Answered

Creating a conversion event for first time callers in GA4

Hi folks!

I'm trying to set up first time callers from CallRail as a conversion event in Google Analytics 4. I followed the steps in https://support.callrail.com/hc/en-us/articles/9495611166733-Google-Analytics-4-Integration to do the CallRail integration and am seeing phone_call events triggering as well as the first time caller custom parameter when I click through to the phone call events.

What I want is for those first time callers to be counted as a conversion event. I've tried a few things, but none of them have worked, so I figured I'd see if anyone here has any ideas. What I thought it should be would be a setup like the screenshot below, but it's not being triggered, even as new callers come in. Is there something I'm missing?

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59 comments
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  • Official comment

    Hi everyone! Laura Lawrie, Principal Product Manager of Integrations here. I've had a few rounds of communication with Google about this issue, and unfortunately, their responses are not promising. It does not seem likely they will do anything to fix this issue. I still maintain that Google's support of this feature for events sent through the API is the most robust solution, and we'll keep pursuing this with them in every way that we can.

    In the meantime, we've added a new configuration to the integration to support the most commonly requested scenario. You can now choose to send calls from first-time callers v. repeat callers as separate events to GA4. This new configuration setting is available now for all customers.

    The default choice is to send every call to the same event (phone_call) so as not to disrupt reporting for our existing integration users. If your integration is already set up and you want to take advantage of the new setting, you need to visit your GA4 integration page, change your selection, and save. New phone calls occurring after you save your changes will start reporting to first_time_phone_call and repeat_phone_call, accordingly. All of the event parameters are the same.

    If you haven't activated your GA4 integration yet, you'll be able to choose how you want the events reported to GA4 during your integration setup.


    Thank you all for your feedback and for giving us the opportunity to do what we could to close this gap.

  • Hey Carlos,

    Do you mind checking on the Events page if you have this custom event set to Mark as Conversion

    Looking forward to hearing from you!

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  • Hi Robin,

    Thanks for checking in on this. I've had it marked as a conversion, like this:

    From the Admin > Events menu, I can see that the regular phone_call event is being triggered. When I click on it and scroll, I can also see that the first time caller parameter is happening too:

    That's all great!

    But, for whatever reason, my custom event from above isn't happening. I think this might be more of an analytics thing, but figured maybe y'all might have some insight. Thanks for your help!

    -Carlos

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  • Hey Carlos,

    Okay, good to know you have that set. The next thing you could try is to use  name = instead of event_name =  in the custom event set up.

    Keep in mind, these changes are not retroactive, and it could take some time for Google to process the changes. 

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  • Alrighty, Robin.

    I've set it up that way. We'll be able to see if it worked tomorrow probably 🤞

    Thanks!

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  • Definitely keep me updated!

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  • Shoot looks like that didn't work 😔 It appears we got one new caller after setting up the event yesterday, which didn't trigger the conversion event. I'll give it another day just to be sure, but in the meantime, do we have any other ideas?

    I tried a few things on my end before posting, which included using contains yes instead of equals yes, and skipping the event_name line completely so that the entire thing was "first_time_caller equals yes," but neither of those got it.

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  • Hey Carlos,

    Thanks for the update. Yes, let's give it another day to see if it's a timing thing.

    Do you mind telling me the company name you're testing this with, so we can dig a little deeper? 

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  • Sure, it's Abel Law Firm 😊

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  • Thank you!

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  • Yeah, it didn't take 😓 Too bad.

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  • Hey Carlos Santiago,

    I'm sorry to hear that! Our product manager said your best next step would be to reach out to Google Analytics support, if you have not already, because, based on your setup, GA should be recording that phone call event and the second custom event you've created if the parameters match. They might have more information for you on why this is not recording as we expect it should. 

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  • Thanks, I'll try them :) I appreciate y'all's help!

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  • I am also having this issue. Carlos if Google Analytics is actually able to tell you anything please share.

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  • Hi Lane,

    I've got a thread there: https://support.google.com/analytics/thread/199241550/callrail-custom-parameter-event

    It's not going well. One response, which I don't think fully understands the setup, has been designated as the "most relevant answer" by an AI. If you can chime in that you're having a similar issue, maybe we can get fresh eyes on it!

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  • Yes, Carlos Santiago , please let us know here if Google provides an answer to this!

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  • Thanks, I marked this as also having the same question

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  • I'm running into the exact same issues. The first_time_caller parameter value is not triggering the custom event in GA. It seems the phone_call event's parameters are not being pushed to GA, perhaps this is why CR recommends defining them as custom dimensions in GA4? If so then it's a poor integration, because no custom events can be created using the phone_call event parameters, hopefully this will be improved soon. It's a pretty big issue, considering most clients are concerned with only new calls. Currently every call triggers a phone call event (conversion/defined value) rather than just the unique ones.This means everyone will need to build custom reports using the CR 'custom dimensions' to analyze the call data against GA4's.

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  • Hey Josh Crane!

