How to activate and use GA4 realtime report

Similar to Universal Analytics, Google Analytics 4 has a realtime report where you can see the last 30 minutes of your website visitors’ activity. Apart from that, you can get more information about their actions, sources that brought them to your website, countries where they are from and what audiences they are in. 

The realtime report is a crucial element of Google Analytics 4. Therefore let’s start understanding how to find it in the tool.

What’s Realtime Report, and where to find it in GA4

So, as I mentioned above, the Realtime report shows the last 30-minute information about your website. It also allows you to answer any questions you can have, some of them are:

  • The number of users (new and returning) on your website during the last 30 minutes
  • The breakdown of website users by devices (mobile, tablet and desktop)
  • User acquisition information (source, medium, campaign
  • See the breakdown of new and returning users by audiences
  • Pages the website users visit
  • Events information
  • Custom definitions (event parameters and user properties)
  • You can also test your new ga4 filters or compare different segments. 

You can find the Realtime report in GA4 -> Report -> Realtime.

where to see GA4 Realtime
GA4 Realtime report

Besides the data I mentioned above, you can see the user path of a random user by viewing user snapshots. The user snapshot also shows you the following information:

  • user’s device 
  • user’s app version and location
  • user’s events 
  • user’s properties
GA4 User Snapshot report
GA4 User Snapshot report

Although plenty of information is available in the report, it’s crucial to understand when you should use it and when you should use another GA4 reports. Let me give you a few examples to clarify it. 

Why and how to use GA4 Realtime report

Hence, there are a few cases when you can find GA4 Realtime report useful.

  1. You are setting up Google Analytics 4 and want to check if your installation is correct. You can add the code via Google Tag Manager and check if your GA4 property receives the first data. All other reports will show the data in 24-48 hours, so this is the first report that can show you if your installation is correct. However, remember that it’s better to use the GA4 DebugView report instead in such a situation. 
  2. You are sending new events via GA4 Measurement protocol or API and you want to know if GA4 receives it. GA4 Realtime and GA4 DebugView reports can answer this question. 
  3. You kicked off the campaign and you are interested to see how many users you acquired during the last 30 minutes. You can use Realtime report for that. However, you can feel limited with these 30 minutes, therefore, I recommend setting up another real-time report that will allow you to see all today’s data. 
  4. You are interested in understanding the users’ journey and want to look more specifically at it using user snapshots. For instance, you can find that your Realtime report shows (not found) page and you can figure out what exactly link was clicked by a user to get to this page. After that, you can fix the link and improve user flow.

These are the primary cases when you can find GA4 Realtime report useful. If you have your own that wasn’t mentioned, please don’t hesitate to share it in the comment section.

The most popular one is the first one. It’s pervasive that people use this report to troubleshoot their GA4 implementation. However, sometimes GA4 Realtime report doesn’t work, and we don’t know why. So let’s look at what you can do in this case.

GA4 Realtime report doesn’t work?

If the GA4 Realtime report doesn’t work, you can take the following steps to fix it:

  1. Check if your GA4 code is installed correctly. If you used Google Tag Manager, please make sure you published the container after adding the code. The GA4 Realtime report wouldn’t work if you didn’t publish it. 
  2. If you installed the GA4 code on the new website, it could show 0 users because no one visits your website. Open your website, visit a few pages and check if GA4 started to show it.
  3. If all of that don’t help you, you can contact me by posting your case below or emailing me

Wrapping Up

GA4 Realtime report is the first report you can use when you just installed GA4 code on your website. It can answer many questions, including users’ sources, countries, and devices and show you their actions. You can find more about that by reading my article above.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is GA4 realtime report not working?

The primary reasons why GA4 Realtime report is not working can be lack of active users on your website or wrong code implementation. 

What are the benefits of GA4 realtime report? 

GA4 Realtime report can help you to know traffic source, medium, device type, country, actions and properties. It shows the data about the last 30 minutes.

Can I use GA4 realtime report to troubleshoot my analytics implementations? 

You can use Realtime report to troubleshoot GA4 implementation, but the best way to do this is by using DebugView report. 

How accurate is Google Analytics 4 Realtime report?

GA4 Realtime report has a slight delay, but it shows 100% of your website’s last 30 minutes’ data.

What can you find in the GA4 Realtime report?

GA4 Realtime report shows the following website (or app) stats: traffic source, medium, device type, country, actions and properties. It shows the data about the last 30 minutes.


2 Replies to “How to activate and use GA4 realtime report”

  1. Hmm it seems like your site ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I
    guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your

  2. Hi there, our Realtime reports works 95% correctly! The only data missing from it is the “Users by First user source” – the first widget on the left. We see all other data just not the acquasition visit source in the Realtime reprot. Very strange. Our other acquasition report is fine and collects data correctly. Regards

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