9 June 2018: MeasureCamp Copenhagen
If you have been reading my blog articles over the past year, you might have noticed a disturbing trend. I’ve published 9 articles on customTask since the API was released. It might not sound like much, but I can’t think of a single feature in Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager that has so completely convinced me of its usefulness in such a short time. The customTask API is a feature of the Universal Analytics library (used by Google Tag Manager’s tags, too).

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When the Google Analytics Settings variable was introduced in May 2017, it resulted in a significant change in the Google Analytics tag user interface in Google Tag Manager. The default UI for editing a tag was stripped down of all GA-specific settings, and the new Google Analytics Settings drop-down was the replacement. Unfortunately, the bulk of Google Tag Manager articles online (including those on this blog) still refer to the old interface in screenshots and instructions.

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Google Tag Manager should be relatively easy to implement. Just paste the container snippet to the <head> of the page and you’re good to go! However, at some point you’ll want to configure the dataLayer structure, too (read more about dataLayer here). There are two ways to do it: the right way and the wrong way. In this article, we’ll see what happens if you do it the wrong way, how to identify the issue, and how to fix it.

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A recent guide of mine introduced the Google Analytics adapter in Snowplow. The idea was that you can duplicate the Google Analytics requests sent via Google Tag Manager and dispatch them to your Snowplow analytics pipeline, too. The pipeline then takes care of these duplicated requests, using the new adapter to automatically align the hits with their corresponding data tables, ready for data modeling and analysis. While testing the new adapter, I implemented a Snowplow pipeline from scratch for parsing data from my own website.

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I’m back with another customTask tip, but this time I’m exploring some new territory. Snowplow just introduced their latest version update, which included (among other things) an adapter for processing Google Analytics payloads. Never heard of Snowplow? It’s a collection of open-source libraries designed to let you build your own analytics pipeline, all the way from data collection, through ETL (extract, transform, load), using custom enrichments and JSON schemas, and finally into your own data warehouse, where you can then analyze the data using whatever tools you find preferable.

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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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As the year changed to 2018, I decided to abandon WordPress, which I had been using for over 12 years as my content management system of choice. I had many reasons to do so, but the biggest motivators were the opportunity to try something new and to abandon the bloat and clutter of WordPress for a more simple, more elegant order of things. Spurred on by another adopter, Mark Edmondson, I decided to give Hugo a go (pun intended).

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Simo Ahava

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

Senior Data Advocate at Reaktor

Finland