Code is annoying.
It gets everywhere.
It’s hard to clean up.
Then, it’s difficult to keep clean.
When you don’t keep Google Analytics code clean, your data gets dirty.
Nobody wants dirty data.
This post will help you ensure that, at very least, all your Google Analytics pages are tagged. Better still, you’ll go one step further to ensure implementation is robust and error free.
Squeaky clean data.
Common Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager Implementation Issues
Around 12-18 months ago I noticed an annoying trend in our clients’ Google Analytics configurations.
As a number of our clients started to upgrade to Universal Analytics or switched to GA implementation via GA, a number of small issues started to sprout.
These were the most common scenarios and issues:
Upgrading to Universal Analytics, forgetting to remove Classic
During the Classic to Universal upgrade, quite often our client’s development teams would forget to remove the Classic Analytics code whilst implementing Universal Analytics.
It’s a common mistake, but can go easily unnoticed.
Implementing GA via Google Tag Manager (GTM) and then forgetting to remove the original GA code
As more client’s started to adopt GTM to track GA (if you haven’t yet got started with this or are unsure about GTM, check out our post here), quite often they would implement the GTM container (containing GA tracking) but forget to remove the original GA code. Again, this would contribute to issues such as inflated page views, event interactions etc.
Multiple Types of Implementation
I’ve also seen scenarios where clients would use different types of implementation. For example, manual GA code implementation across the main site and then GA implementation via a WordPress plugin for a blog.
When there’s a trend in this kind of stuff, I get all irritable.
So I started exploring potential solutions.
Here’s how to check Google Analytics code is on every page of your site and, erm, the one hidden agenda behind this post.
6 GA Tagging Tools That Will Help – and One Hidden Agenda
ObservePoint does a whole lot more than just checking the pages that contain Google Analytics code.
You can consider this your enterprise tag management and debugging tool.
If you’re working on a large site (over 10,000 pages) and have are working with a significant number of third-party tags, it’s worth considering ObservePoint.
ObservePoint also offer App and Video tracking configuration solutions, in addition to expert support in respect of measurement planning.
If you have a fairly small site (under 1,000 pages) and the time to do a little manual analysis in Excel, you might want to consider using the Custom Search feature.
Simply add in your Google Analytics tracking ID or GTM container ID into the contains/does not contain section within Custom Search, run your crawl and then export the pages to CSV.
If you’re confident with Screaming Frog and Excel, this is a fairly easy process. If you’re not, it’s fiddly as hell.
Regardless, it’s likely not a useful solution for sites larger than 1,000 pages, primarily due to the time that it takes to crawl the site and that you also have to hope Screaming Frog doesn’t experience any timeout or crawling issues.
I’ve actually forgotten exactly how I done this but as I was testing a number of solutions, I used a combination of the WASP Chrome Extension Crawler and Tableau for reporting on tagging coverage.
If you’re not familiar with Tableau, they offer a suite of Analytics tools for data analysis and visualisation.
One of those includes a free Chrome Extension which, tucked away, includes a crawler.
Using the free crawler and up to two filters, you can scan a maximum of 100 pages and it will return detailed information about the tags on those pages, but only if you export the data and work within Tableau for reporting.
If you’re familiar with Tableau, this is a handy solution.
I’ve not used Hub’Scan so I can’t comment on the functionality.
Hub’Scan offer a suite of Analytics, Conversion and SEO tools, one of which specifically considers tagging efficiency and compliance.
You can book a free demo on the site, so, if you’re looking at a mid-range tagging solution with the additional SEO and Conversion extras, this might be worth a look.
This is a really useful, free tool that allows you to sense check Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager code implementation for up to 10,000 pages.
Plus, you can export the data to CSV once the crawl is finished.
As a sense-checking tool for Google Analytics tagging, it’s brilliant.
However, you won’t get the more granular detail in respect of tracking IDs and validation noted for some of the aforementioned tools.
TagCheckr does one thing and one thing well, it scans your website for tags. No validation, no debugging.
It’s simple to set up and you can get up weekly comparison reports to keep on top of your tagging coverage.
For small sites, there’s a free plan that allows you to scan up to 100 pages on 2 domains.
There are also additional plans that suit consultants and agencies.
Unfortunately, when I was testing it only allowed me to scan for Google Analytics OR GTM code and not both at the same time.
- My agenda, revealed.
I am selfish and sometimes, very particular.
I hope you forgive me for this plug.
None of the tools above gave me exactly what I wanted in order to efficiently and effectively deal with the common scenarios for our clients.
I needed something a little more flexible and that we could integrate more seamlessly with our day to day work here.
I also needed something that just took care of the scanning for tags, but with a little more granularity than some of the other tools provided.
So I built my own.
We call it the Tracking Coverage Report and it provides insights into:
- Which pages contain GTM
- Which pages contain GA
- Which pages contain multiple GA and/or GTM code
- Which pages contain both GA and GTM
- Which pages are missing GA and/or GTM
If, like me, you get a little itchy in not knowing whether your site is fully tagged, I think this will help.
But don’t take my word for it. Contact us if you’re interested in trying it out.