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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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More often than not, much of what we do in web analytics can be automated. This applies especially to implementations, audits, configurations, and reporting. So when I’m faced with a menial, manual task that might take hours for me to complete if done by hand, I always look at what could be done with some scripting and API work. I want to introduce a couple of Google Sheets add-ons I’ve written and released to the public.

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Facebook’s pixel has an attribute named content_ids (required for Dynamic Ads), which requires an Array of content IDs as its value. It’s very possible you’re running this pixel on a site which already has Enhanced Ecommerce for Universal Analytics implemented, and now you want to use the same Enhanced Ecommerce data that your developers have already made available in this Facebook pixel. Or perhaps you want to concatenate a list of strings, such as article tags (['culture', 'politics']), and send it as a comma-separated string to Google Analytics ('culture,politics').

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I’ve always been proud to avoid the typical headline clickbait of “Ultimate guide to pigeon care”, “All you need to know about the Great Vowel Shift”, “Did you know that you’ve been smoking peyote wrong your whole life?”. I’m ready to make an exception now by adding a BIG WHOPPING NUMBER to the title. You see, the amount of knowledge one can accumulate about anything they do on a daily basis is mind-blowing.

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A couple of years ago I wrote an article on tracking interactions with the SoundCloud widget via Google Tag Manager. When a platform provides a JavaScript embed API, it’s surprisingly easy to track interactions with the player. You’ve seen this with YouTube, with SoundCloud, with JWPlayer, and now you’ll see how to do this with the Mixcloud player. If you don’t know what Mixcloud is, well it’s a hugely popular streaming service for DJs, podcasts, radio shows, and other published radio media.

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One of the biggest fears I have as a Google Tag Manager user is a broken release of the website (or app) on which I have deployed GTM. Far too often, lack of proper communication practices within an organization lead to a release being pushed out without thoroughly testing how this release impacts any existing tracking solutions. Luckily there are ways to mitigate this. The most significant and impactful precautions you can take are all about process:

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Simo Ahava

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

Senior Data Advocate at Reaktor

Finland