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Holy visibility, Batman! Visibility is a seriously undervalued aspect of web analytics tracking. Too often, we fall into the trap of thinking that “Page Views” actually have something to do with “viewing” a page. Or that tracking scrolling to 25%, 50%, or 75% of vastly different pages makes sense on the aggregate level. So you will be very pleased to know that the Google Tag Manager team (who have been on FIRE recently), have just published the Element Visibility trigger.

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Last updated 24 August 2022: The instructions in this article are no longer that useful, as you can simply use the native JavaScript Element.closest(selector) method instead of the {{Find Closest}} trick described in this article. Browser support for closest has thankfully improved a great deal since this article was originally written. Google Tag Manager provides us with a bunch of handy triggers, designed to make capturing user interactions on the website much easier.

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If you use Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, or any JavaScript-based data collection or analytics platform, have you ever stopped to wonder how they actually work? I mean, you obviously care about getting the data in, but are you taking the machinations of these tools for granted? This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long while, because I’m not so sure that many who work with these platforms actually understand how the browser and the web page interact.

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Simo Ahava

Husband | Father | Analytics developer
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Senior Data Advocate at Reaktor