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This is an implementation guide for Google Analytics 4. The guide is aimed at Google Tag Manager users and has been designed to complement the official documentation. A thing to keep in mind is that Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is still very new. The Google Tag Manager integration is still in its infancy, and implementation places a lot of responsibility on accurate tagging and proper dataLayer instrumentation. In this guide, I’ll explain the new data model from an implementation perspective, and walk you through the nuts and bolts on how to get the different parts of GA4’s Ecommerce machine to work in unison.

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Last updated 21 October 2020: Clarified some technical details about the new Preview process. Your favorite tagging platform, Google Tag Manager, now comes equipped with a completely revamped preview mode experience. Gone are the days of having to minimize the debug pane to prevent it from hogging up screen real estate on the website. Gone are the days of having to use browser extensions to see what happened in GTM on previous page loads.

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Not too long ago, Google announced a new consent mode for Google tags. It allows you to build a mechanism where Google’s tags parse, react, and respond to the consent status of your site visitors. Consent Mode with a custom Google Tag Manager template In short, consent mode is a beta feature, which lets you determine whether or not Google’s advertising tags (Ads and Floodlight) and analytics tags (Universal Analytics, App + Web) can utilize browser storage when sending pings to Google’s servers.

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It’s lovely to see small, incremental, quality-of-life improvements to Google Tag Manager amid the behemothian feature releases such as custom templates in 2019 and server-side tagging in 2020. This time around, we’ll take a look at the upgraded search functionality of the Google Tag Manager user interface, which makes search an actually useful tool. In addition to this, we’ll take a look at one of the most requested features in the history of Google Tag Manager, which we finally have access to: bulk actions!

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Exporting a container in Google Tag Manager can have many purposes. From backing up Google Tag Manager versions to creating and distributing repositories of useful container snapshots, the container export is one of the most useful non-tagging-related tools that the GTM user interface offers. However, one big misgiving in the feature (until now) has been that exporting just a subset of the container version or workspace has been impossible. It’s always the entire container or nothing.

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With Server-side tagging, the developer community has a chance to vastly improve the data collection capabilities of Google’s analytics platforms (Universal Analytics and App+Web). The ability to build our own templates is particularly potent with a Server container. However, it’s not as if Google themselves are just sitting idly by and seeing what the community can come up with. In the built-in Universal Analytics Client template in a Server container, there’s an option to migrate to a Server Managed Client ID.

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Ever since Server-side tagging was publicly announced at SUPERWEEK 2020, Google and the trusted tester community have been hard at work, building something that just might change the landscape of digital analytics for good. Google Tag Manager has now released Server-side tagging into public beta. In this lengthy article, we’ll take a look at what Server-side tagging is, how it should (and should not) be used, and what its implications are on the broader digital analytics community.

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Simo Ahava

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

Senior Data Advocate at Reaktor

Finland