How to Check Your Tag Management Based Release… Before You Hit Publish

August 15, 2015 Patrick Hillery

(This post takes 2 minutes to read)

One of the first opportunities I quickly identified when joining ObservePoint a month ago was automating the QA of Tag Management based releases. Countless companies who are doing manual QA can significantly benefit from this discovery.

There is always some trepidation when you hit the publish button and push changes into production. I used to manually QA along with the company’s Analytics/QA person on the pages that were slated to be affected, but in the back of my mind I always wondered if my change would have some unintended consequence on a page I never thought to QA.

By customizing an automated QA engine like ObservePoint, you can audit a large number of Production Pages while accessing the staging, DEV, or QA library from your Tag Manager Solution to preview your changes before they go live thereby relieving any fear.

The customization is accomplished by adding some JavaScript code or a URL for your QA engine to execute in the browser before performing a scan. In ObservePoint the code is added in a User Session if you are running an Audit, or by adding it as an Action if you are running a Simulation.

Here are the lines of code from some top vendors we work with:

Adobe DTM:
localStorage.setItem(‘sdsat_stagingLibrary’, true);

Tealium: (limited testing of this script so use at your own risk)
var start=”utag_env_”;
var first= start.concat(account,”_”,profile);
prod_dash = window.utag.cfg.path.lastIndexOf(‘prod/’);
utag_location = window.utag.cfg.path.substring(0,prod_dash).concat(‘qa/utag.js’);
document.cookie=first.concat(“=”,utag_location) ;

Requires a valid signal account to debug in order to write a script. Please contact me if you are a signal customer and interested in helping find a solution.

Currently not possible due to their architecture which includes a direct load the bootstrap file synchronously.

Google Tag Manager:
For more information checkout Clint Eagar‘s post: “How to Verify Tag Changes with Google Tag Manager in Preview Mode”.   

Here are two examples of where to paste them in ObservePoint:

Inside of your Audit:

First, select the “Record a new user session” check box.

Google Tag Manager Setup in ObservePoint:

Adobe DTM Setup in ObservePoint:

Make sure to click “Save” and every request after your User Session executes will be from a Dev, QA, or Staging library of the TM.

Within a Simulation:

Simply paste the corresponding above script in the first action the simulation performs.

A TMS offers a lot of flexibility and also exposes a system to an increased level of risk. Options to mitigate the risk include: increasing your QA teams’ workload, growing the QA team(s), limiting releases, or you could automate the QA process with a solution like ObservePoint.

Image Credit: wtodi


About the Author

Patrick Hillery

Patrick was a Consultant at Adobe for 8 years, spending the last couple of years working as one of the first Principle MSAs (Multi-product Solution Architects) where he attempted to learn and deploy the full Adobe Stack. During his tenure, Patrick also had the unique opportunity of consulting onsite at Dell and Facebook. Patrick has been at ObservePoint for over 3 years leading the Customer Success and Sales Engineering Organizations.

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