or taken out. Shouldn't it be also always the same?

2 Answers 2


Well, a session doesn't have to start if the view_item event is non-interactional. Still, there must be a page_view. Unless you're either not tracking some pages with view_items or a user can invoke the view_item after their session expired due to 30 mins of inactivity.

So if the number of those users who stepped into the second step is plausible as those who have their session expired, then it can be explained. I presume it's not the case though.

To debug these things properly, I would definitely suggest exploring the raw data in BQ. It has timestamps, session and user ids there, so it's easy to see what actually happened.

As for other inconsistencies... Well, in general, GA4's interface is quite poor. It's still far from being a production-ready product for any real analysis. The data structure, however, is pretty ok since it just reuses Firebase's data format. The general consensus is to either switch to a different tracking/reporting technology, or export GA4's data and use a different tool for dashboarding.


Regarding the open funnel, it's possible that some users may have started a session before, but for some reason, their session was not tracked by GA4. Maybe they didn't load the GA4 tracking script on their first visit, or there was some other issue. As a result, it would appear that they started the funnel at the second step, but in reality, they had started the session earlier. However, it's always best to try and diagnose the issue by reviewing the specific data and settings of your funnel.

Regarding the discrepancy in the number of users who viewed the item, it's possible that there could be some overlap between the two funnels. For example, a user who started a session and viewed the item could be counted in both funnels. The number of users at the first step can also differ if you add or remove steps, as this can affect how the funnel is calculated.

Overall, it's important to review the specific data and settings of your funnels to better understand the discrepancies you're seeing.

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