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Using Google Tag Manager & Analytics Edge

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I've disliked the fact that periodically I have to re-learn the Google Analytics interface, and get my head around new terms, while the back end of the analytics platform still speaks in a standard language. I don't like all the clicks, and unactionable data it throws out pretty much every view. And while I can create segments and views which exclude certain data, the whole thing is cumbersome. I was therefore pleased to discover a commercial excel plugin called Analytics Edge where I am able to essentially bring in any data point from analytics and show it in table cells. The best part of this is that you can then use Excel functions to do comparisons, without all the distractions. So, for example if I want to pull in assisted conversions or measure specific google events, I can do this at a single cell level. IE I can have a cell in Excel that will pull that data element into the cell and I can then apply a 30 day lookback window for the report. All the raw data can be saved into one worksheet and then hidden with a password function, and you can then echo out the raw data into a second spreadsheet where it's looks nice. If I want to take a value, say revenue, and the filter has a 30 days range and I want another cell that has the same range for the previous year, I can just copy the macro (every data point is created with macros) and then edit the data range. I've been learning that these past 2 weeks, and finally after many years I'm happy with this as a reporting tool. I tried using data studio but found that it was not pulling in all the information that was really useful. So take a look at this excel plugin, as I am always late to the game and you might be too!


Second, Legacy Google analytics used to use a hardcoded URL to trigger events that you could categorize and label. For example if you wanted to you could add a Google onclick event so that when someone clicked on your booking button you could be told in GA that that is what happened. If you are not using Google Tag manager yet and need to do any kind of tracking I'm going to give you a good reason to switch clients over to it.


Google Tag manager provides a container which translates as dropping a code not unlike analytics on your website. Once there you can then goto your Google Tag manager account and create tags that fire within the container. For example, let's say you had a FB remarketing code you wanted to run, you create a tag inside your tag manager account and can then set that code to Fire on whichever pages you want. When you want to add another you create another tag. A preview mode means that you can also test out the code your website which is cool.


However, the coolest thing in Tag Manager (and be warned if you doing any kind of cross-domain revenue tracking be prepared to go through some issues getting it to capture the session ID!) is the tracking options you can setup. Basically you can code tracking on the website without intervening on the website. Universal Analytics is always listening for inputs from the page. So for example if I want to track a Book Now button I simply create a Google Tag manager event that searches for a link that contains the words Book Now, and then if it is clicked it logs the event and passes it back to Google Analytics with the Category, Event and Label you select. You can also capture the page path as a Label, allowing you to see which pages the Google events were logged on. And that's not all!


You can also look for CSS classes, IDs and even %scrolls down the page as custom events.


Got a website with a large piece of content? Set up some Google events further down the page to see where the user gets to, 25%, 75% etc. These could be important signals to capture where you have a site with a high number of 1 page visits.


Why do I say that?


Because Google events triggered in this way can count as interaction events. In other words if someone comes to your single page but does something that for the purposes of your measurement indicates that they are engaged, then you can set that event to count as an interaction for Analytics purposes.


Two scenarios


I come to website where there is a video, I have a event set on the video play button, after watching the video I leave the website.


With interaction events set to false (default)

The visit is not considered a bounce because although the visitor left the website after one page, the Google event set in this way records that they in fact did not bounce (they did another interaction).


With interaction events set to true:

The visit is considered a bounce because the visitor clicks the button but the event was not considered an interaction, and because the user left they bounced!


What this means is that unless you are careful you can effectively engineer a zero bounce rate simply by running interaction events that are set to false. Imagine what would happen if you set an interaction event for a CSS class that always loaded on your website and it was logging these are interactions? Be careful. (/blackhat) Imagine al the ways you could engineer bounce rate for sale purposes of domains (/blackhat)


One of the limitations of Events is that while you set them to Goals, which can be useful, you can't use them in sales funnels easily. While I have not done it I've seen that you can have events create themselves as page views which then gives the ability to used in funnels.


Hope this is helpful.



Edited by glyn
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