    You are correct that custom dimensions and metrics must be built to see additional parameters from CallRail in GA4. Google did not make the necessary attribution fields available to us in GA4, and as a result we cannot send our source and medium data to their default channels. This means you will not see source, medium, campaign, or landing page data for events posted through the GA4 integration. Instead, we will send attribution data like source, medium, and campaign as a custom parameter. This is a Google limitation, which is why we recommend completing the custom dimension and custom metric setup immediately after activating your GA4 integration.

    As for the issue presented in this post, we're hoping Google Analytics support can provide an answer to Carlos about why the custom event is not being reported to. 

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  • Google's finally getting back to me about opening a ticket. They're going to call me at some undisclosed point in time 🤞

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  • Happy to hear that! Thanks for keeping us updated Carlos Santiago.

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  • The person I talked to wasn't able to help 😓 He basically said that he can't help with other software, even after I pointed out that everything on this end seems to be working as intended...

    He mentioned that he'd kick it up the line, but I'm not sure he did 🤷‍♂️

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  • Thanks for the update Carlos. This is what I was alluding to in my initial post. This is a CR issue not a GA4 one. CR's event parameters don't seem to be recognized by Google hence why we need to define them as dimensions. I understand CR may not be able to send medium or source data, however it can send event data. CR's integration needs to create a SEPARATE call event exclusively for new callers as it did with UA (or a least appears to be). 

    I even tried to setup a listener for phone call events in GTM to trigger a custom event, however CR's call event has to be sent directly to an application it's not generated on the site so I this method was unsuccessful. Hopefully CR will update its GA4 integration to include separate events for return calls vs. new calls. 

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  • Hi everyone! Laura Lawrie, Principal Product Manager of Integrations here. I wanted to chime in with some additional insights + information on what we're doing about this. 

    Regarding whether Google is recognizing our custom phone_call events & parameters (including first_time_caller), they are! And there's an excellent way to verify this in your own GA4 property. 
    Go to Reports > Engagement > Events > select phone_call
    If you completed the "custom dimension" setup, you should see a widget for whatever you named the first_time_caller dimension and a count of total events with values yes or no, like this:
    Even if you haven't completed the custom dimension setup, if you have phone_call events that have been processed in the last 30 minutes, you can select first_time_caller (or any of our event parameters) from the dropdown and see what we sent / what Google processed:

    Customers are supposed to be able to make their own custom events based on the values we're sending in those parameters - but it appears to not be working.
     
     
    I've found examples of other developers reporting the same issue in developer forums (for example here and here).
    They are no longer allowing tickets to be opened via that forum, but I submitted a separate request for assistance (on developers.google.com/analytics/help).
     
    We will do our best to get a response from Google on this. It appears to be a bug as far as we can tell, but if there is some workaround or alternate way we need to be sending the data via the Measurement Protocol, we'd like to know that (and will of course make the change ASAP).

    If we're not able to get traction with Google support, our next best option is to give customers the option in the GA4 integration setup to send separate events for first-time vs. repeat callers. We are sending a lot of parameters for each event, and it was our hope customers would have the flexibility to create their own custom events based on any of the parameters we're sending and even combinations of multiple parameters, so we'd really like to know first if Google plans to address this bug before implementing a workaround.

    We definitely recognize & agree that this is frustrating, so thanks for your patience while we try to work with Google on this. We'll report here once we have a better idea of the resolution. 
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  • Good morning everyone!

    As a quick update to what Laura said above, Google has responded to her request saying their team is aware of the issue. However, they have not given any sort of timeline on when this will be resolved. 

    In the meantime, you can set up integration triggers in CallRail to only send first time calls to GA4. Then when you select the phone call event in GA4 to mark as a conversion, all of those phone call events will be first time callers only. While I know this isn't a good option for everyone, I hope it can be helpful while we wait on a resolution from Analytics. 

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  • Thank you for the prompt follow up and sharing the integration trigger tip Robin. It's a simple solution to accomplish what we need until Google is able to address CR's request.

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  • Of course! I'm glad to know it's helpful. 

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  • Hi all,

    Just wanted to chime in that I, too, am curious to see if this can be resolved between the CR integration and GA4. We are trying to create a custom event marked as conversion for first_time_caller = yes AND call_duration >= 180. The reason I mention this is because I hope when troubleshooting you can perform tests for multiple parameter conditions.

    We want to keep the events separate so that we can build a comparison report between all incoming calls and "qualified" calls. This is why it is critical to maintain the original phone_call event in GA4, which defeats the purpose if we use CR integration triggers. However, my understanding is that there is no other way to do this at the moment. Hoping we can get this resolved soon.

    Thanks for your attention to this. Good luck!

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  • Hey Roland King,

    Thanks for chiming in on this. Yes, we look forward to getting a resolution from Google, as I definitely understand how that integration trigger workaround is not a valid solution for everyone.

    Welcome to the community!

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  • Any update on what works for First Time caller data? Our account was just migrated and now I have no data, other than phone_call conversions. My chat conversions are not mapping correctly either...

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