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Universal Analytics utilizes two components (by default) to attribute a browser session to a specific campaign: query parameters in the URL and the referrer string. The page URL is sent with every hit to Google Analytics using the Document location field, which also translates to the &dl parameter in the Measurement Protocol. The referrer string is sent with a hit to Google Analytics using the Document referrer field, as long as the referrer hostname does not exactly match that of the current page and the referrer string is not empty.

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Google Tag Manager now lets you add unit tests directly to your custom templates. This is useful, since it allows you to control the code stability of your templates, especially if you’ve decided to share those templates with the public. I recently shared a general guide for how template tests work, but I wanted to expand the topic a little, and share with you two walkthroughs of custom template tests: one for a variable template and one for a tag template.

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Google Tag Manager introduced the capability to add tests to your Custom Templates. Tests, in this context, refer specifically to unit tests that you write in order to make sure your template code works in a predictable way. Unit tests are also used to drive development, ensuring that you have added contingencies for all the different scenarios that the template, when coupled with user input, might introduce. In this guide, I’ll introduce how the Tests feature works.

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Since the introduction of custom templates in May 2019, the community (myself included) has been anxiously waiting for some official solution for curating and distributing templates created by the community. Now, finally, we have it. It’s called the Community Template Gallery! Read Google’s announcement in this blog post. I’m not going to go over the basics in this article, since Google’s own documentation stands fine on its own feet.

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I’ve enjoyed working with custom templates for Google Tag Manager. A lot. So much so that whenever the need to add some custom code to a container emerges, my first thought is how to turn that into a custom template. Google has been forthcoming in introducing new APIs steadily, and I think the variety of things you can do with template is improving with every new API release. In this article, I’ll show you how to use a simple tag template for distributing your users to groups, based on a random split.

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When Custom Templates were released in Google Tag Manager, many of us active in the GTM communities started doing two things: 1) creating our own custom templates, and 2) waiting patiently for Google to release a “gallery” or “library” for distributing these community contributions. While I have full faith in the latter happening some time in the future, I thought it would be fun to create something similar to a library, and then open-sourcing it for the community to help out with or to download locally for their own purposes.

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Google Tag Manager is strictly a tag delivery system, and it’s very careful not to collect any analytics data on its own. This is most likely a deliberate choice, because if GTM was to start collecting data, it would introduce additional barriers to adoption. Nevertheless, being a tool that consolidates the design, development, deployment, and testing of all the marketing and analytics pixels, code snippets, and utilities running on a website or a mobile app, lacking the necessary features for auditing and monitoring has always seemed like an oversight.

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Simo Ahava

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

Senior Data Advocate at Reaktor

Finland