The author of the article: Polina Okhai, a web analytics specialist from the #ADINDEX agency.
Web analytics is the foundation of an internet marketing strategy for any platform. Web analytics enables us to track, collect, and analyze various metrics of website effectiveness. Specialists use results obtained with the help of web analytics to create optimization strategies and recommendations on how to boost sales, leads, and reach other goals.
Modern tools for setting up web analytics allow not only collecting quantitative and qualitative metrics of user behavior on a website but also tracking their behavior to identify possible interface problems and create tools for their optimization.
Incorrect data could negatively affect your business, as it will be challenging to come up with an effective strategy. However, merely setting up the analytics won’t bring you the desired result on its own: you’ll have to monitor the collected data and to check if they match the metrics that you want to track and analyze.
In this article, we'll focus on the Top 5 tools for analytics settings analysis. We’ll start with the Google Tag Assistant Recording.
This extension looks like that in the browser:
Why do you need Google Tag Assistant Recording, and how can you use it?
You need this tool to see if the tracking codes on a website are set up correctly without turning to the analytics for help. To do that, you have to click on ‘Check this page now’ after the tool is installed.
Google Tag Assistant (GTA) also enables you to check the tags of other products: for instance, Google Ads, Campaign Manager, and Google Tag Manager (GTM).
This tool provides detailed information about all tags found on a page. It also helps you to check a tag’s status.
Google Tag Assistant Recordings
Recordings are one of GTA’s functions. This function allows you to record information (tags, events, etc.) about all the pages you visited.
For instance, usually, a user starts searching for a product in the search engine. They get redirected to your website from a Google Ads advertising or by clicking on a link in organic search results. Then they study a website, scroll through the catalog, and add a product to the shopping cart, double-check their order, add payment information, delivery address, etc. Then they click on the ‘Confirm Order’ button and get redirected to ‘Thank you for your order!’ webpage, where a conversion is registered as completed.
The Recordings function records the information about all the steps the user takes to complete a transaction (including those pages that aren’t located on your website). Each page is run through many tests, at the end of which the tool creates a report on results. This report provides the data about your actions only; however, this doesn’t interfere with high-quality website testing.
The data don’t get transferred to Google Analytics during the subsequent analysis of the recordings; therefore, you can experiment with settings without worrying about the cleanliness of the data.
Google Analytics also has similar tools; however, they have the following flaws:
- You can check only previously collected data, which makes it challenging to separate incorrect information.
- There’s no option for scanning the pages that require verification.
- Analytics shows if an error is eliminated only after collecting and processing big data masses. During this time, the amount of incorrect information could become critical and ruin the overall data picture.
Google Tag Assistant, on the other hand, doesn’t have such limitations.
The next useful tool is Analytics Pros.
This expansion enables you to install GTM without integrating a code on a website. Analytics Pros makes it much easier to debug, monitor, and view detailed information without having to switch from a page to a page’s code and developer’s console all the time. This extension allows you to find out:
- What is added to GTM dataLayer?
- What gets sent to Google Analytics?
- When do these additions take place?
- Are there any problems?
In addition to diagnostics, you’ll be able to use a wide selection of tools to help you significantly quicken the implementation of analytics for your website. This extension enables you to:
- check dataLayer;
- work with GTM containers that aren’t deployed on a website;
- add a code to a page before anything happens;
- hide certain events;
- ignore getting in certain features.
Each click is recorded to console as a data group. The events are usually the most common ones; they get marked as <name>. If you click on the arrow icon, you’ll see detailed information. The groups contain objects, errors, warnings, and information about time. By the way, you can hide the time using additional options.
Usually, a pageview is an event. The display will contain a target feature, a GTM container (if it is sent to GTM), time, and details of getting into the network. You can see all the data sent to GA by clicking the arrow icon ►.
As you need a correctly initiated dataLayer, DataLayer Inspector + will help you with that after verifying several steps of the process, namely:
- Is the dataLayer initiated correctly?
- Are there several data layers?
- Is the adding of dataLayer valid?
- Was a hit successfully delivered to Google Analytics?
- Was a hit redirected?
