Google Analytics

Step-by-step guide to send your event data from RudderStack to Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the world's most popular analytics service that allows you to track and report your website traffic across a variety of sources.

RudderStack supports sending events from RudderStack SDKs to the Google Analytics endpoints. We support the connection mode S2S (Server-to-Server) through our data plane, making requests to Google Analytics endpoints through Google Analytics' Measurement Protocol specification.

Getting Started

Before configuring your source and destination on the RudderStack app, please check whether the platform you are working on is supported by Google Analytics. Refer to the table below:

Connection Mode

Web

Mobile

Server

Device Mode

Supported

-

-

Cloud Mode

Supported

Supported

Supported

Once you have confirmed that the platform supports sending events to Google Analytics, perform the steps below:

To enable sending data to Google Analytics, you will first need to add it as a destination to the source from which you are sending the event data.

Please follow our guide on How to Add a Source and Destination in RudderStack to add a source and destination in RudderStack.

Once the destination is enabled, events from our servers will start flowing to Google Analytics. You will start seeing the events in Google Analytics' real-time view.

Google Analytics' property tracking id is a required field to start sending events. Other inputs as shown below can be set as per your preferences:

Google Analytics Destination Settings in RudderStack

Page

We send a pageview hit to Google Analytics whenever you make a page() call from our SDKs.

From our JavaScript libraries, we automatically collect the following page properties with the page() call just after the load() call:

  • path

  • url

  • title

  • search

  • referrer

For a page loaded at http://localhost/test_browser.html?param1=true with title "Page Load"

Property

Value

path

/test_browser.html

referrer

""

search

?param1=true

title

Page Load

url

http://localhost/test_browser.html?param1=true

You can also override these values and call page() with properties as shown below:

rudderanalytics.page({
path: "path",
url: "url",
title: "title",
search: "search",
referrer: "referrer"
});

It is important to send a path or url property with page call, otherwise Google Analytics will silently reject the event.

There are other variants of the page() call that you can send, which involve giving your page's name and category :

// Passing page category and name
rudderanalytics.page("category", "name", {
path: "path",
url: "url",
title: "title",
search: "search",
referrer: "referrer"
});
// "home" is the name of the page.
rudderanalytics.page("home", {
path: "path",
url: "url",
title: "title",
search: "search",
referrer: "referrer"
});

For a server-side screen call, the application name is passed from RudderStack's context.app.name as an , otherwise the event will be rejected by GA.

If Include the Querystring in Page Views option is turned on under Advanced options of RudderStack destination settings (please refer to the settings in the Getting Started section above), then the whole URL with query string will be sent as dp (Document Path). Otherwise, the query string will be removed from the URL.

Identify

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) cannot be sent to the Google Analytics reporting interface. Thus nothing is passed to Google unless specifically told.

Google Analytics' universal tracking allows you to set a user ID to the identified visitors if Send User ID to GA is enabled in the destination settings by the user. Also, the userid property must be enabled in Google Analytics, and user-id view needs to be created.

A sample identify call is as shown:

rudderanalytics.identify("abc123", {
name: "Ruchira Moitra",
email: "ruchira@gmail.com"
});

In the above snippet, the userid will be set to abc123 for Google Analytics, but the name and email will not be shared with Google. Traits along with custom dimensions, metrics, and content groupings can be set in the SDK.

For server-side, Google Analytics needs a customer identifier for each call to be made. RudderStack passes an internally generated ID as the cid parameter for Google Analytics to understand every unique user.

You can call identify once in order to set the userId and user traitsfor all subsequent calls that you make from our SDK for a particular user. If userId is not set, RudderStack sends a generated ID (called anonymousId) from its SDKs with every call made to the RudderStack servers. This id is used as the cid in Google Analytics. And if Send User ID to GA setting is enabled, the user ID property will be set as uid and will be sent as well.

Custom Dimensions

In Google Analytics, we can configure custom dimensions in the Admin page.

