How to remove not set in Google Analytics

Table of contents for how to remove (not set) in Google Analytics

  1. Introduction to (not set) values in Google Analytics
  2. How to remove (not set) data in audience reports
  3. How to remove (not set) data in behavior reports
  4. How to remove (not set) data in acquisition source reports
  5. How to remove (not set) data in conversion reports
  6. FAQ

In this article I am going to talk about how to remove (not set) values in Google Analytics reporting.

Introduction to (not set) values in Google Analytics

Have you noticed (not set) values in Google Analytics reporting? This generally happens when Google Analytics hasn’t received any information about the particular dimension. 

There are many reasons to have (not set) values in the reporting and these reasons vary from report to report depending upon the dimension selected. 

When it comes to analytics reporting, having (not set) values can be really annoying since your data is not 100% accurate. 

If (not set) values are contributing to more than 10% of the data that means your analytics implementation is not correct and has errors in it. The majority of times (not set) values will contribute less than 1%, and this is considered normal.

not set sample value

In this article, we will look at the following reports where you will get (not set) values and consider how to effectively deal with them.

  1. Audience reports
    1. Browser & OS report
    2. Geo Location report
    3. Device report
    4. Language report
    5. Network Domain and Service Providers reports
  2. Behavior reports
    1. Pages report
    2. Landing page report
  3. Acquisition reports
    1. Source/medium report
    2. Channel report
    3. Google Ads report
  4. Conversion reports
    1. Reverse Goal Path report
    2. Ecommerce reports
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How to remove (not set) data in audience reports

Listed below are reports where you can see (not set) values in audience reporting:

Browser & OS report

If you navigate to Audience > Technology > Browser & OS, you will see the users’ browser details. 

Every time a user visits your website the browser sends a string with the user agent. The string contains the information about the browser and the device details. 

Generally the (not set) value in the browser will be less than 1% to 2% and that is normal since Google Analytics is not able to match the user agent string.

browser and os not set

But in the case that the (not set) percentage is more than 5%, you need to dig down further to find out the reasons. You can apply ‘source’ as a secondary dimension and check where the traffic is coming from. 

bot traffic source

As you can see from the above image the traffic sources are spam referrers.

Possible solution

If you have more traffic coming from spam referrers or bots, consider creating a filter in Google Analytics to exclude all of these. 

You can minimise or even completely eliminate the negative impact of fake traffic on your GA reports. Once done you won’t see the (not set) value in the reports. 

Learn more about setting up filter for spam traffic: How to Stop Google Analytics Spam – Remove Referral Spam

Geo Location report

If you navigate to Audience > Geo > Location you will get details about user locations like country, city, sub continent. 

Google Analytics identifies the user location based on IP address. If a user is using any proxy or VPN service, Google Analytics cannot identify the user location. 

If the (not set) value has a low percentage, i.e. up to 2% or 3%, then this is absolutely normal.

location not set

Possible solution

If you have more than 5% to 10% of traffic with (not set) value you can consider creating a segment for users with (not set) country/territory. Then look at other reports, such as browser and device reports, to see if there is a common pattern that may indicate the reason behind the IP address not being set.

Device report

The same thing happens with the Device report as well. If you see (not set) in the Device report in Audience > Mobile > Devices between the range of 1% to 5% it is very common and no further investigation is needed. This generally happens when users visiting the website are using a device that generally disables JavaScript.

device not set

Language report

It is fairly common to see (not set) values in the Language report as well. 

If the values range between 1% to 10% then no further investigation is needed. A reason behind this could be users visiting the website using the guest option where the browser language is (not set) and hence Google Analytics cannot track it. 

These traffic segments are very small and not statistically significant.

language not set

Network Domain and Service Providers reports

If you go to Audience > Technology > Network for Service Providers, or Acquisition > Channel, and select ‘network domain’ as the primary dimension, you will see only the (not set) value. 

This is because Google has stopped capturing network domain and service provider values because these are against regulations such as GDPR or CCPA which require explicit consent to process personally identifiable information (PII) like IP address and service provider.

service provider not set
network domain not set

How to remove (not set) data in behavior reports

If you are looking at the behavior reports in Google Analytics you will see no set values in following scenarios.

Pages report

If you navigate to Behavior >  Site Content > All Pages and set the primary dimension as ‘page title’, then you are likely to see (not set) values. 

This generally happens for the following reasons:

  1. Your page title tag <title> is missing on the page.
  2. Your Google Analytics tracking code fires before the <title> tag when the page loads.
pages report not set

Possible solution

There are two possible solutions for this to remove (not set) values as below:

  1. It may be possible that the <title> tag has an error or is completely missing. You can instruct your developer to validate and add the <title> tag on every page that you are tracking in Google Analytics. If you want to find which pages are showing (not set) value in the reports you can add the page dimension to get more details like page path. 
page path not set value
  1. If the page title is showing (not set) values because Google Analytics tracking code fires before the <title> tag when the page loads, you can consider placing your analytics tracking code in the <head> section but after the <title> tag.

    Find out more about where to place your analytics tracking code: Where to Put Google Analytics Tracking Code

Landing Page report

The landing page report plays an important role in analysing the website performance. It also provides you the start of the user’s journey on the website. 

