How to set up BigQuery linking in your Google Analytics 4 property

One of the most promising features in the new version of Google Analytics (GA4) is definitely BigQuery linking. All GA4 property owners can now enable the data export to BigQuery and start to utilise the raw event data collected on their website(s) and app(s).

Free at last!

In the previous version of Google Analytics (Universal Analytics) this integration was only in scope for GA360 enterprise properties. In GA4 the data export is free for everyone to use, you only pay for the actual data storage and data querying when you exceed the limits of the Google Cloud free tier. Your credit card will only be charged after 1 TB of querying per month and 10 GB of storage).

You can also use the BigQuery sandbox environment without a credit card, but then you'll risk your data tables to expire after 60 days. If you upgrade to a billed account before this 'deadline', make sure you update the table expiration settings so you don't lose your data.

Changing table expiry on data set level will only affect new tables. You'll need to change table expiry for existing tables manually, one by one.

Why should you enable the BigQuery linking for GA4?

I can think of a couple of reasons:

  • store your data in BigQuery (Google Cloud) and/or send it to your data warehouse in other clouds like AWS, Azure or Snowflake
  • join and enrich your data with other marketing/crm/contextual data
  • visualise your data in tools like Data Studio, Tableau, Looker or PowerBI
  • perform advanced analysis on your data
  • leverage your data as input for (machine learning) models

So let's make sure we start sending data right away, as there is no backfill for historical data we already collected in GA4.

To proceed with the BigQuery linking you need:

Check, check, double check? Let's go!