Google Analytics ‘Not Set’ vs ‘Not Provided’

By July 19, 2012 Analytics No Comments


Quick and Dirty explanation of the difference in Google Analytics between results which are labeled ‘Not Set’ and those labeled ‘Not Provided’ – and what each of these mean.


Actually, the names are pretty informative…


Not Set

This means that the information about that visit, visitor or pageview was ‘not set’. That is, it doesn’t exist in Google Analytics.

Not Set in Google Analytics

Logical examples of this might be to say the ‘mobile device’ of visitors from desktop views, or the keyword of a direct visit, was ‘not set’ – because such information just does not exist.  These kind of ‘not set’s most often occur in reports you build yourself, and not so much in the standard reports.


‘Not Set’ can occur a lot in your Adwords results in Analytics, and reasons might include;

– Cost data is not applied

– A redirect URL

– Incorrect tagging


Not Provided

Not Provided keywords

This term is used in the keywords report and is due to the privacy changes made by Google in recent times – any people who are logged in to Google while searching will have their natural search keywords blocked, and what you will see is ‘not provided’.  This is likely to be now listed as one of your biggest ‘keywords’ in your keywords report. This will not happen to Google Adwords clicks – you will still get to find out exactly what they typed in (hypocrisy much?).


While Google said it would be  a small amount – for tech websites, and particularly online marketing websites, the percentage of blocked keywords is huge. For it can be as high as 30%, and for others I’m sure it can be higher.


These keywords are blocked not only in Google Analytics, but for all analytics software – so you can’t get away from it. If you were super keen, you might consider reading Avinash Kaushik’s post about potential ways to get this information out – although note he says it is ‘trying to do the impossible’.



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