Having (not set) values in the Landing Page report is a major issue. There could be two reasons to have (not set) values in the report:

  1. Expired session:
    Every day at midnight Google Analytics ends the session according to the timezone set for reporting. The session may also expire after 30 minutes of inactivity. In both cases, if any event fires after the expiry of the session (after midnight or 30 minutes of inactivity) Google Analytics sets the landing page to (not set) value.
  1. No page view set:
    The second possibility could be if a session does not include any page view but it does include the event hit. For example, let’s suppose a user lands on one of the pages of your website which is not sending page view hit but only events hit like below:

    Enter → Event 1 → Event 2 → Exit

    In this case, there is no pageview but one session with two events. This leads to having (not set) value in the Landing Page report.
not set in Google Analytics

Possible solution

If the (not set) values are appearing because of expired sessions then there is no fix for this at the moment.

If the (not set) values are the result of firing only events and no page view on a particular page then you can consider implementing your analytics tracking code across all the pages of the website. You can identify the events which are responsible for (not set) values in the Landing Page report. 

Go to custom reports and create a report which contains event category, event action, total events and page views, like below:

custom report

Once you have the report ready, click on ‘Advanced filter’ and apply ‘Page Views equals ‘0’’.

page view filter

You will get a report like below, which will highlight the events with zero page views leading to (not set) values in the landing page report.

zero page view with events

How to remove (not set) data in acquisition reports

If you are looking into the acquisition reports you may see (not set) values in the following scenarios.

Source/Medium report

On many occasions, your Source/Medium report will contain (not set) values. 

Google Analytics automatically identifies the source, like direct, organic, display, and it’s very rare to see (not set) values in this report. 

If you do, there is a possibility of an incorrect campaign set up which is bringing traffic to the website. 

source medium not set

A similar situation occurs in the Channel report as well.

Channel report

If you navigate to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels, you may find (not set) values. 

Again, the reason for having (not set) values could be incorrectly set up campaigns that are bringing traffic to the website. 

chennel not set

Possible solution for Source/Medium report and Channel report

For both reports, an incorrect campaign setup is responsible. If you want to remove the (not set) values you may consider validating your campaign setup based on the following things.

  1. Make sure to use necessary UTM parameters such as utm_source, utm_medium, and utm_campaign. 
  2. Make sure to set up the correct parameter and its value using ‘=’ sign.
  3. All the parameters in the campaign URL should be separated using an ampersand ‘&’ sign.
  4. Avoid using syntax errors.
  5. If you are not sure how to build campaign URL you can use the Campaign URL Builder tool provided by Google

Google Ads report

The Google Ads report in Google Analytics lets you analyse and check the performance of the campaigns that you are running. It gives you all the details such as keyword reports, campaign, search queries, shopping campaign, display and video campaigns, etc. 

Having (not set) values in the Google Ads report can be very annoying since these are paid campaigns and you would like to know every aspect of their performance in order to improve the conversions. 

If you see (not set) values in any of the Google Ads report, that means the Google Ads account is not correctly configured in Google Analytics. 

adwords not set value

Possible solution 

You can consider the following points to remove (not set) values from the Google Ads report.

  1. Make sure you have integrated the Google Ads account with Google analytics properly.
  2. Make sure the auto-tagging feature is turned ‘ON’. This feature is required to track conversion on the website and all the browsers. This is also a required feature to import Google Ads data in Google Analytics.
  3. Check if Google Ads auto-tagging works on your website.  

How to remove (not set) data in conversion reports

If you are looking into the conversion reports you may see (not set) values in the following scenarios:

Reverse Goal Path report

If you navigate to Conversion > Goals > Reverse Goal Path report, you can see the goal completions and the three previous pages viewed before it. 

reverce goal path not set

If you look at the above image, (not set) values are present at ‘Goal Previous Step -2’ and ‘Goal Previous Step -3’. 

You don’t need to worry about these (not set) values since it is possible that the user can complete the goal in just one or two steps and does not require the third step.

Ecommerce Reports

It might be possible to have (not set) values in ecommerce reports. 

This generally happens if you haven’t set up the ecommerce in the correct manner. For example if you see the image below (not set) value is available is the product category and still it has lots of revenue attributed. 

This happens if you are adding new product lists on a regular interval but somehow do not update the data layer variable as per standard ecommerce recommendations (like sending a product details without product category).

product category not set

Possible solution 

You will need to validate your complete ecommerce implementation to remove (not set) values from the reports. Consider the following recommendations:

  1. Make sure to track all recommended ecommerce events.
  2. Make sure to validate the data layer and corresponding variables for all ecommerce events

If you would like to know more about setting up ecommerce you can visit the following articles:

  1. Ecommerce Tracking Google Tag Manager (GTM) – Tutorial
  2. Set up Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking in Google Analytics

Frequently asked questions about how to remove (not set) in Google Analytics

What does (not set) mean in Google Analytics?

When Google Analytics reports shows (not set) values, it means that Google Analytics does not receive any information about the corresponding dimension. You may see (not set) values in multiple reports and their reasons may vary depending upon the scenario and the report you are seeing.

Why is Google Analytics showing (not set) in the location report?

Google Analytics identifies the user location by IP address. There can be multiple reasons to see (not set) values in the location report, such as: 
– Google Analytics is not able to detect the location based on the IP address.
– If the user visiting the website is using any proxy or VPN service, Google Analytics cannot determine the location. 
– If JavaScript is disabled in the user’s browser.

Which Google Analytics report may contain (not set) values?

Google Analytics may contain (not set) values in the following reports:
– Audience reports such as Browser & OS, Geo Location, Devices, Language, and Network Domain and Service Providers.
– Behavior reports such as All Pages and Landing Pages.
– Acquisition reports such as Source/medium, Channel report, and Google Ads report.
– Conversion reports such as Reverse Goal Path and Ecommerce report.

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