December 12, 2019
How to Debug and Fix tracking errors

How to Debug and Fix tracking errors

– Do you trust the data
you are collecting? If not, in this video, you’re
gonna learn a framework to ensure your tracking
is working correctly. I’m gonna give you a five-step
process you can follow to determine any problems with
your tracking and solve them. All and more coming up right after this. (energetic music) Hi there, and welcome to another
video of, where we teach you the data-driven
way of digital marketing. My name is Julian, and on this channel, we do marketing tech reviews, tutorials, and how-to videos just like this one. So if you haven’t yet,
consider subscribing. Now a lot of you guys have followed along with our tutorials and
installed new tracking on your website over the past few months. But maybe looking at the data now, you find that it doesn’t
seem that accurate anymore, or is definitely broken. What can you do? Well, you could investigate and see if you can find the error. How? That’s a question I actually
get asked quite often, so I thought I’d break it down for you. I’ve come up with a framework you can use to find tracking errors,
test your existing tracking, and get a clearer picture of your data. Now, we got lots to
cover, so let’s dive in. (energetic music) Before we start diagnosing
our tracking error, we need to go through
some preparations first. So step one is writing down
your tracking steps and results. Before you start testing,
you want to have a replicable process to go through
with a measurable outcome. So for example, if your
conversion is a transaction in an e-commerce store
and you wanna test that, you should go through the
steps of adding a product to your cart, going through the checkout and using your credit card
or another payment method, and then landing on the thank you page where the conversion actually happens. Now the results you are
trying to achieve is that the conversion actually shows up in your e-commerce reports
in Google Analytics. That’s the measurable
outcome that will determine if your test was successful or not. Having steps like these
written down will give you a clear picture of the variables, and determine a definitive
checkpoint to go back later to. If you are done with
this, we can proceed to step number two which is getting
your debugging tools ready. You cannot see what you cannot see. Tracking is not directly visible to you on the website itself, it
works by sending requests to the tools in the background. So if any errors happened,
you wouldn’t necessarily see them in the browser. That’s where debugging tools come in. Now, it often depends
which platform or device you wanna try to debug,
but for web tracking, we have quite good tools to our disposal. For example, if you are using
GTM to deploy your tracking, you have the preview
and debug console to see a lot of information already
about your tag deployment. There are also hosts of
other different extensions for Chrome which can make
your tracking visible, depending on your tag. There’s a tag assistant, a tag inspector, a Facebook pixel helper,
WAST, GA debugger, and more. If you need to see the
requests that are really coming and going from your browser and you don’t mind getting
a little bit more technical, you can utilize the
Chrome developer tools. Other than that, you can
also use external proxies such as Fiddler or Charles,
to see what is being sent and received by the browser. No matter what you are trying to achieve, make sure you have the
right tools in place so you can diagnose any problems later. Which takes us then to step number three, which is actually testing
our implementation. So with all your debugging
tools running now, you can now execute the
process from step number one and go through them step by step. Note down if you see any weird errors, and if you can replicate your
end result from step one. If you run into any major
issues, you can go over to step number four, which is
debugging and fixing your error. And this is really all about
asking the right questions. So in our previous
example, if our transaction doesn’t get tracked, I would ask myself, what needs to happen in
order for this to work? Luckily, there is a blueprint
in the Google documentation which explains how things
are supposed to work. In most cases, transaction
tracking heavily relies on custom data that needs to be
pushed to Google Analytics. I would start investigating
with the GA debugger if this data actually gets pushed, and if there are any errors on the page in the markup itself that
prevent that from happening. Yes, this can be quite
intensive, technical, and sometimes frustrating,
but it can really help you to come up with a solid
treatment to fix your error. Then you can go back to your developer, re-implement, and start
tracking your data again. Once it’s working correctly, I would go to step number five, which is cross-checking. What does that mean? Well, in our previous
example, we did transaction, even if they now get
tracked in Google Analytics, it doesn’t necessarily mean
that this data is correct. But we can utilize external data sources, in our case, it would be
the back-end order records, to cross-check that data, and
see if anything is missing or if it’s in realms of acceptability. And by the way, no tracking
is always 100% accurate, so don’t stress too much about a small margin of error that can occur. (energetic music) So there you have it, five steps to test and verify your tracking. A short recap, first of
all, mark down your steps and end result you need to go through, then get your debugging tools ready, then test your tracking by going through your testing protocol, and debugging and fixing any errors. And in the end, cross-check your data with available third-party data. So now I wanna hear from you, what was your most frustrating error that you had to debug and
fix with your tracking? Please leave a comment below
and join the conversation. And as always, if you like this video, please share it to your
friends or colleague, and subscribe to this channel to get more of these
videos every Wednesday. My name is Julian, ’til next time.

5 thoughts on “How to Debug and Fix tracking errors

  1. Nice video. Waiting to see the membership website you were surveying about. I will be among the first to sign up. I love your tutorials and the way you explain. Great job, Julian. And thank you 🙂

  2. Hey. I like your videos. They’re really helpful. I need your advice though.

    Why does my site still say, “Missing Tracking Code” after Ive copy and pasted my tracking code after the opening <head> tag.

  3. I'm getting an error which says 'Missing analytics.js script". It would be very kind of you if you could tell me how I to remove this error.

  4. Hello!
    I need your advice thought!

    I installed the GTM CODE on my Shopify store and then the tracking information on my Google Analytics doesn’t work after this Sunday. Can you help me?

    Thanks !!

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