Measurement is such an important aspect of digital marketing – arguably the most important. How else do you know if your efforts are working or going to waste? To truly understand website and marketing performance it is imperative that tracking be installed and installed correctly. Whilst Google makes it as easy as possible to install tracking codes for their software (such as Google Analytics), people are prone to “human error” and have potential to make mistakes. Obviously, prevention is better than cure and it’s much better to find and rectify any potential tracking errors now vs. spend time confusing yourself with skewed data later on.
How it Works
The Google Tag Assistant Chrome extension sits as a button next to the address bar in Chrome and allows you to very quickly and easily see what Google tags exist on the page/domain you’re viewing and verify that those tags are working correctly. If errors are found, the plugin will provide recommendations with simple steps to solve your tracking issues and get you back on the right track (pun intended), all within a single click! By default, the extension will require instruction from the user after clicking it and forces one of two options: “Always Check this Domain” or “Check this Domain Now” and then report accordingly.
What Tags does it Check?
Most Google tags can be checked (and are be default) including Google Analytics, Adwords Conversion Tracking, Google Tag Manager plus more. Extras can be configured inside the extension’s settings (see below screenshot).
Now that Google Universal Analytics has been officially released out of beta, I’ve been going through my clients websites and personal projects and categorising them into a list with one of four actionables:
- Install – Which sites don’t have tracking setup?
- Fix – Which sites have broken tracking?
- Update/Upgrade – Which sites can have their tracking improved?
- All Good! (Working) – Which sites are setup correctly?
Luckily for me, most of my clients and projects fall into the “Update/Upgrade” category (somewhat easier to action) as many of them are using older Analytics code and I want to move them to the new system to take advantage of the extra features of Google Analytics Universal. It’s also great to do this now in a progressive manner vs. doing it in the future when the old code is deprecated and having to rush before a close date.
You can see for my blog that the extension lights up green in my toolbar (indicating everything is all good!) and when I click on “Working” I’m shown more information such as the Property ID, Version and Snippet etc. In this case, the tool is reporting that “Universal with Display Features” is installed correctly and working which is exactly what I want – neat!
Bonus – Link to Google Analytics Properties!
By enabling an extra feature in the settings, you can give permission to the tool to have access to your Google Analytics enabling direct links into the Google Analytics front-end for the accounts you are managing. You can also set it up to ONLY check those domains you’re managing in GA if you like.
Get the Extension!
The extension has many uses – I’ve really only covered the basics. For most, this is all you’ll need. You can grab the Google Tag Assistant Chrome extension from the web store here.
You can join the Tag Assistant community on Google+ here.