Why giving back is so important, help out

Getting more experience can be hard when you’re just starting with your career. You’re either trying to hope to get into an internship, your first job or if you’re making a career move you just need the experience to keep up. But you’re living in a great time to get there as there are many options available to you to get started, which would almost deserve it’s own blog post. Today I’d like to talk about the idea of giving back to help you get more experience.

Giving back, even if you’re more experienced, is really important in my opinion. There are way too many NGOs, foundations that don’t have the resources (time, tools, people, knowledge, budget) to hire the experts in the field of SEO, Growth, Analytics and CRO. But there are many more opportunities for all of us to give back (our time). I’d like to highlight two initiatives that I’m working with in helping them out but that allow you as well to participate:

  • Analysis Exchange: Started by Analytics Demystified to give NGOs the ability to hire a mentor + student to help them with their web analytics projects. The perfect opportunity for people starting in web analytics to get taught by an industry expert in improving their skills. But also a great way for NGOs to get the help from two people during a couple weeks to help them out with their questions.
  • MeasureCamp (Amsterdam): A great initiative that MeasureCamp Amsterdam is starting during the next edition is reserving 8 time slots for a foundation/NGO to help them out with ideas from 100+ experts in different areas. That’s basically a hundred hours that day from top experts in the area of data, analytics, SEO and CRO that will get contributed and should help the chosen foundation in improving their web presence.

How are you helping!? What great initiatives am I missing that you & I could contribute our time + knowledge to?

Introducing: the Google Tag Manager & Google Analytics for AMP – WordPress Plugin

Today it’s time to make it easier for sites running AMP on WordPress to track & measure their web site traffic. Over the past weeks I’ve been working on a WordPress Plugin which supports adding Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics to your AMP pages. As AMP itself is quite a hard new platform to get completely right, I thought it was time to make it easier for developers, marketers and analysts to do more with the platform.

Over the last year AMP had as massive increase in support and their WordPress plugin is rising to the charts of the most downloaded plugins on WordPress but overall the support for web analytics & tag management is lacking. The documentation is available, but as the abilities within WordPress are still limited I thought it would be pretty straight forward to come up with a plugin to enable users to start using GTM & GA on AMP pages.

So that’s what this plugin will help you with, the ability to add Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager to your pages, start tracking more advanced features (outbound click tracking) and provide 10 (for now) custom variables that you can use as custom dimensions.

You’re curious how to start? Check this out:

Moving away from onclick events, data attributes it is

Onclick attributes are amazing to easily sent some data to the dataLayer. It will make sure that on every click the data is being sent:

<a href=”http://example.com” onclick=”dataLayer.push({‘eventCategory’:’Click’, ‘eventAction’:’This Link’, ’eventLabel’:’Anchor Text’});”>Link</a>

Looks valid right? It is and it will work for you. But the problem is that with external links the dataLayer push won’t hit the browser + Google Tag Manager before the browser moves on to the external link (not taken into account links that open in a new tab/window). Which means that you’ll lose the onclick event in Google Tag Manager and won’t be able to record it.

But there is a great alternative, which we switched to for The Next Web when we found out this was happening. Data attributes can be very useful instead. If you’d use them like this:

<a href=”http://example.com” data-eventCategory:’Click’, data-eventAction:’This Link’, data-eventLabel:’Anchor Text’”>Link</a>

Why this works? The link attributes on click will always be sent automatically to Google Tag Manager. So making sure that the data attributes are part of the link and not in a separate dataLayer.push will improve it. Next step is to create a variable in Google Tag Manager for all three attributes:

Make sure to set the default value to undefined. In this case Google Tag Manager won’t take any actions in the next step, which will be defining the Trigger. Repeat this another two times for the Event Action and Event Label.

This trigger will check all incoming links, with a data-event-category attribute that doesn’t equal undefined and that has any values. In the next step for your Tag you can use all three variables that you’ve defined before.

You’re all set! You can now use data-attributes for your links to make sure that you won’t lose any data when the browser isn’t ready to receive dataLayer pushes and you just made your tracking a bit more efficient!

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 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 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 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 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.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

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: @MartijnSchRoblox Free Unlimited Robux and Tix

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 on but also write some long reads around SEO, Web Analytics, Marketing and Tag Management that I didn’t think would fit with the audience of The Next Web.

As I just finished 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 see where this ends up!