GA/GTM Wishlist

Even a good tool has room for improvement. There are some things, big and small, that I’d like to see in Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, and lest I forget them I made a nice little list. Some of them are rather unlikely to ever be implemented, while others seem so straightforward (plus they already exist in tools by other vendors) that they might just come to pass. So here is (not in any particular order) my wish list for GA and GTM.

Google Analytics

List Variables

Adobe Analytics already has them, Google Analytics needs them. List variables are dimensions to which success metrics are equally applied. Simple use case: A blog article appears in multiple categories, and you want to get the pageviews per category. At the moment you’d have to waste a custom definition per category, and, with the free version of GA, your will out of custom dimensions and metrics after 20 of them. A list var would hold all categories in one dimension and attribute the same number of pageviews to all categories that apply.

This would also remove an annoying constraint of the site search feature – while you can specify multiple parameters for search categories only one of them is used at a time. A list variable type would allowed a more fine-grained examination of the search queries.

Update: Lunametrics has a nice article on how you work around the missing list var feature.

(Even more) Extended Data Imports

Data imports have come a long way. However you can only enrich existing data, not create user interactions from scratch (the only thing that comes close is the queue time for mobile apps, and that goes back only four hours).

Now Google gives away a lot of processing power for free already, and recalculating all standard reports after a data upload would require even more, so I would not expect this to come to the free version. But for big clients who need to populate reports with interactions from their data warehouses this would be a useful (if difficult to implement) feature.

Update: This (or at least something rather like this) is now available in GA Premium accounts.

Data Removal

Currently when personally identifiable data sneaks into a data view you have a choice to either break the law and the TOS by keeping it, or delete all data and be without a data history. If you could remove or anonymize/change data after the fact that would help a lot. Would also help with referral spam.

API-Access to Annotations

I have a Google Spread sheet with an Google Apps script that makes bulk changes to several accounts at once (filters etc.). I would like the leave a message in the views of the respective account why I deemed to changes necessary, but as far as I can tell there is currently no way to write (or read) annotation programmatically.

API-Access to account history

GA keeps a history what resource has been changed by whom at what time (no matter if this happend via the GUI or the API). I’d like to access that via the API to keep track of changes.

“Word of God”

No a technical issue, but still. There are grey areas when you cannot be sure that a specific implementation is allowed by the Google Terms of Service (especially when it comes to storing meta-data where you must decide if this is PII in  the sense of the TOS).  The current attitude is “as long as nobody finds out…” (because what else can you do).  It would be nice to have somebody (even for the free version of GA) you can send your questions to, and then get a public, authoritative response that is binding for everybody.

Google Tag Manager

API-Access to Account History

Same as in GA.

Default Values for more Variable Types

Currently only the lookup table allows to set a default value. Some other types (url query, javascript variable, Cookie, basically the types that can be empty or not set) could use a default value setting, too. Not a big issue, but it would save time Okay, so I found a way to do this.

Notification Push API

For me this would be a big thing. We (as in “where I work”) have a big problem with collaboration, since multiple persons have to work at the same container at the same time. I’m currently experimenting with a few scripts that monitor the containers – they pull the fingerprints for tags, triggers and variables, and compare them to previously stored fingerprints. If they don’t match a notification is sent to all parties concerned (plus Im working on an automated diff for custom javascript, which alas makes up the bulk of our tags and variables).

Currently I have set up a cron that runs the script every few minutes. It would be so much more elegant if I could enter an URL somewhere in the GTM admin section that is pinged every time a relevant action (save, publish, revert etc.) takes place, maybe with some nice JSON message body that tells me who did what when.

Agree with my list ? If nothing else I’d be curious to know if anybody else faces the same problems I do.

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