How to use DebugView report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

Last Updated: September 9, 2022

In this article, I am going to talk about the DebugView feature available in Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

If you are using Google Analytics 4 you might have noticed there is an option in the ‘Reporting’ menu called DebugView.

You can use DebugView to validate your analytics configuration and data which is being sent to Google Analytics 4. Here is a brief introduction to this topic.

Introduction to DebugView in Google Analytics 4

Debugging your implementations is an important step in validating your analytics configuration.

It could take a few minutes or several days to troubleshoot the issues in analytics depending upon your skills and experience. But in the case of Google Analytics 4, it’s very simple because of the special real-time report provided by GA4 called DebugView.

DebugView allows you to monitor your website’s event data in real-time along with all the custom parameters and user properties set.

To cut a long story short, DebugView is a real-time report which isolates and shows data only from a specific device where debug mode is enabled.

Debug mode: When debug mode is enabled on your device, your data will be sent in Google Analytics in real-time only (without processing it). This data will be filtered out and isolated from other devices (regular users) who are also generating events on the website or app and hence your actual data (dimensions and metrics in analytics) is not inflated.

Debug mode allows you to see only the data generated by your device while validating analytics and also solves the purpose of having separate data streams for staging and production (no more separate data streams for staging and production).

Caveat: DebugView in Google Analytics 4 only shows you real-time reports (events data) for the past 30 minutes. You can validate your analytics configuration only by generating events in real-time. You can not see any data in the DebugView generated before the 30 minutes time frame.

Debugging tools needed

Before you start using DebugView in GA4 you must enable debug mode in your device and for that, you need to have certain tools. These tools are different based on the platform.

Please follow Google’s documentation as well here: Validate your Analytics configuration with DebugView

To enable on a mobile device or browser you need

Since we are focusing only on browser websites, we will use the Google Analytics Chrome extension.

Using DebugView in Google Analytics 4

Now let’s deep dive into how to use DebugView in Google Analytics 4. Follow the below steps to understand the concept in more detail.

Note: You will need to install Google Analytics Debugger Chrome Extension before proceeding to the steps.

Step 1: Enable the Google Analytics Debugger Chrome Extension (click on the extension to enable it).

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Once the extension is enabled it will look like below

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Step 2: Now navigate to your website and just right-click on the page and select ‘Inspect’.

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This will open the developer console window at the bottom of a web page:

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Step 2.1: Click on ‘Console’.

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Step 2.2: Now refresh the page and you will see comments in the console like below. It means you have successfully enabled debug mode.

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Step 3: Now navigate to your Google Analytics 4 property and click on ‘Configure’ from the ‘Reporting’ menu.

Configure 1

Step 4: Now click on DebugView.

Debug View

Step 5: You will get a real-time reporting view like below.

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I have divided the report into five sections. Now let me explain each section in detail.

Section 1: This section gives you details of the debug device used. Since we are using Google Analytics Debugger Chrome extension it is showing the debug device as ‘Google’. If you are using any other device to debug, it will show you the debug device accordingly (like Apple, Android, Google).

Debugging device

Section 2: This section gives you details of events happening every minute. You can call it a minutes stream timeline. Each part of the timeline will give you a count of events that happened for the corresponding minute on the website. This stream shows a series of circles, one circle for each of the most recent 30 minutes.

minute stream

You can see in the above image one event is fired at 8:08 AM, then there are no events fired till 8:14 AM, then there are two events fired at 8:15 AM, one event at 8:16 AM, and again two events at 8:17 AM.

Section 3: This section is called seconds stream. By default, you can see a list of events logged in the last 60 seconds. Each event displays a timestamp that corresponds to the time of its logging on the development device. You can click an event to see a list of associated parameters.

seconds stream

As you can see in the image above, there is a page view call firing at 8:08:08 AM. You can also see the user property is also set at the same time as the associated parameter for the pageview event.

