How do we fix"(not set)" in landing page reports for GA4?

SEO | April 5, 2024

Have you ever opened up your Google Analytics 4 (GA4) landing page reports and found a depressing amount of "(not set)" entries? You're not alone.

This can be really confusing, leaving you unsure of what's happening and where to obtain reliable information.

GA4 landing page reports are informational gold mines. They provide you with important information about user behavior and the efficacy of your campaigns by revealing which pages visitors land on initially. You may diagnose issues with failing pages, pinpoint high-performing pages, and eventually optimize your website for higher conversion rates by looking through these reports.

However, the "(not set)" issue throws a wrench into these plans. Without knowing the actual landing pages, it becomes difficult to understand how users are navigating your website. This lack of clarity makes it challenging to make data-driven decisions for website improvements.

So, why does this happen? There are a few technical reasons, but the key takeaway is this: accurate landing page data is essential for effective website analysis. In the next section, we'll explore ways to tackle the "(not set)" problem and ensure your GA4 reports deliver the valuable insights you need.

Causes of "(not set)"

After demonstrating the significance of precise landing page data and the annoyance of "(not set)" entries, let's investigate the parties responsible for this data blackout. You can troubleshoot and make sure your GA4 reports are crystal clear by knowing the common causes.

  1. The Page_view Event Is Missing:

    Think of GA4 as a detective attempting to crack the user journey case. An essential piece of information that tells GA4 precisely which page a user landed on is the page_view event. Without this incident, it would be impossible for the investigator to choose where to start when they arrive at the crime scene with hazy surveillance footage.

    What, then, might be preventing this event from always firing? There are a few options:

    Excessive Browser Extensions: The GA4 tag may unintentionally prevent the page_view event from being fired by certain browser extensions that are meant to block advertisements or trackers.

    Problems with the GA4 tracking tag: Incorrect setup or technical issues might cause problems with event tracking, including page views. Make sure your tag implementation is correctly capturing data by giving it a second look.

  2. Measurement Protocol Errors:

    By serving as a bridge, the Measurement Protocol enables you to communicate data from server-side apps or custom code to GA4 directly. However, GA4 might not be able to accurately understand the data if the Measurement Protocol's settings or data format are off. Because GA4 effectively raises its hands and says, "Sorry, I don't understand this data!" this may result in "(not set)" entries.

  3. Session timeout:

    GA4 uses a predetermined amount of inactivity to define a user session. This is 30 minutes by default. A user's new session won't record the original landing page if they land on your page, explore for a bit, and then return much later (let's say an hour later). This is because no page_view event is fired for this new session. This may lead to an increase in "(not set)" entries, particularly for websites that provide material that visitors tend to interact with for longer periods of time.

How to Fix GA4 Reports "(Not Set)" Issues

It can be annoying to come across "(not set)" numbers in your GA4 reports, but by figuring out the underlying reasons and putting the appropriate fixes in place, you can make your analytics efforts go more smoothly. Now let's examine a few such situations and how to resolve them:

  1. (Not Set) in Source/Medium

    The source/medium dimension displaying "(not set)" is a frequent problem, sometimes associated with tagging URLs with erroneous UTM values or missing session_start events. To lessen this problem, make sure that UTM tagging is done correctly and think about modifying session timeout settings.

  2. (Not Set) in Campaign

    Similar to source/medium, if the utm_campaign option is missing, campaign data may display "(not set)." To effectively track campaign results, make sure all pertinent UTM parameters are appropriately tagged.

  3. (Not Set) in Landing Page

    "(not set)" values in the landing page dimension may result from missing page_view events. This problem can be fixed by modifying the session timeout parameters and making sure the page_view event fires consistently.

  4. (Not Set) in Google Ads

    "(not set)" values in Google Ads dimensions may be the result of problems connecting Google Ads accounts or turning on auto-tagging. For more seamless data integration, make sure all links are correct and think about turning on auto-tagging.

