Thursday, October 24, 2013

No Code Required - Auto Analytics Event Tracking with Google Tag Manager #GASummit2013

Coming off of the Google Analytics Summit 2013, some exciting things have been officially announced!

The most exciting to me is an update to Google Tag Manager that allows Analytics Event Tracking to be setup without writing any code! As a developer, it is an ongoing battle to keep Analytics running at its best with some random SEO/marketing group messing around with URL based events and sloppily throwing together Analytics goals without even telling anyone. This is a dangerous practice when the person setting up the goals doesn't understand how the site works.

Event-tracking is the best solution for tracking site data in a surprisingly large number of cases, but if the client doesn't communicate their needs to the developer and the marketing company doesn't reach out either then how can the developer know that Event Tracking should be implemented? They can't... and even if there is great communication all around and all parties agree that Event Tracking should be implemented, it still takes custom coding to make it happen. With these barriers, Event Tracking surely doesn't get used as often as it should.

With the new Auto Event Tracking in Google Tag Manager, a developer simply needs to implement tracking via Tag Manager and then the client, marketing company, or developer themselves can login and add custom Event Tracking without ever editing the code on the website. Too good to be true? It kind of is... Auto Event Tracking isn't for the faint of heart. It requires some Analytics know-how and a certain degree of developer style logic to make the pieces come together. In the end, someone experienced with Analytics implementations should still be generating the Auto Event Tracking rules, but this new system does allow for much better transparency and collaboration across all parties involved.

Thanks to Justin Cutroni for a good Auto Event Tracking video tutorial of the changes and features.

I am looking forward to trying this out on my next project. Anyone implemented it already? What do you think?

Google Music Adds "I'm Feeling Lucky Mix" Automatic Playlist

Tired of Pandora and iTunes Radio playing the same songs over and over, no matter what station you listen to? That's why you listen to Google Music right? That's the case with me.

Personally, I love Google Music.... everything about it actually. Though I admit I have been waiting for a more automated way of listening. Instant Mixes are great, but are still too 'dictated' by me so they can grow stale. That is all changing as Google Music's new "I'm Feeling Lucky Mix" has added some new excitement to listening habits.

Login to Google Music and you'll see this:
Click the magic "I'm Feeling Lucky Mix" button and, based on my experience so far, you won't be disappointed. You can expect songs that match your listening preferences, not just a long list of songs from your most played playlists or a bunch of songs you've "thumbs up'ed" like previous attempts at this sort of thing may have you expecting. You can also expect the mix to be very diverse across all genres which makes it more interesting.