How to Check Your Analytics Tags Are Working with a Tag Debugger

February 22, 2018 Matt Thomas

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Without proper oversight, analytics tags can break.

There are a number of reasons why this can happen, but regardless, you need to frequently check your analytics tags to make sure you’re not losing data.

A fantastic way to check your analytics is using a free tag debugger, or analytics checker. Tag debuggers scan individual pages for various analytics and marketing tags and provide you important information about these tags, such as tag presence, tag status (200, 300, etc.) and tag speed.

By using a tag debugger, developers, analysts and marketers move away from “set it and forget it” to “set it and check it.” The results? Better data and greater confidence in the insights.

How to Use a Tag Debugger

There are several free tag debuggers available on the market. ObservePoint’s solution, named TagDebugger (go figure), extends your browser’s developer tools, allowing you to quickly check for analytics and marketing tags on individual web pages.

After installing the tag debugger, users have access to a new feature within their Google Developer tools. Instead of being confronted with a noisy list of request URLs, the debugger provides a clean, categorized, visually appealing list of all tags recognized by the analytics checker.

Vendor List

And by clicking on a tag, you can see additional variable data. This allows you to ensure tags are correctly capturing data.

Showing Variables

Want more information on how it works? Jump over to this tag debugger tutorial. Still want to learn more about what the debugger can do? Read on, my friend.

Test Event-Triggered Tags

One of the key benefits of using ObservePoint’s tag debugger is the ability to watch how tags respond to website behavior. By clicking the Record button (the circle above the vendor list), users can perform quality assurance on event-triggered tag firing.

For example, an eCommerce marketer or analyst might want to check whether a tag properly collects and sends a product SKU and device ID to a remarketing platform when a user performs a successful search and clicks on a product.

Or if a company utilizes a recommendation engine, the data stakeholder might want to ensure the engine’s tag collects event-specific personalization variables.

Download and Analyze Tag Data

After scanning your pages for all the existing tags, you can download a .tab file containing all of the information about each of your vendors. You can then open this file in Google Sheets or Excel, allowing you to quickly sort and filter data to help identify potential areas to improve.

Tag Comparison Reporting

Tag comparison reporting allows you to see how tags perform over time. Comparison reporting is important for ensuring tags work properly before and after changes to a website.

TagCompare is a new addition to ObservePoint’s freemium solutions, and is an early-stage micro-solution to help users generate comparison reports. After moving through a site, recording and downloading vendor data, you can upload your .tab file into TagCompare for further current or historical analysis.

Check Your Analytics with a Scalable Tag Governance Solution

Tag debuggers are amazing tools for checking analytics tags are working. But when it comes to scalability and access to resources, you’re not going to be able to check every single tag, page or path on your website.

If your website is large enough that you need to scale your efforts, a robust tag governance solution that can quickly scan thousands of pages on a site might be a better fit. Consider a free sample audit to check your analytics tags are working as expected.

In the meantime, download TagDebugger to spot-check your pages on the fly, and use this tag debugger tutorial to get started.

 

About the Author

Matt Thomas

Matt Thomas has worked with product implementation and development since 2007, working for high-profile software companies like Omniture and Adobe, and consulting both domestically and internationally for renowned tech giants including Apple, Inc. and Telstra. His area of expertise is customer-centric product development, working with cross-functional teams to create an intuitive platform and positive customer experience. Before ObservePoint, Matt worked at Needle, an industry-leader in advocate-powered customer experience, which heightened his passion for CX optimization.

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