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First of all, check out this article for an overview of how custom event listeners work in Google Tag Manager. The reason I’m writing this #GTMTips article is that I want to upgrade the solution slightly, and I want to bring it back into the spotlight. Why? Because it’s still one of the most effective ways to customize your Google Tag Manager implementation. A custom event listener is a handler you write with JavaScript.

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve been coding like crazy. The three biggest outcomes of this frenzy have been this new blog design (switched finally away from WordPress and took the plunge back into the world static sites using Hugo), a new Google Sheets add-on for managing Google Tag Manager containers and assets, and a Slack integration in GTM Tools. In this article, I’ll quickly introduce the last two, as I’m writing a separate article about the site redesign.

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When Google released gtag.js, the new, global tracking library designed to (eventually) replace analytics.js, many Universal Analytics practitioners and users were confused (see e.g. Jeff’s great overview here). It seemed like gtag.js wasn’t really solving any immediate problem, since analytics.js had done a bang-up job with Universal Analytics tracking for all these years. However, gtag’s modus operandi is the ability to leverage the same semantic information (distributed across dataLayer!) across a number of Google products, starting with GA and AdWords.

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I really like Google Optimize. It has a fairly intuitive UI, setting up experiments is easy, and there’s integrations for both Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics built into the system. It’s still a JavaScript-based, client-side A/B-testing tool, so problems with flicker and asynchronous loading are ever-present (though this is somewhat mitigated by the page-hiding snippet). One issue with the Google Analytics integration is the difficulty of creating segments for sessions where the users were actively participating in the experiment.

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Scroll depth tracking in web analytics is one of those things you simply must do, especially if you have a content-heavy site. Tracking scroll depth not only gives you an indication of how much users are digesting your content, but it also lets you turn meaningless metrics such as Bounce Rate into something far more useful. If you’ve already been tracking scroll depth in Google Tag Manager, you’ve probably been using either Rob Flaherty’s brilliant Scroll Depth jQuery plugin, or LunaMetrics’ equally ingenious Scroll Tracking recipe.

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Holy visibility, Batman! Visibility is a seriously undervalued aspect of web analytics tracking. Too often, we fall into the trap of thinking that “Page Views” actually have something to do with “viewing” a page. Or that tracking scrolling to 25%, 50%, or 75% of vastly different pages makes sense on the aggregate level. So you will be very pleased to know that the Google Tag Manager team (who have been on FIRE recently), have just published the Element Visibility trigger.

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5 years ago, on 1st October 2012, this lovely video popped up in Google’s Analytics Blog: It was accompanied by a blog post, which contained a brief look into many of Google Tag Manager’s key features, some of which are still relevant today. Google Tag Manager is a free tool that consolidates your website tags with a single snippet of code and lets you manage everything from a web interface.

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Simo Ahava

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

Senior Data Advocate at Reaktor

Finland