20 September 2018: Advanced GTM Workshop (Hamburg)
A schema is something that data processing platforms such as Google Analytics apply to the raw hit data coming in from the data source (usually a website). The most visible aspect of Google Analytics’ schema is how it groups, or stitches, the arbitrary, hit-level data coming in from the website into discrete sessions, and these are actually grouped under yet another aggregate bucket: users. But you already know this. You’re looking at metrics like Sessions, Bounce Rate, Conversion Rate, and you’re using them or variations of them as KPIs in your dashboards and whatnot.

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In Google Tag Manager, every single Tag requires a Trigger to fire. Every single Trigger requires an Event condition to activate. Sometimes, these Event conditions are obfuscated under template semantics, but you can also create a Custom Event Trigger, where you specify the value of the ‘event’ key in dataLayer that fires your tag. You can read more about the relationship between GTM events and Tags in these two posts:

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Be honest, can you think of anything that’s more unfair than this: A new Google Tag Manager feature, published at 02:07 AM my time, and with an easter egg hunt involved?! Of course it was the infuriating Charles Farina who found the new feature and claimed the prize. Curses! (Just kidding Charles, you’re still awesome.) Anyway, there’s a new GTM feature in town, and oh boy, this time it’s a big’un!

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This nifty little solution will let you calculate the time spent on pages that are not tracked in Google Analytics by default. These include both bounced landing pages and exit pages. Bounced pages and exit pages lack the necessary subsequent pageview, which Google Analytics uses to calculate time-based metrics. Before you go on, read this excellent article by Yehoshua Coren: REAL Time On Page in Google Analytics Yehoshua gives a very nice use case for the technical solution I’m about to explore.

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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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Quick history. On May 23, 2014, the following announcement was made on the Google Webmaster Central Blog: In order to solve this problem, we decided to try to understand pages by executing JavaScript. It's hard to do that at the scale of the current web, but we decided that it's worth it. We have been gradually improving how we do this for some time. In the past few months, our indexing system has been rendering a substantial number of web pages more like an average user's browser with JavaScript turned on.

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One of the big mysteries in browser-based data collection platforms like Google Analytics is what happens when the visitor is not being tracked. This is most obvious in cases where the user explicitly opts out of tracking, when the user does not have JavaScript active in their browser, in bounced sessions, and on exit pages. Opt-outing means that the user explicitly prohibits a website from tracking them. In some cases, it’s possible that opt-out is the default, and the user must explicitly opt-in to allow GA to record their visits.

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Simo Ahava

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

Senior Data Advocate at Reaktor

Finland