I owe my career to Google Analytics. Whatever success I have achieved over the past 15 years or so can be directly attributed to my work with GA and, by extension, other tools in the Google stack. Now, Universal Analytics is about to be turned down. It fills me with a sense of nostalgia and pining for past, simpler times. When I cast my mind back, a scattering of memories emerges in my mind:
The FPID cookie is what server-side Google Tag Manager would prefer to use for your Google Analytics 4 tracking. It’s a cookie set in the HTTP response from the server, and it’s flagged as HttpOnly, which means it’s only accessible by a web server running on the domain on which it was set. There’s nothing wrong with the technology, and I do recommend that server-side setups toggle it on by default.
Server-side tagging is all about control. Being able to intercept, modify, and even block requests as they come in before they are dispatched to their actual endpoints is extremely valuable. The built-in Google Analytics 4 tag template has options for modifying event parameters and user properties in the Google Analytics 4 request, but did you know you can use these options to modify some of the fields as well, such as Client ID, User ID, and event Engagement Time?
While Measurement Protocol for GA4 is still rather, well, rough, it can be used to augment existing collection quite nicely. Recently, I wrote an article that discussed the nuances of session attribution with Measurement Protocol. One of the pain points of any data ingestion setup is how to debug it. Measurement Protocol hits are not automatically surfaced in GA4’s DebugView. In this article, I’ll show you how to make those hits pop up in the debug stream.
In this article, I’ll try to clarify the understandably murky Measurement Protocol functionality in Google Analytics 4. Measurement Protocol is a way to send events to Google Analytics 4 directly from a machine capable of sending HTTP requests (such as a web server). It’s an alternative collection method to the client-side libraries of Google Tag and the Firebase SDK. Measurement Protocol in GA4 is very different from its predecessor in Universal Analytics.
This is a guest post by Sebastian Pospischil, Evangelist Digital Analytics at TRKKN. All credit for the solution goes to him. The Summary section is the only one authored by Simo Ahava. You know the deal. Each and every day, clients reach out to you asking for custom click tracking for this call-to-action on that slider, or that button in this section of a page. They reach out to you because such things cannot be answered out of the box in Google Analytics 4.
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