There are multiple scopes for custom dimensions, such as hits, session, user, and products (If Enhanced eCommerce is enabled). Once these are set up in Google Analytics, the traits and properties can be mapped to custom dimensions as set by the user in the RudderStack destination settings page (as seen in the Getting Started section).

A custom dimension should be set as dimension{index} . For example, dimension1 and it will map accordingly when the user sets the dimension in GA settings as shown below.

Similar activity is to be done for metrics.A

Custom Dimensions and Metrics Settings in RudderStack
Custom Dimensions Settings in Google Analytics

An identify call with custom dimensions will be recorded after the next track or page call.

rudderanalytics.identify({
Gender: 'Female'
});
rudderanalytics.track('Viewed History');

Track

We send an event hit when a track() call is made from our SDKs.

A simple track call is as shown:

rudderanalytics.track("Track me")

This will send the following Event Category and Event Action :

Property

Value

Event Category

All

Event Action

Track me

We do not populate the Event Category field by default. If you face such a requirement, use our custom transformations to populate the event payload with a category property.

A more verbose track call that you can make is as shown:

rudderanalytics.track("Track me", {
category: "category",
label: "label",
value: "value"
});

The following properties are sent to the Google Analytics event:

Property

Value

Event Category

category

Event Action

Track me

Event Label

label

Event Value

value

Non-Interaction Events

If the non-interaction setting is enabled in the RudderStack destination settings, nonInteraction with value 1 will be sent.

{
"action": "track",
"event": "Track Page",
"properties": {
"nonInteraction": 1
}
}

In Google Analytics, some events can be tagged as non-interaction events. On the server-side, it is set in ni .

E-Commerce

RudderStack supports basic E-Commerce tracking for Google Analytics.

The required steps are:

  • For every order completed, orderId is a must. For each product in the order, there must be an id and name. Other properties are optional.

  • The E-Commerce tracking should be enabled otherwise it will not be shown in the reports.

Enhanced E-Commerce

Enhanced E-Commerce allows you to derive insights on the E-Commerce events by combining impression data, product data, promotion data and action data. This is a necessity for product-scoped custom dimensions.

Enhanced E-Commerce must be enabled in Google Analytics, and should follow RudderStack's E-Commerce Tracking API.

The required steps are:

  • Similar to E-Commerce tracking, for every order completed the orderId is a must. For each product, id and nameare required.

  • The product ID or name must be passed for all the events that has the product details. product_id will check if properties.product_id is present or not. Else properties.sku will be picked.

  • order_id is required for refunded orders too.

To send Enhanced E-Commerce events, please enable it in the RudderStack destination settings page.

Measuring Checkout Steps

The Checkout steps feature is a key difference between the regular E-Commerce and Enhanced E-Commerce tracking, and a major feature of the latter.

You can configure the checkout funnel in the Google Analytics admin interface as shown below:

The checkout flow can be implemented by calling track with Viewed Checkout Step and Completed Checkout Step for the steps you have added in Google Analytics.

An example of this is as shown:

rudderanalytics.track('Checkout Step Viewed', {
currency: 'CAD',
step: 1
});
rudderanalytics.track('Checkout Step Completed', {
currency: 'CAD',
step: 1,
//if this is the shipping step
shippingMethod: 'FedEx',
//if this is the payment step
paymentMethod: 'Visa
});

For more information, please check our guide on the RudderStack E-Commerce Events Specification.

