Due to a recent change in the UI (see entry for February 12, 2015 in the release notes), the large and ever-expanding group of fields you could set for your Universal Analytics tags has been mostly removed. Instead, the often obscure Fields to Set selection has been promoted to the top of More Settings, and you control most of the Universal Analytics fields through this selector.

In this #GTMtips, we’ll take a quick look at what’s changed, how it’s changed, and how to work with this new, slimmed-down tag template.


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Tip 16: How To Set Google Analytics Fields In GTM

First, some justification for this bold move. The Universal Analytics JavaScript library, analytics.js, has a lot of fields you can set. If just a few of these fields are represented with their dedicated drop-downs in the Tag settings, it would mean that your container would be artificially bloated. We’re working with JavaScript, remember. Less is more.

Demoting all settings to Fields to Set is a democratic move, giving you, the user, full rights to choose which fields to include in the Tag, and more importantly, the right to exclude all the fields you do not need to use.

The major change is thus that all relevant Universal Analytics fields should from now on be set through Fields to Set. The fields can be found in the drop-down menu for Field Name. You can add any field name you want (naturally, only valid field names actually work), you can get the field name from a Variable, or you can use the helpful auto-complete to find the correct field.

How do you know what fields to add, you ask? Well, browse over to Analytics.js Field Reference for the full list. Remember, be wise in your selection. There’s no point in adding the field for eventCategory in a Page View Tag.

I respect the fact that for many this might mean a downgrade of the user experience. After all, you’re left with a less obvious interface. However, I’m courageous enough to argue that you only use a handful of fields anyway, and if you know your Universal Analytics, you’ll already know what their field names are. Also, checking the Field Reference is not such a huge effort.

An improvement would be that the drop-down list would also enable you to quickly check what the field you selected actually is (e.g. the “proper name”). This would save you the trouble of going to the Field Reference.