Started week 12 with a new and last course of this mini degree program.
The course was about Advanced Google Tag Manager.
What you’ll learn:
2) Customizing GTM event tracking to track interactions on a site.
3) Customizing your Google Analytics setup using Tasks API, hitCallback, the Google Analytics Settings variable, and regular expressions.
4) Ins and outs of the dataLayer.
5) Turning GTM into a true force of power in your data organization.
We’ll take a look at event tracking, how it relates to the data-layer structure. And how it relates to Google Tag Manager’s underlying triggering mechanism. We’ll jump right into advanced Google analytics tracking, talk about the tracker object, talk about ecommerce. And look at some ways that you can really customize your implementation and your set-up. And finally, we will wrap things up with automation with the programmatic API. And take a look at one of the newest features of Google Tag Manager which is the custom template. With this class and this course, I hope you will be able to build a vocabulary around some of the more technical concepts of Google Tag Manager, and help you introduce those into the organizations and projects you work on, just so that you can improve the ways in which you handle this tool that can be such a versatile help in your day-to-day life as an analyst, or as a developer, or a marketer. So if you’re ready to go, we can jump right in and look at the curriculum of the course. And I’ll give you some resources that will help you get through the course, but also that will help you get along as an advanced Google Tag Manager user. This course is titled Advanced Google Tag Manager. Now I want to start off by saying that it’s very difficult to describe what advanced actually means, because if you took this course, first of all you might be hesitant to, you know if this course is even right for you. Because you might be advanced with GTM, but you might be just beginning with Java Script or other programming languages. Or similarly, you might be an advanced developer, but you have no idea how to use GTM. And you’re heard conflicting stories about how Java Script is the foundation of GTM, for example. Something I’ve propagated myself. So in this course overview, we’ll take a look at the curriculum. There are 11 different lessons here grouped into different themes. So the thematic groups are those that actually carry the course forward. We’ll go over these thematic groups and at the end of the course, I’ll also introduce some resources to help you on your learning path after you’ve taken the course.
On the other hand, you know, this is your money. This is your own learning path. There’s nothing stopping you from only following those lessons you find interesting. And you won’t miss out on anything by just picking and mixing like this. Just some of the references can be kind of opaque, since I’ll be referring to these earlier lessons as well. So having said all that, let’s take a look at what the actual journey looks like. So this first part is really just about a quick overview of the curriculum after which we’ll jump into our first thematic group, which is event tracking. And we’re talking about event tracking in GTM, how Google Tag Manager’s own event tracking works. This isn’t the same as Google Analytics or Facebook Event Tracking. It’s totally separate from those. We’ll actually be talking about the data layer structure, and how this data layer structure has been used as a message cue for GTM, which is then being used to fire triggers and tags with this custom event messages that you push to Google Tag Manager. So we’ll talk about the data layer. We’ll talk about the message cue. This is one of the most fundamental parts about Good Tag Manager. So understanding the interaction between the data layer and how event tracking works in GTM is one of the ways to unlock your power user skills in GTM. So after that, we’ll jump into lesson number three which is where we’ll manipulate the way that GTM handles events to really enhance and augment Google Tag Manager’s own triggering capabilities. So we’ll be talking about how to create your own custom event listeners. It has it’s own topic for a good reason. I think it’s one of the finest ways to use GTM’s custom scripting capabilities to really enhance and improve GTM by yourself. So we’ll be talking about different auto event tracking mechanisms, and I’ll show you some use cases that should be very relevant to you when you’re working with websites. After event tracking, we’ll jump into the world of Google Analytics. This for me is part of the course that I always find most difficult to justify, because not all GTM users are Google Analytics users. So I’m obviously very sorry if you’re in this group that doesn’t need GA, because this part of the course might be a bit irrelevant to you. But anecdotally, I’m guessing most users of GTM do use GA, and that’s why I found it okay to kind of justify the existence of this thematic group. So the Google Analytics thematic group is in three parts, and we’ll start with a little theory talking about the tracker object. And the tracker object is something that the universal analytics library, that also GTM leverages builds as an abstraction layer on top of another thing called the measurement protocol. So the measurement protocol is the underlying fundamental way to send data to Google Analytics. So we’ll learn how GA for web uses the tracker object to send these hits to Google Analytics and GTM has some idiosyncratic ways of using the tracker object that might actually create some problems with single-page apps, for example. After the tracker object, we’ll jump to custom task. And I’m going to be humble and non-hyperbolic here, but I’ll say that custom task is the most useful way to customize Google Analytics implementation, especially when using Google Tag Manager. So we’ll spend lesson number five learning what custom task actually is, and how you can use it to really shape those hits you sent to GA in really interesting and imaginative ways. And the final part of the GA thematic group is enhanced ecommerce. It’s actually the reporting group that I’ve useful in Google Analytics. So we’ll about enhanced ecommerce implementation, and especially some of the quirks and tips and tricks you might just want to know before you jump right in. Part number four will be talking about the programmatic API of Google Tag Manager. If you haven’t used APIs before, you might still