Proper tracking and measurement of the web is critical to advertising. Accurate data helps optimize and report on campaign performance. The technical details can get overwhelming and seem too much to deal with. You might be tempted to sit back and hope that the tracking is being done correctly, rather than proactively reviewing it.
This article will teach you how to check what tags are on a site, what information is being sent, and how to properly set up the tags. We'll use some plugins and techniques to assess accuracy and troubleshoot issues.
What is Tag Validation and why is it important?
Tag validation checks which tags are triggered and what information they send. This is necessary to implement new tags and to diagnose tracking errors. Proper validation ensures that you can trust your data and make informed decisions based on that data.
How to use tools to review your tags
Most of the users are familiar with setting up a tag and waiting for data to be populated on the ad platforms. This is helpful, but not a diagnosis. You may see the data output, but the collection process is not in real time.
Tools and plugins can make this process straightforward and accessible. No arcane tricks or technical knowledge are required either!
Tag tracking plugin types
There are two main types: those created by the ad platforms and third-party tools.
Most of the major ad platforms have browser extensions for website tracking verification. These can be helpful in diagnosing certain tag structures or details.
Third-party tools are more robust in coverage. They monitor network requirements to sort and organize the logs in a readable format. This will allow you to view multiple tags at the same time and better understand the full tracking situation on a page.
Platform specific plugins
Platform plugins can be helpful due to the special features they provide. For example, Facebook easily splits up the attributes of each event, which can be helpful when creating dynamic remarketing ads.
Assistants such as the Google Tag Assistant flag problems with the tags, point out errors, and suggest updates to the implementation.
Here is a list of helpful ad platform plugins:
These are best if you are working with a limited number of platforms or want a guided approach to troubleshooting. These plugins can be your first check to make sure tags are working properly. If you need more flexibility, there are plugins for that too!
Third party plugins
Third party plugins are useful for:
- Tracking multiple types of inquiries
- Provide running logs across pages
- Make the Network Requirements tab more readable
Two great options are Omnibug and Web Analytics Solution Profiler (WASP). Both are located on the developer tab of your browser.
Both plugins offer a clearer view of the tags and the respective requirements on site. WASP visualizes the requirements as a tree and organizes files, scripts and information by platform. This will bring all relevant information together on the page.
Omnibug provides the data in a list format that can be expanded or collapsed as required. It's also easier to follow when you go page to page and want to scan a running log. This is useful for keeping track of funnel activity.
One of the advantages of WASP is that it covers everything and is not limited to just supported platforms. This can be helpful if you are following new platforms or non-promotional activity.
Most tagging problems are related to typos or misfires. Using these tools can remove the technical barrier to marking. Instead of looking at a network log, you get a readable output of the communication on site.
Each tool gives you a different view of what could be wrong and how your on-site setup works. Even if you don't place the tags, these tools can help you troubleshoot problems and find inconsistencies in your analytics or web teams.