February 29, 2024
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min read

Beyond Timeouts: Other Causes of "(not set)" in GA4 and their Fixes

Author:
Dany Coutinho

While increasing the session timeout can help, it's not the only reason you might see "(not set)" in your GA4 data. Here are some other common causes and their solutions:

1. Missing or Incorrect Tag Implementation:

  • Cause: If the GA4 tag is not installed correctly or is missing entirely, no data will be collected, resulting in "(not set)" across various reports.
  • Fix: Double-check your tag implementation and ensure it's placed correctly on all your website pages or within your app. Refer to Google's official documentation for detailed instructions.

2. Unlinked Google Ads Account:

  • Cause: If you use Google Ads for advertising and haven't linked your Google Ads account with your GA4 property, traffic originating from your ads will appear as "(not set)" in reporting.
  • Fix: Link your Google Ads account within your GA4 admin panel to ensure seamless data transfer and accurate campaign tracking.

3. Issues with UTM Parameters:

  • Cause: For manually tagged URLs, using incorrect or incomplete UTM parameters can lead to "(not set)" in traffic source reports.
  • Fix: Use Google's Campaign URL Builder to create accurate UTM tags for your campaigns and ensure all parameters are present and correctly formatted.

4. Server-Side Tagging and Data Layer Timing:

  • Cause: If you use server-side tagging and the data layer values are pushed after the GA4 tag fires, GA4 might not capture the data, leading to "(not set)" values.
  • Fix: Adjust the timing of your server-side code to ensure the data layer is populated before the GA4 tag triggers or consider alternative approaches that prioritize data collection within GA4.

5. Session Cookie Issues:

  • Cause: Issues with user cookies, such as aggressive browser settings or browser extensions that block cookies, can prevent session data from being stored, leading to "(not set)" for returning visitors.
  • Fix: This is challenging to control directly, but you can improve data collection by addressing other causes of "(not set)" and ensuring clear communication regarding cookie usage on your website.

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