With so many people working from home or remotely in these turbulent times, it's time to revisit one of my oldest articles, and discuss the options you have for excluding or segmenting internal traffic in Google Analytics. The traditional method of IP address exclusion is not necessarily the best option anymore, unless all your employees use a specific VPN to connect to the site. In this article, we'll go through some of the tools you have at your disposal.
Some years ago, I wrote a post on how to track cross-domain iframes when using Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics. That solution relied on hitCallback to decorate the iframe, and now that I look back on it, it has its shortcomings. For one, the older solution used hitCallback which, while being reliable in that Google Analytics has definitely loaded with the linker plugin when the method is called, doesn't take into account the possible race condition of the script running before the iframe has been loaded.
When Google released gtag.js, the new, global tracking library designed to (eventually) replace analytics.js, many Universal Analytics practitioners and users were confused (see e.g. Jeff's great overview here). It seemed like gtag.js wasn't really solving any immediate problem, since analytics.js had done a bang-up job with Universal Analytics tracking for all these years. However, gtag's modus operandi is the ability to leverage the same semantic information (distributed across dataLayer!) across a number of Google products, starting with GA and AdWords.
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. UPDATE 20 June 2018: Google has released the allowAdFeatures field which renders the solution below redundant (at least for the displayFeaturesTask part of it). Please refer to this article for more details on how to conditionally block the advertising hit to DoubleClick.
Universal Analytics can collect Page Timing data from users that load your pages. This data is populated in to the Behavior -> Site Speed -> Page Timings report, and it's a very useful feature for optimizing your website. However, there's a murky underside to this generous feature. The way Page Timings collection works is that when Pageview hits are sent from the site, a sample of these (1% by default) are automatically followed by a timing hit which includes page performance data grabbed from the Navigation Timing API.
Here we are again, revisiting an old theme. When using Google Tag Manager, we often want to send the contents of the same tag to multiple Universal Analytics properties. With on-page GA, this used to be quite simple, as all you had to do was create a new tracker and then just remember to run the ga('trackerName.send'...) commands to all the trackers (or you could use my duplicator plugin). With GTM, your options are more limited, since Google Tag Manager abstracts the tracker object, giving you far fewer tools to work with.
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