This option places an object to dataLayer right after the Inspector launches: usually, during the first few milliseconds after a page starts loading.
Insert GTM Container
If you choose this option, a selected GTM container will be added to all pages that match the Host. The RegEx option can guarantee that you’ll add a container only to the necessary pages. It also can help you use the same container in several domains.
You’ll be able to determine if a container is added or not if you see an icon in the top left corner on a page. Clicking on this icon will display or hide it.
This feature allows you to add code to a page before launching any other code. This could be really useful during the code debugging on problematic websites.
Shortening the data volume could help you focus on important information. Hiding the time and internal directions are simple ways to reduce data. Furthermore, this expansion has a pair of filters RegEx uses to exclude noise.
Hide Specific Events Pushed And/Or Sent
You can use RegEx to filter events that are sent to the dataLayer. The ‘pushed’ option evaluates the ‘event' key; the ‘sent' one — an event category ‘ec.’ For instance:
- Use '^ gtm' to exclude all ‘gtm' events.
- Use ‘es: click’ to exclude hits with the ‘click’ category.
- Use ‘^ gtm | ec: click’ to exclude both options.
Google Analytics Debugger
After you install this extension, you’ll have to complete three steps to prepare it to work.
- Click on the extension icon (on the right from the address page).
- To open the browser’s console, press ‘F12’ and go to the ‘Console' tag.
- Refresh the page you’re currently on.
In our example, the console doesn’t display any errors, which means that data is sent successfully to Google Analytics. Installing and setting up the extension were also performed correctly.
An error example.
Facebook Pixel Helper
Facebook Pixel Helper is a Google Chrome browser extension that helps you find out if your pixels are set up correctly.
This plugin will show if the Facebook pixels are installed on a website; it’ll also check if there are errors and will study the events that activate a pixel. Facebook Pixel Helper could also offer you some tips on increasing the effectiveness of a pixel. Here are its most common recommendations:
- To place the basic pixel code as high to the website’s headline as possible. This could help you avoid the untracked client's actions that could occur before code is activated.
- To use tracking. If you see this error, this means that tracking isn’t turned on, and Facebook Pixel Helper couldn’t help you spot an error. To turn the tracking on, you have to go to Facebook settings.
As soon as Facebook Pixel Helper installs, you’ll see a small icon next to the URL page. If you go to your website and click on the Helper’s icons, you’ll see a window containing information about pixels, events that were found on a page, and status of those events.
This service will help you discover tags, triggers, and variables of published GTM containers. Moreover, you’ll be able to download them in the JSON format and install them to your tag manager. This would be useful for a beginner, as it’ll help one understand different options of event settings.
An expert analyst could find this data on a website, of course; however, it would be much easier and convenient to use this service.
You have to insert the link to a website that interests you or its GTM container ID to the 'Start by entering a URL or GTM ID’ form and press the ‘Lookup Container’ button.
If you don’t remember how to find a container’s ID, get back to the part of this article when we talk about Google Tag Assistant.
The service starts generating the data after you press the button. As a result, you’ll get:
- Three tags: Tags, Variables, and Triggers that would display the corresponding website data.
- A version of the container that you’ll be able to download with all the information and install it to your GTM container.
To add the data to the container, go to the ‘Administration — Import container’ tab in GTM. Then, set up the import parameters, select a work area, and an import option from the available ones. After you look through all the tags, triggers, and variables once again and make sure these data suits you, click ‘Confirm.’
After that, a container will be imported. All the data will display in the selected work area. However, these manipulations have one flaw: the entity names will display in your container something like on the picture below.
However, this isn’t a problem. You could easily change the name of any object in accordance to your website.
GTM SPY is an interesting and useful tool that could help you find inspiration in new ideas and solutions to complex problems. Moreover, if you lose access to your own GTM, you'll still be able to download all the necessary data from it with the help of this tool.
As a conclusion, we would like to add that using the tools listed above could help both the beginners (to improve their web analytics skills, avoid work errors, and find the non-trivial solutions to different tasks) and the business owners who set up the analytics (it’ll help to control the work of setting up master during each stage). Download, install, experiment, and grow!