29-30 September 2022: SMX Advanced, Berlin
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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Seven years ago, I wrote on my former employer’s (the amazing Reaktor) blog a tongue-in-the-cheek article titled 10 Truths About Data. Looking back on it today, I’m still proud of the handiwork, but I can’t help but think that some of the truths were wasted just to reach the magic number 10. So, today, I want to revisit these truths and provide a rehashed version for you, my dear reader.

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If you want to manually install server-side Google Tag Manager on App Engine in the Google Cloud Platform, you are of course welcome to do so. The main benefits of doing this are that you get to choose the region where App Engine is deployed and that you can use existing project resources instead of having a new project automatically created for you. However, to run the script without errors, there are a number of things you need to enable first.

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Simo Ahava

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

Senior Data Advocate at Reaktor

Finland