know what they are. So an API’s typically a programming interface that in GTM’s case let’s you automate some really trivial manual jobs. So we’ll talk about the API, because it’s one of the most advanced ways to use GTM. So it’s a perfect fit for this course. And the more you use GTM, the more you’ll find yourself needing the API, especially if you’re an agency or if you’re an in-house user with dozens or hundreds of GTM properties to handle. Updating a single tag across 200 containers is a horrible thing to do manually, but it’s almost trivial to do with the API. In lesson seven, we’ll talk about how the API works, what it’s methods are like, what resources are passed from one method to the other, and how this API pulls all of this together to do those automated tasks. And I’ll show you some cool resources for how to play around with the API without actually having to write any of the API governing code itself. But this wouldn’t be a very special course unless we actually did some code writing as well. So in lesson eight, we’ll build our own API tool. And it’s a two-for-one bonus, because you’ll also learn how to use the spreadsheets API as we’ll be building a Google Sheets extension that uses that GTM API to pull some documentation data from GTM and let’s you build your own kind of complicated mess of data from GTM combined in a spreadsheet. In part five, I’ll introduce custom templates, which is the last thematic group of this course. Custom templates were introduced in early 2019,and they’re a way to create user interfaces around custom scripts. So they’re ways to make your custom scripts more durable and easier to use, because the user doesn’t have to copy paste any code, which always introduces risks for errors. But it’s more than just about a UI refresher, it’s also about a custom permission and access bevel control model. So we’ll be talking about template security as well. And we’ll be talking about how you can use permissions and policies to govern what kind of code templates are allowed to fire on your side. Custom templates are all about building trust between website managers and GTM users. In lesson ten, we’ll actually create our own custom template using a specific advertising library as an example. We’ll talk about how to build the brand data for the template. And we’ll also talk about, and I’ll show you how the sandbox java script of Google Tag Manager’s custom templates actually works. And how the different UI parts really come together. And in the final part of this course, we’ll go over what we’ve actually learned. We’ll look at the different thematic groups again and recap all the stuff we’ve talked about. And we’ll also go over some useful resources for your journey as an advanced GTM user. So we’ll actually talk about how do you continue now that you’ve taken this advanced course.
There’s a bunch of useful resources that you can visit and read while exploring some of the lessons contents in detail. And there’s some community building here as well, which you’ll find helpful. And the first one I want to introduce is Measure Slack, which is one of the best communities for the measure folks around there. So you can apply for an invitation. It’s an invite-only community, so the URL on the slide is where you can apply for an invitation. It has one of the best communities for Google Tag Manager, but also for other vendors and tools, such as GA, Adobe. There’s a channel for blogs. There’s a channel for conferences. There’s a channel for data science, data privacy, and so on. So we have a lot of cool and really advanced discussions about how to implement GTM, what GTM’s role is in the modern organization, and so on. In my opinion, this is the best level of community and discussion for anyone who wants to deep dive into tools like Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics. There are also beginners there as well, but the overall level, I would say, is more in the intermediate advanced side of things, which I think is very, very good because there are so many beginner communities out there already. And one of those beginner communities is the official support community for GTM, where Googlers and volunteers, like myself, help people out with their problems using Google Tag Manager. But my point of showing this, I don’t expect you to start asking questions here, because you’re obviously an advanced user already, but my point of showing this community is to flip it around a bit. I would love it if after taking this course, you would actually pay things forward and help folks out in the community. So be an active member of the support community. And there’s another reason why you might want to do this, I believe it’s the best way to keep your skill up. Answering questions that might seem simple at first, but really unravel themselves into huge, complex problems will help you keep your detective skills really sharp. And kind of just remind you that there’s a fundamental layer of knowledge around GTM as well. And if you only focus on the most advanced things, you’ll forget the fundamental level. So being active in this kind of community is really great for making sure that you still have the basic skills as well, which is what your clients will pay for if you’re in an agency, for example. And there are other communities such as the one on Read it and Facebook, but I would say that the support community is the best place to play it forward. There aren’t that many books around GTM, but this book by LunaMetrics, known as Bounteous today, is just a great one. It’s a practical guide for GA and GTM development work. Obviously as a book, it’s a bit outdated. But the approach that Jonathon and the Bounteous team took is just so well established in the book. They’ve done such a great job in defining GTM and GA network, that I really recommend this volume. There are lots of books that touch upon GTM, but I want to say that this is the best book that’s totally focused on advanced Google Tag Managing views. Again, it does have beginner and intermediate level stuff as well. Because like I’ve said all along, it’s very hard to be advanced with GTM because it’s such a complicated topic. But this book is definitely a good one to include in your library. So here I’m tooting my own horn a bit, but my blog should be useful for advanced GTM and GA customization tips. So there’s lots and lots of articles about how to really take Google Tag Manager and use it to send the data to GA in inventive and efficient ways.