In 2013, I wrote a guide for Universal Analytics and Google Tag Manager on how to poll for weather conditions, and send this information to Google Analytics as a custom dimension of the session. The guide was intended as a technical introduction to Google Tag Manager, and I think it succeeded in that. However, GTM has changed a lot over the last 1.5 years, and I’ve made some improvements to the method along the way.
I’ve written a completely revamped version of this toolset for Google Tag Manager V2. Well, I just yesterday published the first of my GTM API tools (the Container Visualizer), and I vowed that I wouldn’t release the other tools for a number of reasons. The reasons were good, in my opinion (especially the part about the tools being ugly as crap), but on the other hand I don’t want to keep anyone away from the amazing potential of the new API.
[UPDATE:] Quite a lot of people had trouble accessing the tool after I published this post. This should now be fixed. So, AWESOME stuff. The new Google Tag Manager UI and API have just rolled out, and I can finally start revealing the stuff I’ve been working on :) I’m not going to go into the new UI in this post. I just want to give a huge thanks to the GTM team for working on the UX with such dedication.
You’ve probably come across a number of guides or posts talking about why it’s necessary to block so-called internal traffic from your web analytics reports. The reasons are pretty solid: internal traffic does not emulate normal visitor behavior, it rarely contributes to conversions (skewing up your conversion rate), it inflates page views, and it wreaks havoc on your granular, page-by-page data. Internal traffic is vaguely described as “your employees”, “people really close to your brand”, “your marketing department”, “your web editors”, and so on.
There is a new version of this post for GTM V2 here. [Last updated June 2014] I’ve fallen in love with Universal Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Together they form an incredibly powerful tool for marketing professionals. In most cases, I no longer need to post recommendations to my client for yet another page template revision, since with the tag manager in place, I can just add custom code via the admin panel.
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