Measuring Promotions

rudderanalytics.track('Promotion Viewed', {
currency: 'CAD',
promotion_id: 'PROMO_1234',
name: 'Winter Sale',
creative: 'winter_banner2',
position: 'banner_slot1',
testDimension: true,
testMetric: true
});
rudderanalytics.track('promotion clicked', {
currency: 'CAD',
promotion_id: 'PROMO_1234',
name: 'winter Sale',
creative: 'winter_banner2',
position: 'banner_slot1',
testDimension: true,
testMetric: true
});

Coupons

You can add the coupon property if you want to send coupon data to Order Completed.

rudderanalytics.track('order completed', {
orderId: 'abc55',
total: 999.9,
shipping: 23.99,
tax: 25.99,
currency: 'CAD',
coupon: 'coupon',
affiliation: 'affiliation',
testDimension: true,
testMetric: true,
products: [
{
quantity: 1,
price: 24.75,
name: 'rudder product',
category: 'cat 1',
sku: 'p-298',
productDimension: 'testing'
},
{
quantity: 3,
price: 24.75,
name: 'other product',
category: 'cat 2',
sku: 'p-299',
currency: 'EUR',
productDimension: 'testing'
}
]
});

Measuring Product Impressions

Information related to impressions of the users who have viewed or filtered through the product can be collected through Enhanced E-Commerce. The product impressions are mapped to Product List Viewed and Product List Filtered events.

window.rudderanalytics.track('Product List Filtered', {
category: 'cat 1',
list_id: '1234',
filters: [
{
type: 'department',
value: 'beauty'
},
{
type: 'price',
value: 'under'
}
],
sorts: [
{
type: 'price',
value: 'desc'
}
],
products: [
{
product_id: '507f1f77bcf86cd799439011',
productDimension: 'My Product Dimension',
productMetric: 'My Product Metric'
}
],
testDimension: true,
testMetric: true
});
window.rudderanalytics.track('Product List Viewed', {
category: 'cat 1',
list_id: '1234',
products: [
{
product_id: '507f1f77bcf86cd799439011',
productDimension: 'My Product Dimension1',
productMetric: 'My Product Metric1',
position: 10
},
{
product_id: '507f1f77bcf86cd799439012',
productDimension: 'My Product Dimension2',
productMetric: 'My Product Metric2',
position: 12
},
{
product_id: '507f1f77bcf86cd799439015',
productDimension: 'My Product Dimension3',
productMetric: 'My Product Metric3',
position: 8
}
]
});

Refunds

For full refunds :

rudderanalytics.track('order refunded', {
order_id: 'abc55',
testDimension: true,
testMetric: true
});

For partial refunds:

rudderanalytics.track('order refunded', {
order_id: 'abc55',
products: [
{
quantity: 1,
sku: 'p-1'
},
{
quantity: 2,
sku: 'p-2'
}
],
testDimension: true,
testMetric: true
});

Passing Cookies from Universal Analytics

clientId (cid) is used to keep a track of the unique visitors to your website.

A Google Analytics universal cookie will look like the following:

_ga=GA1.2.476220681.159039102;

The clientId part is 476220681.159039102 which can be cross-checked by running the following snippet:

ga(function (tracker) {
var clientId = tracker.get('clientId');
console.log('My GA universal client ID is: ' + clientId);
});

On the server-side, if clientId is passed manually by sending anonymousId is used. If the Send User ID setting is enabled in the destination settings along with cid , uid will be sent where userId will be passed.

User Agent

On the server-side, user_agent is set from context.userAgent.

Visitor Geo Location

On the client-side tracking, the IP address of the HTTP request is sent automatically to determine the location of the visitor. However, on the server-side, the visitor's IP has to be included in the track call.

UTM Parameters

The UTM parameters need to be passed manually to the server.

UTM parameters are passed in the context object in context.campaign. campaign.name and campaign.mediums must be sent together to show up in the report. Also, campaign.term and campaign.content are optional.

Additional Features

There are some other important features associated with the Google Analytics integration, as described in the sections below:

Anonymize IP Address

You can turn on Anonymize IP Address in the RudderStack destination settings under the Other Settings option. Once this setting is enabled, Google Analytics anonymizes the address at the earliest possible stage of the collection network.

The default value of this is set to auto . However, you can change it in the destination settings. You can get more information on this feature by referring to Google documentation.

Cross-domain Tracking

There are two ways to do this:

  • Tracking visitors with userid: If the Send User ID destination setting is enabled, it will be sent to identify the user, However, this only works for the identified users. Anonymous visitor sessions will not be maintained.

