GA4 Reporting on phone_call Custom Dimensions is Inconsistent

Hello CallRail Community,

I am working with a plethora of existing CallRail clients, and we have been enabling the GA4 integration. After learning by doing and also connecting with some Support resources, we concluded that there is currently no reliable way to collect the custom dimensions in GA4 because of the timing at which CallRail sends them. We went back and forth at length with Support, including hopping on a call. They will be escalating the known bug to their product and engineering counterparts, because this known gap applies to all CallRail customers, not just ours. In the meantime, we were provided with a link to the community forum to share our knowledge and open up the conversation for improvements to the CallRail custom dimensions made available.

To be clear, we are already aware that only the first-touch/user level acquisition data is standardly available, and not the session level (only as custom dimensions). We do hope in time that GA4 makes this easier for third-party systems.

Root issue:

We are finding the campaign name is inconsistent on when it pulls into GA4, sometimes as the id and sometimes as the name. We learned that the "campaign" custom dimension is populating respective to the data that is available at the time CallRail sends it, which we now know is when the call ends. And there is no delay on that, which means any call details missing when the call ends are sent to GA4 in a different format than expected or not at all (i.e. (not set)). Universal Analytics consistently pulled in the campaign name but GA4 is not.

Proposed solution:

If we can have a delay set on when call details reach GA4, say a few hours delay instead of when the call ends, so there is time for all the session-level data to process, that would have a much higher success rate of populating GA4 as expected. Implementing a delay (i.e. having batch requests send the call details until all pertinent custom dimensions are populated) is the only way I see this working. But that's my non-dev brain stating that. By having batch API calls, or by having a decently long delay on the sending of the "phone_call" event to GA4, seems to be the only fix. 

GA4 already is generally delayed by ~24 hours from when real-time activity took place to when the reports actually collect user activity, so setting a delay on CallRail > GA4 would not be anything different. For example, we don't see form fills from today usually until tomorrow. 
Thanks all for any input you have to share and/or any effort being made to improve the CallRail integration with GA4.


Date Votes
  • Official comment

    Good morning Casey,

    The reason the campaign name showed consistently in UA is because we were able to send the gclid to a standard field in Analytics. This allowed the gaps to be filled with information from Google ads based on the gclid. GA4 does not offer this same field for us to send the gclid to. This is something we requested them to offer. 

    For GA4, until Analytics makes that available to us, one workaround is to swap the Google Ads ValueTrack parameter that dynamically populates the campaign ID for the campaign name. The downside is you'll have to set up your templates at the campaign level and manually maintain your tracking templates, but it would mean you'd always have the campaign's name for Google Ad calls at the time of the event, instead of the ID (which we replace with the name overnight). 

    So the practical change you would need to make in the tracking template is replace this part: campaign={campaignid} with campaign={the actual name of the campaign}.

    You'd also have to move your tracking templates to the campaign level if they're not there already.
    I do understand this requires some additional manual action on your end, and I apologize for that. We're really hoping Google will get back to us and implement these changes.
    Please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any other thoughts or questions, and welcome to the community! 
  • Thanks Robin - we are already aware of the gclid issue and are past that concern. We have also been told of this campaign-level workaround, which is certainly something in the meantime, but does not address the product enhancements and suggestions I have made above.

    My question is talking about the timing of when the call details are sent to GA4 in the form of custom dimensions. I was using the campaign id as the example for why these proposed changes could be beneficial. The T3 Support rep working with us, Bobby Zapf, shared that it has been a popular request by CallRail customers to delay the timing of when all the call details send to GA4. The issue seemed to be related to that, and therefore causing the inconsistency with the campaign id not always mapping to the "campaign" custom dimension. 

    I just want to really push on this because my counterpart hopped on a call with your Support Team and the call concluded in it being a known CallRail bug, so this is not entirely all on Google from our understanding. There are improvements to be made to the CallRail data collection flow (i.e. to the custom dimensions): GAds > CallRail > GA4. 

  • Hey Casey,

    Thank you for clarifying this for me! I misunderstood the main issue you were wanting addressed here. I'm happy to hear you're working with our Tier 3 team, and they're looking into additional enhancements. They are definitely your best point of contact for this. 

    In the meantime, I am interested to hear from other community members if this enhancement is something they would also like to see. Let us know your use case for this in the comments below and/or upvote the initial post above!

  • @... Yes I would like to hear more about this solve. One of the CallRail support team members recommended moving to another tool since this seems to be not possible, so if we can find another solution then my agency will not have to migrate clients to another platform. 


    Looking forward to finding a solution.


  • The use case is every single client connecting their CallRail account to GA4 and wanting consistent session-level attribution data (via the custom dimensions) available to pull insights from. CallRail reporting alone is not enough to draw insights, so consistent call details data in GA4 is incredibly valuable.

    CallRail Support actually told us the Community forum was our best option at this point to raise product enhancements and feature requests. I think we've hit a dead end with Support, though they were very helpful, so I turned to writing my post. We want to make sure that this feedback and input is being relayed to the appropriate resources who engineer the integrations, because this will continue to be an issue raised by many others.

    While no one may be clicking the upvote option, I can at least share that this post was written on behalf of Jake's agency as well as three others that I am working with, all reporting the same concern. As GA4 becomes the sole version of Google Analytics collecting data after July 1 of this year, this issue will definitely be reported more and more in the coming months. Most are still just now getting their feet wet and don't yet know of these such data gaps. 

  • Good morning Jake Barufkin & Casey Ducinski,

    I definitely understand the use case for you and your team, and this is the place to go for product enhancement ideas and feature requests. I was more so referencing if there is a bug in our system, our support team is the place to go to get that resolved. However, the feature request you and your team are making with the delay feature is something that should be brought up in community (as you have done in this post), and a feature request has been submitted on your behalf to our product team to review. 

    If any updates are made regarding this, I will let you know in this thread here.


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