  5. (Not Set) in Page Title

    "(not set)" values may result from problems loading page titles or from firing GA4 tags before page titles are set. To gather reliable data, make sure that GA4 tags are fired in a timely manner once the page title loads.

  6. (Not Set) in Content Group

    To prevent "(not set)" values, make sure the content group parameters are properly configured in Google Tag Manager. Verify that the data is transmitted to GA4 correctly and look for any case sensitivity issues.

  7. (Not Set) in Measurement Protocol

    "(not set)" values may result from sending events via Measurement Protocol without the required parameters included. To ensure reliable tracking, make sure all necessary data is provided with MP events.

  8. (Not Set) in Country

    Geographic dimension "(not set)" values can be caused by problems with IP addresses, VPNs, or server-side GTM installations. This is for accurate location monitoring, address IP accuracy, and guaranteed consistent data delivery.

  9. (Not Set) in Browser

    "(not set)" values in browser dimensions might result from changes or omissions of user agent strings. To ensure reliable browser tracking, minimize the use of Measurement Protocol and refrain from manipulating user agent data.

  10. (Not Set) in Language

    To prevent "(not set)" values, make sure that language values are transmitted consistently with events. Look for GTM configurations or privacy enhancements that might obstruct the transfer of linguistic data.

  11. (Not Set) in Item Name

    "(not set)" values may arise from inconsistent parameter transfer with eCommerce events. For proper tracking, make sure that all pertinent parameters are delivered regularly with eCommerce occurrences.

Extra Things to Think About

  • When setting up new dimensions or events, be patient as it may take 48–72 hours for GA4 processing to complete.
  • Verify data types twice for dimension values to prevent incompatibilities.
  • Despite GA4's automated bot traffic filtering, keep an eye out for anomalous traffic spikes that might be signs of bot activity.

Conclusion

This post has a lot of material that we've unpacked, illustrating the variety of "(not set)" concerns in GA4. We've identified the most common offenders and provided fixes to restore your data's seamless operation.

It's critical to keep in mind that certain "(not set)" values cannot be avoided. We do not yet have control over issues like privacy extensions and custom dimension retroactivity. Knowing when to troubleshoot and when to accept these constraints, however, is where the power is.

The good news is that Google is tackling these issues head-on, which will undoubtedly benefit those utilizing SEO services in India. Future updates are probably in the works, and the most recent upgrade for automatic events promises to decrease the number of "(not set)" incidents.

FAQ

  1. What does my GA4 Landing Page reports' "(not set)" mean?

    A: "(not set)" signifies that GA4 was unable to determine the landing page for that specific session. As a result, analyzing user behavior and website performance becomes challenging.

  2. Why do I see items that say "(not set)"?

    A: A number of reasons exist.

    • Page_view event missing: It's possible that the GA4 tag isn't always firing the page_view event. Tracking tag problems or browser extensions interacting can cause this.
    • Measurement Protocol problems: Incorrect parameter inclusion can result in "(not set)" entries if you're sending data to GA4 via the Measurement Protocol.
    • Short session timeout: User sessions may be terminated by a short session timeout before landing page data is recorded.
  3. Is it possible to examine landing page data in any other way than with "(not set)" entries?

    A: Certainly!

    • Landing Page + Query String dimension: This dimension lets you filter out "(not set)" entries and offers more comprehensive landing page data.
    • Custom reports: Make reports with a specified landing page in mind and remove any lines that start with "(not set)."
  4. Could a website's apparent slowness be the reason for "(not set)" problems?

    A: A sluggish website can affect how users interact with it, but this shouldn't be the direct source of "(not set)" entries in GA4. On the other hand, consumers may bounce from a slow website before the page_view event is registered.

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hardik-mody

Hardik Mody

Hardik Mody is a Senior Manager in Digital Marketing. He plans and coordinates the marketing activities of ValueHits, a full-service Digital Marketing Agency in Mumbai, India. With his experience and Expert knowledge in the field, he identifies potential customers and develops marketing campaigns. Also, he is efficient enough to meet the client’s requirements and well-organized in handling multiple tasks.