Google Analytics 4 Debug View

Data AnalyticsPaid SearchPerformance Media

One of the more useful features of Google Analytics 4 is the new Debug View, which allows you to see all the information and events you’re sending to the Google Analytics 4 property in real time. While it’s likely not a feature you will be using on a regular basis, it is extremely handy for when you’re setting up or testing your analytics setup as you can see and dissect the events that are coming into your GA4 property.

How to activate DebugView

There are multiple ways of activating Debug mode and using DebugView:

  • Google Analytics Debugger Chrome Extension:
    You can easily enable Debug mode by installing the GA Debug Chrome extension and activating it. This will refresh the current tab with the debug mode active.

  • Google Tag Manager Tag Assist Preview:

If you’re using Google Tag Manager on your site (which we recommend you do), then you can use the Tag Assistant preview to enable debug mode for all the events that your browser will send.

If you’d like to enable debug mode on all events for all traffic, then you can update the GA4 Configuration Tag with the following field and publish a new container:

Depending on the amount of traffic your site sees, we don’t recommend using this method as it could flood DebugView with too many events, making it difficult to use.

If you’d like to enable debug mode for a specific event rather than all events, then you can add the above field to the individual event tag instead.

  • Google Tag:

If you’re a little more technically inclined, you can directly edit the Gtag by adding the following line to the gtag config:

gtag(‘config’, ‘MEASUREMENT-ID’, { ‘debug_mode’: true)};

Or to an event tag:

gtag(‘event’, ‘EVENT-NAME’, { ‘debug_mode’: true)};

Using DebugView

To find DebugView within GA4, navigate to the Config tab on the left and then choose DebugView:

You should see a timeline view like below:

If you click an individual event, you will bring up the Event Parameters pane and be able to view what data is being sent with the event. Here’s a quick rundown of what you can see on DebugView:

  • Minutes Timeline: This timeline is the larger scale timeline and allows you to view the amount of events that debug mode received every minute, as well as indicating the time period for the Seconds Timeline.

  • Seconds Timeline: This timeline is the main one of DebugView and allows you to see each individual event received by GA4 in debug organised by second received.

  • Event Parameters: By clicking on an individual event in the Seconds Timeline, you can bring up the Event Parameters tab. This will allow you to see the event and user parameters being sent with the event.

  • Event Summary: This box will show you an aggregate count of all the different events received in the last 30 mins.

  • User Properties Active Now: This will show all the custom user properties (dimensions in UA) that are being actively recorded by GA in the last 30 mins.

So next time you’re not sure if the numbers you’re seeing in GA4 are correct or if you’re a little unsure about whether something is being tracked correctly, turn on DebugMode and give DebugView a try.


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