New Google Analytics Jargon: “Not Set” & “Not Provided”

/New Google Analytics Jargon: “Not Set” & “Not Provided”

New Google Analytics Jargon: “Not Set” & “Not Provided”

If you haven’t noticed, Google has also recently upgraded its Analytics, and I’ve listed many of the new features here. In this article I’d like to discuss two relatively new phrases that are showing up within people’s Google Analytics’ accounts: “not set” and “not provided.” These terms, while similar, have two different meanings.

What does “not set” mean in Google Analytics?

“Not set” appears in the traffic sources section of Google Analytics and it means that you the user did not enter your website through a keyword; they came from a  referral site. Previously, this designation meant that your are using Google Adwords, but Google is unable to find the matching click from the Adwords account that is currently linked to your Analytics account. In order to check this you’ll want to:

1) Login to Adwords

2) Select the Reporting tab and choose “Google Analytics”

3) Select “I already have a Google Anlytics account”

For thorough instructions on linking your Analytics and Adwords accounts click here.

What does “not provided” mean in Google Analytics?

“Not provided,” like “not set,” appears in the traffic sources section but it has an entirely different meaning. “Not provided” means that the person who visited your website was logged into Google at the time of their search or their visit. Therefore, because of Google’s new privacy policy, you cannot track any of the keywords that they used to find your website. This can be very frustrating for marketing agencies trying to track results from their efforts.

So is there any way around the “not provided” results in Analytics? No, as long as people are logged into Google you won’t be able to see which keywords brought them to your website. However, you can track their average time on the site, bounce rate, and conversion rate, to name a few.

If you have any questions about the jargon in Google Analytics, or using Google Analytics in general, then contact Turbo Social Media, or give us a call at 877-673-7096 x2.

By |2016-12-23T12:42:27+00:00January 31st, 2012|Google Adwords, Google Analytics|9 Comments

About the Author:

Tom joined Matt in 2010, helping co-found Turbo Medical Marketing. As COO, Tom oversees all production and works directly with both the executive team and the Account Managers. Tom has helped to formulate systems and processes for sales, business development, internal marketing, service offerings, client intake, and employee hiring and training. You can get a sense of Tom's marketing knowledge, as well as pick up some marketing tips and insights, by checking out the Turbo blog that he contributes to weekly. Tom has also spoken at several aesthetic conferences in the past about topics ranging plastic surgery technology to mobile marketing. Tom received his B.A. in Business Management Economics from the University of California at Santa Cruz. He is a former collegiate rugby player and he enjoys golfing, snowboarding, hiking, and playing with his dog Yogi in his spare time. He's also a mentor with the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program in Charleston. Tom lives with his wife Lindsay in Mt. Pleasant, SC.


  1. Very April 21, 2012 at 9:44 am - Reply

    Pretty interesting. This website just keeps me coming back. Right now there s definitely not much otherwise to say regarding it 🙂 thanks.

  2. John Wheatcroft August 1, 2012 at 2:09 am - Reply

    We DO NOT use Adwords at all yet we still get the phrase “Not Set” in our traffic reports. I don’t think this article is correct in it’s definition of “Not Set”

    • Tom Sullivan August 1, 2012 at 6:26 am - Reply

      Thanks for your comment John, and you’re right, technically “not set” means all referral traffic that did not come in through a keyword. At the time this article was written “not set” only applied to Google Adwords referral traffic. It has been adjusted.

  3. Amy Marshall August 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    Ok, but why is “not set” showing up in the Organic Search report? Shouldn’t that exclude referral traffic? Which would mean there would not be any referrals listed, only visits from a search engine?

    • Tom Sullivan September 7, 2012 at 12:58 pm - Reply

      Great question Amy. “Not set” showing up in the organic search results is something I’ve noticed as well. From what I understand this is likely a Google-related issue or bug. I’ve heard people, who are running Adwords campaigns, running into problems attributed to faulty auto-tagging on destination URLs and gclid redirection for keywords in paid campaigns, but am still researching the issue.

      I welcome any other thoughts on this dilemma.

  4. Avish Kumar . R October 16, 2012 at 3:49 am - Reply

    Thanks for giving correct accurate information , manually i checked both differences once again thanks a lot

    • Tom Sullivan October 16, 2012 at 5:55 am - Reply

      Thank you Avish

  5. […] keyword. Keep in mind that many of your results will say ‘(not provided)’, which means Google cannot disclose the keyword they used because that user was logged in. Still, the info is valuable […]

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