Recently, InfoTrust consultants have received many questions related to (not set) in the Google Analytics (GA4) landing page reports. Whenever clients see a large number of (not set), they immediately want to know what went wrong. It might be intuitive to think in that way, but it is worth noting that (not set) may not affect the overall reporting. If the number is not significant, there is a way in GA4 standard and Exploration reports to filter out, which will be discussed in detail in another article. This article provides a list of reasons for the cause of (not set).
Refresher: Landing page is the page path and query string associated with the first pageview in a session. Without the pageview event, there is no landing page tagged, and that’s why (not set) appears. The list below is not exhaustive, as it is based on what we have seen with our clients’ situations so far.
GA4 Setting – Session Timeout
The default session timeout is 30 minutes. This duration should be adjusted at the configuration stage if the average time per user is significantly longer than 30 minutes. If not, this will result in the user starting a new session without the pageview, thus leading to (not set) in the landing page report. For example, a user opens a site and becomes inactive on that tab for 31 minutes. Then the user comes back but now he/she is in a new session. In the new session, the tab is still loaded, thus no pageview event is fired, thus (not set) is tagged with the landing page.
Solution: Change the timeout settings to be more than 30 mins (up to 7 hours and 55 minutes for 360 users) on the basis of your website content or type. This change will decrease the (not set) numbers over time.
Miss pageview implementation: If there are pages without pageview events, then (not set) is going to be applied to landing pages no matter what. InfoTrust consultants like to leverage our proprietary tool Tag Inspector to have a full quick view of this implementation.
Solution: All pages should include a pageview tag. This should include 40x pages as well.
Consent management tag: We’re seeing a lot of (not set) in the landing page report due to the missing pageview event captured by GA4 before the consent decision is made. So if the client development team is confirmed with the pageview implementation, it is worth checking the consent management tag.
Solution: Update the GA4 page view tag to add a catch up trigger for the event after the user makes a consent decision.