With so many people working from home or remotely in these turbulent times, it's time to revisit one of my oldest articles, and discuss the options you have for excluding or segmenting internal traffic in Google Analytics. The traditional method of IP address exclusion is not necessarily the best option anymore, unless all your employees use a specific VPN to connect to the site. In this article, we'll go through some of the tools you have at your disposal.
With the enforcement of SameSite settings in the latest versions of Google Chrome, it's become a mad scramble to get cookies working across first-party and third-party contexts. I've covered this phenomenon before in my SameSite article, as well as in my guide for setting up cookieless tracking for iframes. Recently, Google Analytics updated its libraries (App+Web, gtag.js, and analytics.js) with a new setting: cookieFlags (analytics.js) or cookie_flags (App+Web and gtag.js).
With iOS and Android containers available for Google Tag Manager, it's tempting to add GTM as an integration into an existing Firebase setup for your apps. It's also a fine way to get acquainted with Firebase in the first place, as it has a plethora of features to make application development easier. Furthermore, with the advent of App + Web, there's even more incentive to integrate your app with Firebase.
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.
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.
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.
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. Google Analytics had been foreshadowing the deprecation of the Network Domain and Service Provider custom dimensions since late 2019. On February 4, the plug was finally pulled, and both these dimensions started flatlining to (not set) in Google Analytics reports.
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