We've set up a new website, based on Wordpress. We use Google Tag Manager (as on the old website) and new for this website, Google Analytics 4. We're getting a lot of data as you'd expect, but we're not getting any data on engagement time. There doesn't seem to be any problem with other events, but the user_engagement event doesn't seem to be firing. It should be automatic, so there's nothing I can do to turn it off or on. We're also still using universal analytics, but from what I've read, they should be able to work side by side.

How can I go about tracking down why this event isn't firing? (Other events are working: page_view, session_start, first_visit, scroll.)


1 Answer 1


Set up the Google analytics debugger for Chrome and look for the _et parameter being sent.

If the site is new and the parameter is sent as reported by the debugger, GA might not have enough data to accurately report engagement time. It could be a waiting game.

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When I navigate to another page, I see this for _et:

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That should represent the engagement time for my session as I now have visited more than one page.

  • I wasn't aware of that, so that's really useful. When I say the site is new, it's 4 months old, so there is probably enough data. I can see the _et parameter, so I have a followup question - the figures I'm getting are less than 100 (presumably milliseconds). This ties in with the engagement time graphs, which have times of less than a second on it. Why are they so low? Jan 26, 2023 at 16:40
  • @paulmorriss I couldn't conclusively tell you. I know that I don't see the param _et until I fire an event and the time can be quite small. So, it seems to represent user interaction time with that event. Page view is an event and the engagement time would be different (larger) I would presume,
    – jen
    Jan 26, 2023 at 17:01

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