Join Brad Batesole for an in-depth discussion in this video Using Google Tag Assistant to track events on your website, part of Marketing Tips Weekly.
- Hi, and welcome to another episode of Weekly Marketing Tips. I'm Brad Batesole, and this week I'd like to talk about using the Chrome extension Tag Assistant to make checking in on your marketing pixels, goal funnels, and any events you're tracking through Google Analytics a whole lot easier. So, Google has this small Chrome extension called Tag Assistant that allows you to, well, record yourself navigating a website. This tool is helpful if you're tracking various events on your website.
Say, you have a goal firing if your user provides their email address, or you might have an e-commerce goal funnel set up to track a user when they add a product all the way through checkout. In the past, it's been a bit of a runaround to test that everything was working properly. You'd walk through the steps, look at the analytics, and try to back yourself into understanding where the problem was. Well, now that Google has the Tag Assistant tool with this recording feature, it gives you an easy to understand report on all of your data events.
So you'll install the tag, you'll browse the website, and once you're done, you'll review a report of all the tags and events that were fired both in Google Tag Manager and in Google Analytics. And as you might see, this is pretty helpful if you have a conversion pixel firing from Facebook, but you're using Google Tag Manager to trigger that pixel. These recordings can be particularly useful when you're in the process of implementing Google Analytics, say you've recently made updates to your site, or you're adding in a new funnel or goals for various events.
You can even use it on your staging site, so you can test things before they go live. Now, I'm not going to go too deep into the tool, but I do want to show you how to grab it, get it installed, and how easy it is to set up a recording and view your reports. So, the first thing that I did, is I just went to Google.com and typed in "Tag Assistant Chrome Extension." I clicked on the first link, and that brought me here to the Google web store where I can see that the Tag Assistant is already on my screen. From here, I'll simply choose "Add to Chrome" in the upper right hand corner, and as you're probably aware, these extensions are only available in the Chrome browser.
I'll choose "Add Extension" from the popup that appears, and now Google's going to show me that Tag Assistant has been added, and it has this little icon of a tag with a sideways smiley face. If I tap onto this icon, it's going to welcome me to the Tag Assistant, and you can select or deselect how you intend to be using Tag Assistant. I'm going to leave these selected and choose "Done". Now, from here, Google's just letting us know that the Tag Assistant helps us troubleshoot like we talked about, and what we do is simply go to a website, and Tag Assistant's going to fire.
I'll be showing you how to set up a recording in just a minute. So let's go to lynda.com. And you'll notice in the upper right hand corner the Tag Assistant counts up, and now it's changed color to indicate to me that we've got something to look at. As I pull it open, I can see that we have eight total tags, two errors, and I can scroll through here to navigate between all the tags that fired. So I can see we've got AdWords firing, Floodlight firing, Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and so on.
And you can actually choose the arrow to the right of any of these tags, and drill in for additional information. Now, this is helpful in its own regard, but the best use of the Google Tag Manager is when you actually record yourself navigating through a site. So if I select the "Record" option in the bottom left-hand corner, Google is now going to enable the recording feature, and it is going to stay enabled as long as you allow it to. Now, you need to stay in the same browser window unless you select the option here that says "Follow Recording Links Across Tabs".
Let's say that we're now here at lynda.com, we've got the Tag Manager running, and we're browsing, I want to look at an audio course. I'll click into this particular course. And maybe I'm going to choose to start a free trial, if that was available to me. Now I can go back up to the upper right-hand corner, and now I can choose "Stop". What's going to happen is Google's going to remind me of the current recording. We tracked two pages and 18 tags, and here's where things get really great. You can either resume recording from here, if you want to keep going, or you can tap into "Show Full Report".
What this does, is pulls in a report allowing you to navigate all of the information that the Tag Assistant has pulled in. On the left hand side, you'll see all of the tags and you can check them or uncheck them to filter the view, and here on the right-hand side you'll see all of the various pageloads in order. In this case, we clicked into a particular course, and then we add an alternative pageload where we clicked to access a free trial. Within each of these views, we can see where we have errors, and if I drill down next to the tag, Google's going to suggest some optimizations.
So it's suggesting here the Conversion ID is not set in the image tag, the Conversion Label is not set in the image tag, and if you have any questions about these optimizations, you have the little help icon here on the right-hand side, and you can choose to get more info. So as you can see, this is a great way to quickly pop in and see all the tags and events that are firing on each pageload. You'll also notice that sometimes you might get some alternative optimizations that have nothing to do with the pageload. In this case, Google's saying hey, the same Web Property ID is tracked twice, and that's not necessarily a good thing.
So you want to learn more about that, and drill in to figure out how you can solve that specific error. Where things also get particularly helpful is with the Google Analytics report. Now, in order to have access to Google Analytics, you need to actually have permission to see the particular view. Since I don't have permission to view the Analytics on lynda.com, the report is going to be much more generic than it would be if you logged in and provided permission for that view. So if you're logged in to Google, and you already are in Analytics, and you have access to a particular website, and you go to that website and you use this Tag Assistant to record that data, when you come into the Google Analytics report, you're going to have additional information because Google can show you what was tracked on both sides of the fence.
In this case I'm only seeing one side, but it still helps me understand some alerts. I can scroll through here and review the flow, and identify various events that happened, and I can see what errors are associated with this. So it's suggesting this event hit must be sent after a pageview, but this event hit was not preceeded by a pageview, and again, I can "Learn More" to read about that. I highly recommend that you go through your site using the Tag Assistant recording, and navigate the various funnels and flows that you have set up.
If you're using event tracking in any way, this is a great resource to verify that everything is working exactly as it should be, Follow the recommendations, and what's great about this tool is you can come back, and when you tap onto the Tag Manager and choose "View Recordings", you're going to see all of the recordings you've made using the tool. Here in the upper left-hand corner, you can choose "Update Report", so if you go and make changes, you solve some of these alerts, you don't have to re-run the same steps that you took. In fact, you can just come back and choose "Update Report", Google will re-run the report, and you can see if the problems have gone away.
Take a minute, get Tag Manager installed, and see if you find anything out about your site. Thanks for checking in this week! As always, I'd love to hear from you, so let me know what you thought about this week's episode. You can reach me on Twitter @bradbatesole, or via email, firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll see you next week!
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