Google Tag Manager has released a number of new features, all of which will make their way into Reprise’s Analytics tagging frameworks. Information seems to be fairly sparse online, though, and beyond the Google documentation there doesn’t seem to have been much written about them yet. They all give excellent new features to use in tracking user engagement and conversions, making it easier than ever to get accurate, reliable data.

 

Conversion Linker

A couple of months ago Apple announced that Safari was going to begin disabling 3rd party cookies by default, with any 3rd party cookies becoming unavailable for use after the first 24 hours. This sent shockwaves around the digital marketing industry, with various accusations flying around, not least of which that Apple was trying to ‘sabotage the economic model for the internet’. Whilst this was possibly hyperbole, the update had massive implications for those of us involved in the monitoring of the effectiveness of digital marketing.

One of the immediate problems was that DoubleClick and other ad servers immediately stopped being able to reliably monitor conversions, as any conversions made after the first day could not be tied to the initial click. Google promptly announced that they were going to start algorithmically estimating the conversions coming from Safari and other browsers blocking 3rd party cookies. While this is OK as a workaround, it inevitably leads to mismatches between the number of conversions reported from different tools.

This new release in Google Tag Manager definitely appears to offer a better solution. Basically, it automatically converts all 3rd-party advertising tags into 1st-party tags when a user lands on the website, meaning those cookies can be used to monitor conversions long after the 24-hour timeout has passed. Using these tags is a no-brainer for any site running DoubleClick campaigns.

conversionlinker

 

Scroll Tracking

In the past, scroll tracking using Google Tag Manager could be a long and laborious process – it relied on the client having an up-to-date version of JQuery installed, and required a large amount of custom code to be installed on a site before it would work. With GTM’s new release of a ‘Scroll Tracking’ trigger, this is all done automatically for you – tags can be set up to run on page scroll straight out of the box!

scrolltrigger

But that’s not all…

Element Visibility Tracking

Probably the most exciting release of the lot! In addition to the standard scroll tracking, the brand new ‘Element Visibility’ trigger lets you fire a tag when an element becomes visible on the page. There are a massive number of options for this trigger (such as the percentage of an element that needs to be visible on the screen before the trigger fires), all of which will be useful for tracking user engagement. The most useful of these is the ability to monitor changes to the DOM, which finally makes it possible to reliably fire conversions on dynamic webpages (or pages with badly implemented forms) without having to resort to a large amount of custom JavaScript.

elementvisibility

Video Tracking

Although not quite as recent a release as the other features in this post, the native tracking of embedded YouTube video has only been around about a month, and is definitely worth a mention. This makes it extremely easy to set up triggers for a user starting, watching or completing a video, which means it is much easier to set up engagement events and conversions based around video content.

videotrakcingWe’ve still had a small amount of trouble with this trigger (especially when tracking videos that dynamically load after a user interaction), but overall it has made life considerably easier in what was traditionally one of the most awkward parts of a tagging deployment.

All in all, a big thankyou to the GTM development team for getting all this done so quickly – it will definitely save us here at Reprise a lot of time!

 

 

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Toby Shaw

I am Reprise's Associate Director in Analytics. I've spent the last 7+ years working in data science & analysis for the digital marketing industry in both London and Australia. Here at Reprise I work with some of the country's leading brands, helping them make the most of their digital data.