Isn’t it disappointing when you see “not set” in your Google Analytics report? It just makes your analysis that much more difficult, leaving you with not enough information of those dimensions with not set.
What is ‘(not set)’?
Google Analytics assigns the value ‘(not set)’ when it has NOT received any information for the dimension you have selected. One of the reports in Google Analytics where you may see the (not set) value more often than not, is that of Landing Page.
The Landing Page dimension basically tells you which page or screen a user viewed first when they visited your app or website. Having (not set) in this report can be an indicator of some issue in your tracking.
‘Not set’ in landing page reports can be due to any number of reasons. In this blog post, I’m sharing a few reasons which I’ve experienced with some of my clients and these reasons are also followed by the solution for each one of them.
Problem #1: Session Expiry:
By default in Google Analytics, the session expires after 30 minutes of inactivity and this inactivity is measured from the last interaction that user carried out on your website. For example, a user lands on your website and navigates through a few pages and leaves a web page open as it is. After 30 mins of inactivity on that web page, say the user returns to that same webpage and interacts with it. This interaction will lead to a new session in Google Analytics and that session will have a landing page as (not set).
This can often happen with websites with lengthy content or embedded videos as well as eCommerce websites offering a variety of products. Think of all times when you may have opened a new tab only to be distracted to compare best prices and come back to the original tab later.
Solution #1: If the ‘(not set)’ problem exists your site or app due to the lengthy content or long videos, you can change your Session Timeout settings to more than 30 minutes (up to 4 hours). Longer session timeout settings will decrease the (not set) numbers.
Problem #2: Session Breakage:
When a user visits a particular website, several hits like pageviews, events, transactions, etc can be sent to Google Analytics. These pageviews or event, or any other hits should all be connected so you can get a complete picture of the user activities on your website. However, for many different reasons, these hits sometimes can get disconnected and exist in separate sessions. In short, if a session is not set off by pageview but something else, your Landing Page dimension will show as (not set). This is one of the more critical issues that should be addressed.
Solution #2: This usually happens because of a tracking issue. Your old on-page code could be conflicting with your tags of Google Tag Manager. One has to make sure that your trackers are communicating together with each other to connect all of the hits of a session.
Problem #3: Implementation Errors:
Sometimes due to an incorrect Tag implementation, pageviews may NOT be the first thing firing when a page loads or event is the only thing firing. Because of this implementation error, pageview will not be recorded in Google Analytics and (not set) will appear on landing pages.
Solution #3: Please check and make sure ga(‘send’,’pageview’); comes first.
Problem #4: Incorrect Filters:
Although not a very common occurrence, but it is possible that one of your view filters is filtering out pageviews for specific landing pages for which events are getting tracked.
Solution #4: Double check your view filters and remove unwanted/incorrect filters.
Helpful Resource: Tracking with gtag.js : The Future of Tagging and How to Set it up!
I hope this clears up any questions that you may have about ‘not set’ in your landing page report. Since this ‘not set’ won’t be disappearing anytime soon, it’s important to know what you can and cannot waive off in your analysis. There are a handful of other reports which can have ‘(not set)’.
If you would like us to investigate your ‘not set’ issue, drop a comment below and we will get back to you.
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