Section 4: This section gives you details of top events and their count for the last 30 minutes. You can see in the below image there are three ‘user_engagement’ events, two ‘page_view’ events, and one ‘lead generated event’.

top events
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The events are categorized as below

  • General events: These are general events that you have configured for your GA4 property like page_view, user_engagement, scroll, etc.
  • Conversion events: If you have marked a particular event as a conversion event, it will be reflected here.
  • Error Events: If there are any errors while debugging, they will be reflected in error events.

Section 5: This section gives details about user properties. As you can see from the image below, I have set ‘User_ID’ and ‘User_Location,’ etc. as user properties. These properties are the latest state of the user properties for the currently selected development device.

User property

Step 6: Now let’s click on any event in the ‘minute stream’ timeline.

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Immediately, you can see the list of events happening for the corresponding events in the ‘seconds stream’ like below.

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Step 7: Now let’s click on the ‘page_view’ event.

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Step 8: Once you click you will get the details of parameters and user properties for the selected event as below.

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You can click on any of the parameters and it will give you details of the value passed for the selected parameter.

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As you can see from the above image, ‘1607576651’ is my session-id passed in the ‘ga_session_id’ parameter.

You can also click on the different parameters to see their value. Let’s say you want to check the medium by which traffic came, you can just click on  ‘medium’ and as you can see in the image below its value is showing as ‘referral’.

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Step 9: Now let’s check user properties set on the page view event. Click on ‘User Properties’.

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As you can see from the below image, for the page_view event, there are two user properties available, ‘User_ID’ and ‘User Location’.

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These are custom user properties that I have created and now I can click on them to validate what data is passing to analytics. For example, I have set ‘User_Location’ as user property based on their geolocation, and it has a value of ‘United States’. This means my analytics configuration is working properly.

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Step 10: You can also validate conversions in DebugView. For example, I have set up a conversion event when somebody submits a form. I have given it the name ‘Lead generated’.

Now let’s fire the conversion event on the website, and you can see it as a conversion event in DebugView, as below.

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You can select the event in ‘seconds stream’ to get more details on custom parameters and user properties sent with the conversion event.

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You can also click on the conversion event from the ‘Top Events’ section and then select any parameter to get its details.

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So, that is how you can use DebugView in Google Analytics 4.

Just as shown in the above steps, you can select any event either from ‘minute stream’ or ‘seconds stream’ and even from the top events to debug it and validate all the parameters and user properties being sent.

#1 Google Analytics 4 Intro

  1. What is GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – The Apps + Web Property?
  2. Key Benefits of Using Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. Setup GA4 – Upgrade to GA4 – Implementation Guide
  4. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) vs Universal Analytics – What is the Difference?
  5. GA4 vs GA4 360 – Pricing, Limits, Billing and More
  6. Google Analytics 4 Training & Tutorial with FREE GA4 ebook

#2 Google Analytics 4 Property

  1. Google Analytics Account Hierarchy (Structure Explained)
  2. Understanding Google Analytics Measurement ID (GA4)
  3. Google Signals GA4 – See Demographics (Gender, Age) in Google Analytics 4
  4. Using the GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Test Property
  5. Google Analytics 4 Sub Properties Tutorial
  6. Roll up Property in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) – Tutorial

#3 Google Analytics 4 Integrations

  1. How to connect GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Data Studio
  2. How to link GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Ads
  3. How to link Google Search Console to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. How to Install Google Analytics 4 on Shopify
  5. GA4 Firebase Integration – Correctly Add App Data Streams to GA4 Property

#4 Google Analytics 4 Events

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Event Tracking Setup Tutorial
  2. Understanding Event Parameters in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. Recommended Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. Enhanced Measurement Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. Automatically Collected Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  6. How to Set Up GA4 Custom Events via Google Tag Manager
  7. Events Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  8. How to Rename Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  9. How to Use Google Analytics 4 Event Builder

#5 Google Analytics 4 Conversions

  1. Google Analytics 4 Conversion Tracking Guide – GA4 Goals
  2. How to Import Conversions from GA4 Property to Your Google Ads account
  3. GA4 Conversion Rate – How to find it and use it

