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One of the difficulties of working with Google Tag Manager and the dataLayer structure is that GTM doesn’t preserve history of the items collected into its data model. Or, at least, it doesn’t preserve it in a manner that would let us access it. This is typically a very niche problem, but it does surface every now and then. For example, say you wanted to query whether an event with some specific value has already been pushed into dataLayer.

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Last updated 9 March 2018 with some new tips. The Scroll Depth trigger in Google Tag Manager has a lot going for it. Tracking how far users scroll down a given page has long since been recognized as an important cog in the engagement tracking machine, and there have been really great solutions for implementing scroll depth tracking for web analytics over the years. With Google Tag Manager’s native Scroll Depth trigger, it’s tempting to think we now have a be-all end-all solution that covers all the bases.

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One of the annoying quirks of Google Tag Manager is that it strips out any non-standard HTML attributes from elements you add to Custom HTML tags. I’m using “non-standard” as a qualifier here, because I don’t have an exhaustive list of attributes that are ignored. But at least data attributes (e.g. data-id) and attributes with custom names (e.g. aria-labelledby) are either stripped out upon injection, or GTM might actually prevent you from even saving the container if the Custom HTML tag has elements with these attributes.

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First of all, check out this article for an overview of how custom event listeners work in Google Tag Manager. The reason I’m writing this #GTMTips article is that I want to upgrade the solution slightly, and I want to bring it back into the spotlight. Why? Because it’s still one of the most effective ways to customize your Google Tag Manager implementation. A custom event listener is a handler you write with JavaScript.

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One of the challenges in working with Google Tag Manager (or any JavaScript-based platform for that matter) is what to do with race conditions. A race condition emerges when you have two resources competing for execution in the browser, and there is a degree of unpredictability to which “wins” the race. A prime example is working with jQuery. It’s one of the most popular JavaScript libraries out there, and websites utilize it for a multitude of things, many useful for Google Tag Manager, too.

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Sending personally identifiable information (PII) to Google Analytics is one of the things you should really avoid doing. For one, it’s against the terms of service of the platform, but also you will most likely be in violation of national, federal, or EU legislation drafted to protect the privacy of individuals online. In this #GTMTips post, I’ll show you a way to make sure that any tags you configure this solution with will not contain strings that might be construed as PII.

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The steady increase in mobile use over the last years has introduced some new challenges for web analytics. It’s not just about mismatches in the tracking model (the concept of sessions is even more absurd for apps than it is for desktop browsing), but about something more fundamental, more basic. Think about it: if a visitor visits the website using a mobile device, there’s a significant chance of them losing internet connectivity and going unintentionally offline.

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Simo Ahava

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

Senior Data Advocate at Reaktor

Finland