Archive for Google Analytics

Google Analytics parameters

Here’s a handy guide if you have occasion to decipher Google Analytics tags when they fire:

Google Analytics measurement protocol Parameters Reference

It is possible to get these parameters broken out in a nice, eay-to-read user interface using Google Tag Assistant (Chrome Store).

Webtrends is in the game

Web Analytics shootouts are always useful to those who haven’t yet committed to a web analytics platform or who are looking for an alternative. Most web analytics users are using Google Analytics “free” and Something Else paid. Now that Google Analytics 360 has come along and isn’t as expensive as the old GA Premium many WA users want to take a look at all the tools and platforms available.

Webtrends has done a major rewrite of their pioneering offering and they are in the game with Webtrends Infinity. The features and capabilities checklist is rather impressive, with all the real-time capability. Infinity looks to address many of the issues and shortcomings of Webtrends older offerings as well as those of other vendors. I look forward to testing Infinity in the near future, especially since new web analytics deployments are facilitated with tag management tools.

Hit and Run and a belated Happy New Year

So, today is the first day of daylight saving time (DST) here in the U.S. and it’s also the occasion of my first post of 2015. So, belated Happy New Year to you all, and here’s a heads up that this post will be a hit and run listing of links I want to keep track of. You may find some of them useful too.

First off is Omniture for Beginners by Tom Capper at Distilled. At the very end of the post is a table which will help guide folks accustomed to Google Analytics as they get started with Adobe Analytics. That table is the reason I kept this post around. I’m sure it will come in handy as I train and teach others in the future.

Next is a post by Stuart Roskelley at his blog, “How to Dissect a Vendor Script”. His blog is aptly called “The Hidden Layer” and it deals with modern approaches to web analytics using tag managers, DOM scraping, etc. I found the post relevant because I’ve spent a lot of time recently shoehorning vendor tags into tag management and making all the tags play together nicely. I do have to admit that some of the problems I’ve encountered were self-inflicted, but that’s how I learn. Breaking and fixing.

Until next time, ‘keep on trackin‘! *
    *(With apologies to Dan Fredeen)

Recently I completed an initial implementation of Google Tag Manager on VPASP version 7.0 shopping cart, and I’m about to begin another implementation.  It wasn’t terribly difficult, but it was a little tricky to get the ecommerce integration set up properly and I implemented a DataLayer within VPASP’s order confirmation page logic to make it all work.  Please send me a comment or contact form if you’d like more info about GTM and VPASP.  (honestly I was surprised  not to find any other writeups on the topic)

BackupBuddy WordPress restore to GoDaddy hosting

I just finished migrating a client’s WordPress site from Network Solutions to GoDaddy using BackupBuddy. I had a few issues, but overall, the process wasn’t so bad.

The major key to success was uploading a php.ini file with the following settings:
memory_limit = 256M
output_buffering = Off
display_errors = Off
log_errors = On
error_log = /pff_phperror_log
max_execution_time = 180

Contrary to reports I’d read by others getting started at GoDaddy, I had no troubles with cPanel, or with setting up MySQL databases or users. I simply plugged in the new database info into the ImportBuddy screen, and within seconds everything was up and running. Granted, all this may have gone so smoothly because I was using an iThemes WP theme, and generally they play by the rules. But keep in mind, the theme the site uses is from 2008! And, it still gets the job done.

Back to the restore process… I think the key factors to success, based upon two false starts was to get the Memory Limit and Max Execution Time settings correct as shown above.

Hope this helps someone – esp. those who get started without preparing beforehand!

To finish the job, I created a new Google Analytics tag using the Universal Analytics standard, so this site will have fresh metrics under its new domain name.

More insight into Adobe Dynamic Tag Management

This week’s Adobe Digital Marketing Blog post for Analytics offers insight into Adobe’s plans for Dynamic Tag Management (the recently acquired Satellite tool). I found it most interesting that in 2014 it will support a formal integration of Google’s Universal Analytics, as well the possibility of DTM being made available publicly, not just to Adobe customers. I only wish there were more documentation, samples and other education about this fantastic tool available now.

Unlocking the Data Layer for web analytics

The LunaMetrics blog has a great writeup about the web analytics data layer aimed at non-techies. Actually, it’s perfect for techies as well. The vibe that I’m picking up so far is that many folks aren’t using a data layer in their web analytics implementations just yet. But once you master the data layer concept, it opens many new capabilities in web analytics data capture, especially when using a tag management tool.

I initially read about the data layer with regards to Google Tag Manager, and it seemed odd to me that more advanced web analytics tools such as Adobe Analytics and Webtrends weren’t using this method to facilitate data collection. Turns out that some SiteCatalyst implementations had already used this technique, but few people had written publicly about it. (Why?) Recently I used a data layer on my first Adobe Tag Manager implementation and I found it was the best decision I’d ever made since I learned how to configure a hybrid Webtrends data collection setup back in 2006.

So, the idea behind the data layer is that on the server-side the web developer will expose some data elements in a JSON-formatted block of JavaScript and then your tag management container will be able to pick up those data elements and propagate the data throughout the other tags in the container. Determining which data elements requires some forethought. In many cases, we’re referring to passing along ecommerce-related data elements here, such as tracking data, order totals, transaction numbers, product prices, tax, etc. Many other data elements can be picked up with existing web analytics data capture techniques.

So, take a look at the two links above, and feel free to leave a comment below and share your thoughts and questions. As for me, my next mini-project is to implement Google Tag Manager with a data layer on a VPASP ecommerce site. I will pass along my experience with this project in future posts.

I just came across this handy code generator created by Alex Moore at Lunametrics. It will help you to understand link tracking with jQuery and event tracking with Google Analytics. But I’ve used it to help me nail down some tracking with SiteCatalyst (Adobe Analytics) a/k/a Omniture. I simply removed the _gaq.push line and substituted a call to, such as:,'o',$(this).attr("href")); .

Read the comments and you’ll learn about using the code generated by this tool within Google Tag Manager. Thanks Alex and Lunametrics for making this online tool available publicly!

Google Analytics Academy is offering a three-week course hosted by Justin Cutroni starting October 8th. Take a look at the mini-site with all the details. The course is all online, and should take 4-6 hours to complete. It will help you prepare for the GA IQ certification test (not included, of course!).

Free Google Analytics training from the source

The topic of this post is no secret, but lots of Google Analytics users don’t know about this free online Google Analytics Certification and Training. Take a few moments to watch the tutorials and you’ll learn something useful, guaranteed! If you’re feeling good about what you’ve learned, there’s a testing site as well, where you can pony up $50 to take a 90-minute certification test. Good luck, and good learning!

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