#6 Google Analytics 4 Dimensions

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Dimensions Tutorial
  2. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Custom Dimensions Tutorial
  3. GA4 User Properties (User Scoped Custom Dimensions) – Tutorial
  4. Event Scoped Custom Dimensions in GA4 – Tutorial

#7 Google Analytics 4 Metrics

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Metrics Tutorial with Free Google Analytics 4 Ebook
  2. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Custom Metrics Tutorial
  3. What are Predictive Metrics in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#8 Google Analytics 4 Ecommerce

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Ecommerce Tracking via GTM – Tutorial

#9 Google Analytics 4 Specialized Tracking

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Enhanced Measurement Tracking Tutorial
  2. Cross Domain Tracking in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Setup Guide
  3. GA4 Site Search – Tracking Site Search in Google Analytics 4
  4. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Scroll Tracking Tutorial
  5. Self-referral Google Analytics 4 – Referral exclusion GA4
  6. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Data Import Tutorial
  7. Google Analytics 4 Content Grouping – Create Content Groups in GA4
  8. How to Track Single Page Apps in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  9. utm_source, utm_medium, utm_campaign Parameters – GA4 (Google Analytics 4)

#10 Google Analytics 4 filters

  1. GA4 filters – Understanding Data Filters in Google Analytics 4
  2. How to Create and Test Filters in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?
  3. Exclude Internal Traffic in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) via IP Filter

#11 Google Analytics 4 Explorations

  1. Free Form Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – Exploration Report
  2. How to Use the User Lifetime Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. How to Use Path Exploration Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – Path Analysis
  4. How to Use Segment Overlap Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. How to Use the Funnel Exploration Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – Funnel Analysis
  6. Cohort Exploration Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  7. How to Create Landing Pages Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  8. How to Create Google Ads report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  9. How to Segment GA4 Data by Data Stream
  10. Organic Search Traffic Analysis in GA4 – Complete Guide

#12 Google Analytics 4 Advanced

  1. Understanding Google Analytics 4 Sessions
  2. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Measurement Protocol Tutorial
  3. How to Build Comparisons (Advanced Segments) in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. Understanding Automated Insights in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. Understanding Channel Groupings in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  6. Understanding Data Sampling in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#13 Google Analytics 4 Reports

  1. How to Create Custom Insights in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  2. How to Use Debug View Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#14 Google Analytics 4 Attribution

  1. Guide to Attribution Models in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  2. How to Change Attribution Models in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)?
  3. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Conversion Paths Report in Attribution
  4. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Model Comparison Report in Attribution
  5. Advertising Snapshot in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Attribution
  6. GA4 Attribution Modelling Tutorial

#15 Google Analytics 4 Audiences

  1. GA4 Audiences – Creating Custom Audience in Google Analytics 4
  2. How to Create a Remarketing Audience in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. Understanding Audience Triggers in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Predictive Audiences – Tutorial

#16 Google Analytics 4 BigQuery

  1. GA4 BigQuery – Connect Google Analytics 4 with BigQuery
  2. BigQuery GA4 Schema – Send Custom GA4 Data to BigQuery
  3. How to Backfill GA4 Data in BigQuery
  4. How to Connect and Export Data from GA

Frequently Asked Questions About How to use DebugView report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

What is DebugView in Google Analytics 4?

You can use DebugView to monitor the events coming from a device or browser for which you’ve enabled debugging. DebugView allows you to monitor your website’s event data in real-time along with all the custom parameters and user properties set.

Does DebugView inflate analytics data?

When debug mode is enabled on your device, your data will be sent in Google Analytics in real-time only (without processing it). This data will be filtered out and isolated from other devices (regular users) who are also generating events on the website or app and hence your actual data (dimensions and metrics in analytics) is not inflated.

What debugging tools are needed to use DebugView?

Before you start using DebugView in GA4 you must enable debug mode in your device and for that, you need to have certain tools. These tools are different based on the platform.

To enable on a mobile device or browser you need
• Websites: Google Analytics Debugger Chrome Extension
• Android apps: Android Studio
• iOS Apps: An iOS device (iPhone or iPad)

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