If you use multiple tracking tags on your site for Google based products eg:
- AdWords Conversion Tracking
- AdWords Remarketing
- DoubleClick FloodLight
- Google Analytics or
- Google Tag Manager
Then a handy little tool which will help ensure your tags are correctly implemented is Google Tag Assistant, a plugin for Google Chrome.
Why should I install this plugin?
I’ve personally found that there has been many similar browser based plugins that can do the same job, but they often only go so far as to look for a particular pattern of code in your page’s HTML i.e they use something like a Regular Expression to try and determine if a script is present on your website.
I previously demonstrated how it was possible to see data being sent to Google Analytics, which for me is my #1 preferred method of validating a tag like Google Analytics is working, but the drawback with that method is that it requires several additonal steps just to check if the tag is working.
What I like about Google Tag Assistant is that at a glance (read visually) you can quickly determine if there are problems with your tag(s) installed on your website.
Another great thing about Tag Assistant is that it can sometimes pick up minor issues with your code syntax that you may miss when just viewing the HTML source of your page. These minor issues may not prevent the tag from working, but could lead to other data collection issues – which can sometimes be more difficult to pick up/troubleshoot.
A handy little feature is the colour indicators next to tags:
- Green means your tag is working perfectly.
- Blue means your tag is working but we have some minor suggestions.
- Yellow means we detected a couple of minor issues – which could mean the tag doesn’t work for everyone.
- Red means the tag is broken and either not functioning as intended or not working at all.
You can read more about these states here in the help centre.
A couple of notes from someone with experience using this tool. On the odd occasion the tool can throw ‘false positives’ i.e it can detect problems that may not exist. I’ve noticed this more-so with websites where clients have customised their implementations beyond the normal recommended setup.
In cases like this you shouldn’t necessarily panic, instead I rely on HTTP header/response information available via tools like Chrome Developer tools as the final word, but Tag Assistant is a great way to get instant validation and to perhaps serve as the canary in the goldmine for potentially bigger problems.
In my next post i’ll be walking you through installing Google Tag Manager and we’ll use Google Tag Assistant (similar names I know, try not to confuse the 2) to help validate that we have everything installed correctly.