How to Debug GTM when Preview Mode Isn’t Working

This post details several reliable methods for debugging your Google Tag Manager implementation when the GTM debugging console doesn’t work properly, when preview debug data disappears when the page refreshes, or when the GTM preview pane won’t open at all. When you can’t get it to work, sometimes the best (or only) option is to … Read more

Track Disappearing Elements with Google Tag Manager

CSS selectors are one of the most flexible methods for creating triggers in Google Tag Manager. You can usually view the CSS selector for an element by opening the developer console (F12 on Windows/Linux or option + ⌘ + J on OSX) and clicking the inspect elements icon, or just hovering over the element and right-clicking Inspect. In some cases, however, this method … Read more

Direct Traffic in Google Analytics

Misunderstood Metrics #3: Direct Traffic (or how someone did not actually type in a URL 280 characters long) Here’s a question I got that represents much of the confusion around direct traffic. In my direct traffic report I’m seeing many deep page links receiving visits from direct traffic.  I heard that people bookmarking the page and … Read more

Bounce Rate vs. Exit Rate

Misunderstood Metrics #4: Bounce Rate vs. Exit Rate This post explains the difference between two misunderstood metrics: bounce rate and exit rate. Both of these metrics are used to understand how people are using your site, but bounce rate broadly indicates how well your site meets viewer expectations, while exit rate shows what pages were … Read more

Sessions per Page in Google Analytics

Misunderstood Metrics #2: Sessions Per Page Sessions are a standard metric throughout Google Analytics.  But one place you don’t see them is in the Content > Pages report.    Here, instead, you’ll see Pageviews and Unique Pageviews. Many enterprising users therefore try to get around this by creating their own custom report containing Page as … Read more

Attribution in Google Analytics

Misunderstood Metrics #1: GA Attribution (or how someone came to your site today from that email you sent out 4 months ago) GA does a great job of making web data accessible and intuitive but there are a few dimensions and metrics that tend to trip up users, including marketing sources. Users visit your site … Read more

Track Vanity URLs Using Redirects

This post shows how to set up 301 redirects to track vanity URLs in analytics tools like Google Analytics and IBM Digital Analytics (Coremetrics). This will ensure marketing query strings are appended to the destination page, so that marketing sources can be correctly tracked. Vanity URLs for Marketing Adding tracking parameters to URLs is an … Read more

How to Track Bing Ad Keywords in Google Analytics

Update: in 2014, Bing enabled auto-tagging: So this old post is only for reference, to remember how hard things used to be 😀 When Google Analytics tracks traffic coming in, it looks at the referring URL structure to determine if it is a search engine. This referring URL looks something like By comparing this … Read more