The discovery & benefits of using ga:dataSource in Google Analytics

As there is always something new to learn in this world I recently came across (by a tip from Simon Vreeman) the dimension: dataSource in Google Analytics. It’s one that isn’t very well known, as it’s not available through any of the default reports, but can help bigger companies with integrations in multiple places in a great way. In our case it was incredibly useful to make reporting on AMP performance more easy.

DataSource is meant to provide an additional field to send where you’re sending the data from. But it’s different from a hostname or page path because it’s more about the source. By default it will always send the value: ‘web’ for sites, ‘app’ for mobile apps and apparently ‘amp’ for AMP tracking. Something that, in our case, was very valuable as traffic on AMP pages can be hard to find as a bulk. Filtering on pages that have ?amp or /amp/ as a pageview ain’t great if you want to see the traffic sources for 1 specific article. With LinkedIn also supporting AMP that won’t make it easier. Discovering dataSource makes it easier for us to kill a custom dimension to set the dataSource and immediately being able to filter down on this and then on referral traffic.
How you can leverage it? Send data from a specific source, for example your CRM, data warehouse or your email campaigns. We’re sending for The Next Web a hit to Google Analytics via the measurement protocol to track email opens. We’ll probably move this over as we would see it as a different dataSource then it being a ‘web’ hit.

How to configure the dataSource

Google Tag Manager: You can easily set it up in Google Tag Manager by creating an additional field that you can set, apparently it’s so unknown that it isn’t covered in the default field that are suggested. But if you add ‘dataSource’ as a field and enter the value (in this case a hardcoded value, but I would recommend going with a GTM variable).

Google Analytics: Setting this up in Google Analytics works in about the same way, you can add it as an additional field in your hit call to GA to set it by adding it like this.

@GoogleAnalytics: I know you’re reading this, please help us and update the documentation to also mention ‘amp’ being a default data source for tracking on AMP pages.

How to report

Creating a I custom report

As the dimension isn’t available through a standard report you’ll have to create a custom report to do so. With our data I created a report like this that can be used to report on where traffic is coming from specifically (I’ll talk about the hit referral path in another blog post).

Look „Kobieca at this table 😃 with information about the dataSource dimension

What am I reading in 2017?

In August I wrote about what I did/was/would be reading in 2016. Although I haven’t finished reading all these books I have already planned on reading a ton of new books this year. My goal is to read even more, to get smarter, read about new things and just dive into more knowledge. So far that’s going pretty well as my new Kindle makes on me like reading even more.

Usually before the new year starts I already compiled a list of books that I’d like to read, that I’ve come across during the cheap nba jerseys year and that made it to my Amazon wish list. I’ve ordered most of them by now or put them on my Kindle so I can get started right away.

So what will I be reading in 2017:

Recommendations?

I’m not reading a ton of marketing related books according to this list. So what are the books that you think I should be reading around: Growth/Marketing/Data/Analytics this year? Let me know: @MartijnSch

Oh no! You’re also starting a blog?

Yes! I’m sorry ;). For the past two years I blogged mainly on The Next Web around how we do Marketing for The Next Web, did some guest posts and tried out Medium (not great for sharing code snippets). But during that time I felt the need for a personal blog that I could use to share some quick tips & ideas Football on but also write some long reads around wholesale jerseys SEO, Web Analytics, Marketing and Tag Management that I didn’t think would fit with the audience of The Next Broker Web.

As I just finished goud a short sabbatical (a great perk of working for The Next Web) I finally had time to spent some of it working on creating this blog.

My goals for this blog? I would like to go more in depth about small topics, provide more tools and post more around the talks that I’ve been giving in the past two years. My SlideShare contains all the slides but some of them could use some additional explanation. Also I might cross some of my old posts from The Next Web to kick start the blog.

We’ll Spotmask see where this ends up!