We use Google Analytics to measure traffic coming from our marketing campaigns. For one of our customers we are currently running vastly different campaigns on the same site. To easily split the results we have made a 10 second on site goal for the specific pages on the site. In Google Tag Manager I have set up a Timer to fire after 10 seconds on specific pages.

Example: Campaign A has a landing page for /housing/example/1. 10 seconds goal A is firing on all /housing/x pages.

Campaign B has a landing page for /vacancy/example/1. 10 seconds goal B is firing on all /vacancy/ pages.

When looking at the results for our LinkedIn Campaign I can see the regular duration goal from Google Analytics, which is also set to 10 seconds, fire much less than the event goal fired from Google Tag Manager. This should not happen seeing as the regular duration goal is firing on all pages and my custom goal is only firing on specific pages.

I asume this is because the duration goal from Google Analytics only fires once per site and my Google Tag Manager event will fire every page.

My question is if this assumption is correct and if there is a way to set custom event goals to only fire once per site in Google Analytics.

1 Answer 1


Google Analytics' goals may be off due to the fact that they either measure the time between interactional events or between actual pageviews. While Google Tag Manager doesn't care about events, it just runs a real timer.

Your GTM 10 second event is likely non-interactional. Try making it interactional and that may influence GA's goal significantly. Or try issuing a pageview instead of an event from GTM :) Pageview with the same URL, but just append some query parameters to indicate that it's a 10-second timer. Well, OK, sending pageviews like that may be an overkill, but this would be an interesting test.

Your note about the fact that your GA goal is everywhere and GTM goal is on a few pages makes no difference because you only take into account the pages where GTM is tracking the event.

I really didn't get the last part of the question. Once per site? Maybe you can clarify that.

  • According to your explanation Google Analytics timed events fire based on interactional events which was my first thought as wel! Do you know what interactional events are measured by default by the google analytics universal analytics tag? The last part of my question was about the amount of times a goal is tracked per session. I feel like the 10 second goal will only fire once per session and the event goal will track multiple events per session. for example; some one visits 5 pages and has 10 seconds between switching pages duration goal: 1 conversion event goal: 5 conversions Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 14:06
  • formatting in these comments is awefull Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 14:06
  • Sending multiple page views on one page will mess with the reporting in other ways so i wouldn't want to do that. Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 14:09
  • That's the problem with default GA. It doesn't send any events. GA4 does send some by default, but they won't be useful for your purposes. You have to understand that the goals don't fire. They're analyzed by GA after the data is in. So if a user comes to a page, spends 10 seconds and leaves, GA won't record a goal cuz it only sees one pageview and nothing else. That's why it needs another interactional event from this user in this session to be able to calculate the time difference between them and count a goal.
    – BNazaruk
    Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 16:33

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