How to Solve Custom Parameter Tracking Issues in GA4: A Step-by-Step Guide

You're not alone if you've been struggling with tracking custom parameters in GA4, especially when they don't appear in your Google Analytics reports. Many businesses face this challenge, and we recently encountered it ourselves.

The Problem We Faced

While setting up conversion tracking for a client's GA4 account, we came upon a recurring problem. Despite our efforts to track various custom attributes using Tag Manager, these attributes weren't being reflected in Google Analytics.

This might sound familiar to those with GA4 issues, especially when third-party plugins like Monster Insights are installed on a WordPress site. Our client had a GA4 tag activated within a third-party plugin. This tag was overriding the detailed data we were trying to send each time our configuration tag was triggered.

To make matters more complicated, neither we nor the client knew which plugin was causing this interference. And, unfortunately, we didn't have direct backend access to investigate further.

Our Solution: A Simple Yet Effective Approach

Navigating through this technical challenge required a bit of creativity. Here's the step-by-step solution we implemented:

  • Add a Custom Parameter to GA4 Tags: We introduced an additional custom parameter to all our GA4 tags. This parameter was named configPriority and was set to the value 1.
  • Modify Default Settings in GA4: By default, GA4 ignores duplicate configurations during a single page view. We changed this setting. To do this:
  • Log into your Data Stream.
  • Navigate to 'Configure Tag Settings'.
  • Click on 'Admin'.
  • Proceed to 'Manage Google Tag'. (Refer to the images for a visual guide.)
  • Introduce a Custom Rule in GA4: Given that both configurations were now under scrutiny, we set up a custom rule to prevent double counting. This rule would identify any page_view event lacking the configPriority parameter. Such events would then be renamed to page_view_dup.

With these steps in place, our configurations containing the custom parameters became the sole page_view events recorded. As a result, third-party hits that lacked detailed data were excluded from our regular reports.

GA4 tracking can sometimes be tricky, especially with third-party plugins in the mix. However, with the right approach and a bit of technical know-how, you can ensure accurate and efficient data tracking. We hope this guide helps you navigate similar challenges and optimize your GA4 tracking for better insights and performance.