Jan 30 – Feb 3, 2023: SuperWeek, Hungary
If you recall, in February 2019, Apple published a post on the WebKit blog, which introduced version 2.1 of their Intelligent Tracking Prevention browser mechanism. In this version, Safari (and soon all WebKit browsers, including browser apps on iOS and iPadOS) placed an expiration limit on browser cookies set with JavaScript. It was no longer possible to set the expiration date further than 7 days in the future. In a recent 2022 release (I don’t have the exact date or version number), WebKit has now modified this mechanism to no longer set an expiration cap on JavaScript cookies.

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I have been a strong supporter of server-side tagging, in particular Google’s server-side tag management solution. I admire the way it seeks to readjust the balance of control that typically has been in favor of the marketing vendors whose JavaScript libraries have been free to wreak havoc in the user’s browser. By inserting a buffer between the user and the vendor, the owner of the server-side tagging setup can take control over what data the marketing vendors can actually process of the user.

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This is a guest post – the first one in a long time! The foreword and summary are written by me, Simo, and the rest is by my esteemed guest author. How fortunate was I to have been contacted by Arben Kqiku, Digital Marketing & Data Manager from comtogether. Arben is one of our many Simmer students, and he’s walked through the Query GA4 Data In Google BigQuery course, learning a lot along the way.

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With the sunset announcement of the Universal Analytics service, it certainly does seem like a waste of time to write articles about it. However, a recent update to Google Tag Manager is an interesting one and should provide relief to those Google Analytics users who are set on double-tagging their sites for both Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 and who want to make use of GA4’s new Data Layer schema.

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For the longest time, Google has been working towards consolidation of their products to build a unified tagging platform. Products that are instrumented (or associated) with “tags” would fall under this umbrella. These comprise tools like Google Tag Manager, Google Ads, Google Optimize, and, of course, Google Analytics. If you’ve been peeking under the hood, you might have noticed how all the tools listed above already run through the gtag.js library.

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With certain types of HTTP requests, the web browser might first dispatch a request with the OPTIONS method, also known as a preflight request. The purpose of the preflight request is to “check” with the web server that it’s equipped to handle the type of cross-origin request the browser wants to dispatch. If the server doesn’t handle this preflight request, or if it returns a response that doesn’t agree with what the web browser wants to actually dispatch, the check fails and the browser refuses to send the actual request.

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Server-side Google Tag Manager has an excellent Preview mode, which lets you inspect incoming requests, monitor the event data object, view console messages, and identify outgoing requests, among other things. To enable this Preview mode on the web, you simply need to click the Preview button in the container, after which any requests sent from the same browser instance will be automatically shown in the Preview mode window. However, what about if you want to send requests from another browser?

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Simo Ahava

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

Senior Data Advocate at Reaktor

Finland