How to Build a Google Tag Manager Monitor

Google Tag Manager is strictly a tag delivery system, and it’s very careful not to collect any analytics data on its own. This is most likely a deliberate choice, because if GTM was to start collecting data, it would introduce additional barriers to adoption. Nevertheless, being a tool that consolidates the design, development, deployment, and testing of all the marketing and analytics pixels, code snippets, and utilities running on a website or a mobile app, lacking the necessary features for auditing and monitoring has always seemed like an oversight. Read More…

Enhanced Ecommerce Object Builder Template for Google Tag Manager

One of the cool things about Enhanced Ecommerce deployments in Google Tag Manager is that you can use a Custom JavaScript variable to generate the necessary data. There are many reasons to do so, with the biggest one being the flexibility it offers for manipulating the dataLayer object in case quick changes are required on the site, and it would take too long to wait for a new release of the site JavaScript. Read More…

#GTMTips: Send Page Visibility State to Google Analytics

One of my pet peeves about Google Analytics has to do with nomenclature. For example, a User isn’t really a user but a browser instance, and Direct traffic isn’t necessarily “direct” at all, but rather just traffic that has no discernible source. But being so invested in content analytics, my biggest gripe has to do with Pageviews. A Pageview in Google Analytics is collected when a hit with the hit type pageview is received successfully by the Google Analytics endpoint. Read More…

#GTMTips: Create Facebook Pixel Custom Tag Template

After the recent release of Custom Templates for Google Tag Manager, my mind has been occupied by very little else. However, I have a nagging feeling that due to how involved the feature set is, there’s still a lot of demystifying that needs to take place before templates are fully embraced by the GTM user base. In this article, I want to show you a concrete example of template creation. Read More…

Custom Templates Guide for Google Tag Manager

As I have finally managed to pick up my jaw from the floor, it’s now time to tell you what’s got me so excited. Google Tag Manager recently released a new feature called Custom Templates. Actually, it’s not fair to call it a feature. It’s a full-blown paradigm shift in how we use Google Tag Manager. It’s a suite of features designed to help brands, companies, and users create and share their own custom JavaScript and HTML setups with ease, while taking care that the code is optimized for delivery in the web browser. Read More…

#GTMTips: Fetch the Latest Value of a Data Layer Variable

One of Google Tag Manager’s oldest and most reliable features is that it freezes the state of Data Layer variables to the moment when the trigger event occurred. Thus, any tags firing on this trigger (and any variables resolved on this trigger event) will always have access to the same value of each Data Layer variable. However, there are situations where this is not a good thing. One is tag sequencing, and the other is a scenario where you want to run some custom code that should access the latest value of the Data Layer variable at a moment in time after the tag has already fired. Read More…

CSS Selector Guide for Google Tag Manager

Some four years ago, Google Tag Manager released a new trigger predicate named matches CSS selector. Slowly but surely, it has evolved into one of the most useful little features in GTM. Even though I’ve written about CSS selectors many times before, I wanted to compile all the relevant information into a single guide. For an external resource, I recommend bookmarking the w3schools.com CSS Selector Reference. But for your day-to-day use of CSS selectors in GTM, this guide will hopefully prove useful. Read More…

Trigger Groups in Google Tag Manager

Trigger Group is the newest trigger type you can add to a tag in Google Tag Manager. It allows you to establish dependencies between multiple triggers, not firing the tag until every trigger in the group has fired at least once. This establishes an interesting new paradigm in Google Tag Manager, because until now it wasn’t possible to create triggers that relied on earlier values of a given key (event in this case). Read More…

Send Event Hits Before Pageview Hits in Google Analytics

One of the myths surrounding Google Analytics is that the first hit of a session should always be a pageview. It makes sense - sessions are initialized with a landing page, and thus need a page view to have one. However, in this article I want to show you empirically how this myth is just that - a myth. There is little discernible impact if the first hit of a session is an event, and GA is more than capable of stitching the first event together with the subsequent pageview into a session entity. Read More…

#GTMTips: Create Utility Variables by Returning Functions

In Google Tag Manager, the Custom JavaScript variable is an anonymous function with a return statement. It does not take any parameters, and by default it’s impossible to pass any parameters to it, because the Custom JS variable is simply resolved to whatever value the function returns. If it returns a number, for example, passing a parameter to it would make no sense and would result in a TypeError since the variable resolves to a number, not a function. Read More…