One of the key skills for anyone working with web analytics and tag management is understanding how to identify where things went wrong, why they went wrong, and ideally how to fix them. There are plenty of excellent browser extensions for helping you debug, and we’ll discuss these in the guide, too. But most of all we’re going to use browsers’ own developer tools, as they are always the best source of truth for anything that happens within the browser window.
I’ve covered the more pervasive issue with tags not firing in Google Tag Manager in my article on the “Still Running” status. However, there’s an additional problem you might face with Google Analytics: tags that show status Failed, and which refuse to send any data to Google Analytics. There are a couple of possible reasons for this, and we’ll explore them in this article. Note that any tag type in Google Tag Manager can signal Failed.
Sometimes, in Google Tag Manager’s Debug mode, you’ll see tags appear with the status Still Running, and you’ll (eventually) notice that these tags are not doing what they are supposed to be doing. When you see this message on a tag, it technically means this: The tag failed to signal Google Tag Manager that it is “done”. The technical explanation is, naturally, too simple to be useful. In this article, I’ll explore what “done” means, and how especially Google Analytics tags manifest this behavior.
READ THIS (26 Aug 2019)!! Unfortunately, the update I made in 2016 contained code that was incomplete and broken. I nevert noticed this until it was pointed out to me almost three years later. At this point, I don’t have a working backup of the solution, so unless some internet archive / cache service manages to surface the code, this article is basically lost. UPDATE 20 December 2016: I made some fixes to the solution - be sure to grab the latest code snippet from below!
Google Tag Manager can be quite the hierarchical mess. You have accounts which comprise containers. Containers are split into container versions, and you use workspaces to create new versions. Phew! Trying to keep tabs on all the activity within these layers can be quite the chore. In this #GTMTips article, I’ll do a quick walkthrough of (almost) all the places where you can review changes made in your Google Tag Manager account and container.
This is a really cool feature for Google Analytics data collection, of which I’ve heard very, very little buzz. It’s a way to debug any and all hits sent to the Google Analytics endpoint at https://www.google-analytics.com/collect. In all simplicity, you just need to copy the entire URL of the HTTP request to your clipboard, paste it into a web browser, and add /debug between the hostname and /collect.