GA4: Tag Settings and Data Filters

October 29, 2020 - Written by

As you may know Google App+Web has been rebranded to Google Analytics 4 just a couple of weeks ago. The idea is to focus on customer-centric measurement, instead of have data fragmented by device or by platform.

Being a long-time tester, as always happens when a new Google’s product is rolling out, new features are released and popup any day now! And GA4 is no exception.

From today  “Tag Settings” and “Data Filter” features are available. Let’s dig into this.

Google Analytics 4: Tag Setting

You can find the new feature inside the section Admin > Property > Streams; once you click the data stream of your interest you will have a screen that looks the following:

Click Tagging Settings and from now on you can:

  • Modify events and parameters straight from GA4 console
  • Create new events starting from existing events
  • Configure CROSS Domain tracking
  • Identify your internal traffic

Modify Events

It allows to modify events or parameters that are collected via GA4.

When I could use it? Let’s see a couple of examples:

A basic example of using “modify events” can be the tracking of the same event for iOS and Android apps, that can be declined using two different names. The product preview in a page category inside the ecommerce for iOS is named preview_single_product, while for Android is preview_product. This feature allows to modify and unify them into single_product_preview.

A further example is related to the typos during the configuration: it happens that instead of naming the event view_product, we incorrectly named it view_prodduct. No problem at all: it’s so easy to rename and amend the event.

The parameters associated with the events can be easily modified picking up from the suggested dropdown menu.

Create Events

GA4 offers the opportunity to create a new event starting from one or more events we are already tracking. See the example below.

Supposing we need to track the view checkout event, as somehow we consider it as conversion. Without developing any lines of code (GTM/hardcoded, etc) we can access the ‘Create event’ screen and set:

Please note that you have to pay attention to the order in which the elements are modified because, as for the filters, the order is relevant.

Cross Domain Tracking

One of the features that at the moment was not so easy to understand was the cross domain. From now on it will be easy to create directly from the Admin panel of the tool!

Cross domain allows to unify, in a single data stream, data collected by two or more different domains. When we use this feature be aware that the enhanced measurement of outbound links towards one of the domains we are considering doesn’t work anymore.

Similar to Universal Analytics an identification parameter is passed into the URL, just like ?gl=1*value*_ga_*value*

Internal Traffic Setting

How to exclude our internal or a supplier’s traffic from our site traffic?

Compared to what we know is a little bit more complex from a logical point of view, but let’s see.

GA4 asks to define a “rule” including one or more IPs that represent our internal traffic. The rule is going to populate the event “traffic_type” that will be the only chance to identify the internal traffic.

Now in order to filter our traffic we need to move on to the second new feature: filters!

GA4 Data Filters

To reach the feature you have to follow the path Admin > Property > Data Settings > Data Filters.

You will find the default exclude filter “Internal Traffic” set to “Testing” mode.

Now you have to different filters: Internal Traffic and Developer Traffic.

  • Internal Traffic: it is identified by the event “traffic_type” and includes the value that we are going to specify by the rule we previously mentioned
  • Developer Traffic: includes or excludes the traffic with the parameter debug_mode=1 or debug_event=1. So as to ensure test data are not mixing with the property.

If compared to Universal Analytics, in addition to Exclude/Include we have a new parameter named Filter State which consists of:

  • Testing: Analytics examines the filter but doesn’t apply the permanent changes and data are identified with the name and value of the following dimensions: –> name: test data filter, value: value data filter
  • Active: filters are applied and the changes are permanent
  • Inactive: filter is not considered

At present GA4 has an upper limit of 10 filters each property; filters’ attributes applied in UA still persist.

What do you think about the new features? What would you like Google to implement in the new GA4?

Comments 13 Replies to “GA4: Tag Settings and Data Filters”
  1. I was frustrated by the limitations of GA4 internal traffic filtering by just IP addresses. The first-party cookie method is much better, but then you have to make your company employees regularly revisit a link with the “internal” URL parameter, which also doesn’t work in the long run.

    Hopefully, I’ve found the best possible solution by user self-identification right on the website (any page, any device).
    Here’s my proposal.

  2. I’m having trouble figuring out how to exclude stage/prod traffic. In UA, I had an account filter that looked at the url string and excluded urls with those values. Now, the only options are developer traffic and internal traffic? I don’t see any way to do this, please help…

    • Hi Litmon,
      unfortunately in GA4 you can only filter IPs address.
      If you want to exclude something on the fly you have to use Compare (standard reports) or Segments (Explore section)

  3. Enrico have you seen documentation stating that customTask works with GA4? I haven’t found anything and haven’t tested yet.

    • Hi Matt,

      at the moment there aren’t any docs regarding customTask for GA4: I think we need to wait some new development!

  4. Is there a way to exclude internal traffic based on cookies….Because in a pandemic, It is very difficult to filter out the traffic by IP address since many are dynamic IP addresses. So, Is there any way to exclude internal traffic in GA4…If yes, Please write a blog on the topic, Would be very useful!!

    • Hi Vishnu,

      Sure it is possible but not directly via GA4!
      We can exclude users traffic setting a cookie, read it via your TMS and then use it to exclude internals: will write something about it!

  5. Hi Enrico,

    thanks for a great tutorial. Do you have any idea how one can filter out internal traffic from a dynamic IP-address (that changes once a while)? With a dynamic IP-address it is not possible / not convenient to enter an IP-address in the rule for traffic_type. I heared something that it might be possible to achieve with GA4 by creating a cookie on the machines that are to be considered to cause internal traffic.



    • Hi Robert
      At the moment it is a little bit harder to exclude dynamic IP using GA4.
      I will encourage you to use the customTask from Google Tag Manager to do it.
      Hopefully in the future, GA4 could manage the IP exclusion using also custom dimension (as per UA right now)

  6. GA4 is growing on me, but I’ve set up Data Studio reports using GA3. The difference is so remarkable, however, that I’m forced to redesign my Data Studio reports.

    One thing that bugs me, and perhaps you can shed some light on it, Enrico, is how I add acquisition reports to Data Studio.

    I simply for the life of me cannot figure out how to show clients where their traffic is coming from.

    However, acquisition reports are available in GA4. It just doesn’t seem to be pulled through to Data Studio.

    Or am I missing something?

    I thought that I might have to apply a filter somewhere. Beats me where, though.

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