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One of the hard-and-fast rules in Google Analytics is that once hits have been collected and processed into your data properties, those hits are untouchable. This means that if you mistakenly collect duplicate or incorrect transactions, PII traffic, or referral spam, for example, it's extremely difficult, if not downright impossible, to purge or change this data in Google Analytics. Another staple of Google Analytics’ strict schema is that displacing hits in time is also very difficult.

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Until recently, I had a feature on GTM Tools that polled the user's Google Tag Manager container(s) for a recently published version. If one was found, a notification was sent to a Slack app, which forwarded it to a workspace and channel of the user's choice. This was fine, except for the fact that polling the GTM and Slack APIs for dozens upon dozens of containers is a total resource hog, and the only way I can maintain GTM Tools is it doesn't have API leaks like that.

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Updated 15 April 2020: Fix the message forwarder to properly clone objects before they are passed to postMessage Here I am, back with <iframe> and cross-domain tracking. I've published a couple of articles before on the topic, with my upgraded solution being the most recent one. These articles tackle the general problem of passing the Client ID from the parent to the <iframe>. By doing so, the <iframe> can take the Client ID from the frame URL and create the _ga cookie in the <iframe>, allowing hits from the parent and the <iframe> to use the same Client ID.

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One of the most prominent features of Google Tag Manager since the dawn of time (actually, late 2012) is the Custom HTML tag. This little piece of magic lets Google Tag Manager inject an HTML element to the page. Since time immemorial (still late 2012), it's allowed us to turn Google Tag Manager from a sandboxed prisoner of the native tag templates to a no-holds-barred client-side content management solution. In this article, we'll discuss how the Custom HTML tag works, and what you might be tempted to use it for.

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One of the prime things to use Google Tag Manager for is script injection. Loading a third-party JavaScript library is trivial to do with a Custom HTML tag, and works like a charm. However, using Custom HTML tags for, well, anything, is no longer the preferred way to add custom code to the site. Custom HTML tags are pretty expensive DOM injections, and they can be incredibly dangerous tools (for UX, security, and privacy) in the wrong and/or inexperienced hands.

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Update 6 April 2020: I updated the template in the gallery to the latest version of the IP Geolocation API SDK, which no longer requires jQuery. Also, the SDK now handles API request caching to browser storage automatically, so the “Enable Session Storage” option was added to the template. My latest custom tag template tackles a use case I've referred to a number of times before, especially in my article on sending weather data to Google Analytics.

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Universal Analytics utilizes two components (by default) to attribute a browser session to a specific campaign: query parameters in the URL and the referrer string. The page URL is sent with every hit to Google Analytics using the Document location field, which also translates to the &dl parameter in the Measurement Protocol. The referrer string is sent with a hit to Google Analytics using the Document referrer field, as long as the referrer hostname does not exactly match that of the current page and the referrer string is not empty.

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Simo Ahava

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

Senior Data Advocate at Reaktor

Finland