  • Tracking Anonymous Visitors: allowLinker is enabled automatically by RudderStack as Google Analytics provides an auto-linking plugin that allows you to track cookies and anonymous visitors when moving from one page to the other.

Ignored Referrers

For Universal profiles, this can be edited in Google Analytics directly.

Remarketing

This feature is used to tag visitors for remarketing campaign. Enable the Remarketing, Display Ads and Demographic Reports option in the Reporting section of the destination settings to utilize this feature.

When someone searches the site, the search term has to be added to the URL query. This feature comes in handy in such a case.

To enable this feature, turn on Include the Querystring in page views option in the destination settings

In your Google Analytics account, enable Site search Tracking and put the parameter query.

If the query is abc.com/s=xyzthe setting should be as follows:

Optimize

Add your Optimize Container ID in destinations settings.

Content Groupings

You can set the content group mapping in the RudderStack dashboard and Google Analytics, as shown in the images below:

Content Group Mapping in RudderStack
Content Grouping Settings in Google Analytics

When you use rudderanalytics.page(name, properties) with the custom properties, RudderStack will use the value of the property you designate as the value of the specified content grouping.

For more information on content grouping, please refer to this guide.

Sample Rate

This feature specifies what percentage of users should be tracked. The default value is set to be 100.

Site Speed Sample Rate

This feature defines the sample size for Site Speed data collection. The default value is set to 1.

Server-side Identification

If enabled, the identify calls will be made only from the server-side.

Server-side Identification Event Action and Category.

If any action is specified, it will go as ea otherwise it will default to User Enriched

If any category is specified, it will go as ec otherwise it will default to All

AMP Client ID

If enabled, Google’s AMP Client ID API will uniquely identify users who engage with your content on the AMP and non-AMP pages.

Reset Dimension On page call

If the specified dimension is set in the properties of the page call, it will be reset to null and a new value will be set.

FAQs

Where can I find the tracking ID?

The tracking ID can be found in your Google Analytics account:

Navigate to your account and go to Apps. The tracking ID will be present there.

What are custom metrics and custom dimensions?

Custom metrics and custom dimensions are fields that allow you to track custom properties associated with your events using RudderStack.

Metrics is for event properties having numeric data type while dimensions is for event properties having string data type. Both are used to track custom data properties in Google Analytics.

Please refer to the Getting Started section above in this document to know how to specify these fields on the RudderStack platform.

My website uses HTTPS. Do I need to change any settings for accurate Google Analytics tracking?

Yes. In the Property Setup, please change the website URL from HTTP (default) to HTTPS as shown:

Changing the website URL from HTTP to HTTPS

Can I view real-time reports of my event data?

Yes, you can. Please check the Real-time reports in Google Analytics. A sample dashboard is as shown:

Real-time event data report

How do I view the already processed events for a particular day?

Please adjust the Google Analytics' default reporting time frame from a month ago to the required date, in order to view the processed events of that day.

Changing the website URL from HTTP to HTTPS

Why are my page views in Google Analytics different when sent from device mode as against the cloud mode?

There could be 2 reasons for this:

  • There can be ad blockers enabled in the user's browser while visiting your site. This blocks the Google Analytics requests from being sent directly from the browser.

  • For the cloud mode, RudderStack is not blocked by ad blockers presently. If the events are sent to Google Analytics via the cloud mode, the actual number of events intended to be sent to Google Analytics are forwarded by the RudderStack server. So, the number of requests from the native mode or device mode is expected to be lower than cloud mode.

The RudderStack JavaScript SDK provides a way of detecting how many page view requests are potentially being blocked by the ad blockers throughout your site pages. Please check the section on Detecting Ad-blocked Pages for more information.

Contact Us

If you come across any issues while configuring Google Analytics with RudderStack, please feel free to contact us or start a conversation on our Discord channel. We will be happy to help you.