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Maybe you knew this, maybe you didn’t, but requests sent from your website (or app) to Google Analytics have a maximum size. Or, more specifically, the payload size (meaning the actual content body of the request) has a maximum. This maximum size of the payload is 8192 bytes. This means, basically, that the entire parameter string sent to Google Analytics servers can be no longer than 8192 characters in length.

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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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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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A while ago I posted a #GTMTips post where I detailed the steps you can take to opt-out of all Google Analytics tracking and the DoubleClick redirects that often follow. It was a fun exercise, but because it relies on preventing requests on a tag-by-tag basis (using the ubiquituous customTask), it can be a chore to handle in large containers. In this article, we’ll continue with the theme of opting out from Google Analytics tracking by leveraging a solution provided by the tool itself.

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Google Tag Manager makes it fairly easy to do cross-domain tracking. Basically, you list the hostnames you want to automatically decorate with linker parameters in the Auto-Link Domains field of your Page View tag, and that takes care of decorating the URLs with the necessary parameter. It’s dead easy, even if there are a bunch of traps you need to watch out for (see my post on troubleshooting cross-domain tracking issues).

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I really like Google Optimize. It has a fairly intuitive UI, setting up experiments is easy, and there’s integrations for both Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics built into the system. It’s still a JavaScript-based, client-side A/B-testing tool, so problems with flicker and asynchronous loading are ever-present (though this is somewhat mitigated by the page-hiding snippet). One issue with the Google Analytics integration is the difficulty of creating segments for sessions where the users were actively participating in the experiment.

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With GDPR looming around the corner, it’s time to explore the options you have at your disposal for respecting the new, stricter regulations for tracking users and for collecting data about their visits to your website. In this article, we’ll explore the wonderful customTask (again), to see how you can programmatically prevent the request to Google Analytics or the redirect to DoubleClick from ever taking place, in case certain conditions are met.

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Simo Ahava

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

Senior Data Advocate at Reaktor

Finland