September 30, 2023: MeasureCamp London
Google is going all-in with Google Tag. We’ve already seen the consolidation effort through products like Google Analytics 4, and now Google is extending the merging of the tagging stack into Google Tag Manager, too. I’m referring to the new Google Tag that has replaced Google Analytics 4 configuration tags in your Google Tag Manager containers. With this release, all your old GA4 configuration tags have been auto-migrated to the new Google Tag.

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One of the big pain points in configuring Google Analytics 4 through Google Tag Manager has been the difficulty of setting up event parameters, user properties, and settings across a range of tags. Well, we can finally get rid of our clumsy Config tag sequencing hacks because Google has released two new settings variables that mimic how the Google Analytics Settings Variable used to work in Universal Analytics. The new variables are:

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Thank You

Today marks the date of exactly 10 years of marriage to my wife, my friend, the loving mother to our children, and my business partner at Simmer. And yes, they are all the same person – I’m that lucky! Thank you, Mari, for everything.

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Just Breathe

Content warning: introspection, parenthood, “Floating Butt”. When Benjamin (our first child) was born, my life as an individual was unraveled. With every bellow from the newborn’s lungs, I could feel my personal agency slipping away from me. From that magical moment onwards, I’ve been gripped by the polarizing emotions of parenthood. At any given time, I’m galvanized by fear for the well-being of my children, or existentially deadlocked by the calamities of all the possible (terrible) futures for this planet, or (figuratively) high from the amazing content and purpose my children bring to my life.

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In January 2020, when Google Tag Manager’s server-side tagging was first introduced to the general public at SuperWeek, I wrote a flurry of tweets, sharing my vision of a server-side tagging future. In one of the tweets, I discussed how you could do these: Hit validation and fixing before the hit is sent to the endpoint PII and privacy controls for the requests before dispatch Fast forward to today, over three years later, and we are finally treated to a feature that grants us scalable controls to properly interrupt data flows within server-side GTM.

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I owe my career to Google Analytics. Whatever success I have achieved over the past 15 years or so can be directly attributed to my work with GA and, by extension, other tools in the Google stack. Now, Universal Analytics is about to be turned down. It fills me with a sense of nostalgia and pining for past, simpler times. When I cast my mind back, a scattering of memories emerges in my mind:

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The FPID cookie is what server-side Google Tag Manager would prefer to use for your Google Analytics 4 tracking. It’s a cookie set in the HTTP response from the server, and it’s flagged as HttpOnly, which means it’s only accessible by a web server running on the domain on which it was set. There’s nothing wrong with the technology, and I do recommend that server-side setups toggle it on by default.

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Simo Ahava

Husband | Father | Analytics developer
simo (at) simoahava.com

Senior Data Advocate at Reaktor

Finland