These are two easy ways to quickly and efficiently identify if a website has Google Analytics code on it. It’s the first step to gathering user information and website behaviors to help you and your marketing team make informed decisions about your business. And, with no cost, there’s no reason not to look into it and learn more about who and how people are using your website.
Before we talk methods to identify if Google Analytics is on your site, let’s dig into what these programs do, why they’re important, and how they work together.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a free program that collects data about users that come to your website, specific demographic data, as well as their on-site behaviors: what pages did they visit, how long did they stay on the page, and the Holy Grail: did they convert the way you hoped they would? This data is collected via a piece of tracking code that is added to every webpage.
This tool is widely known and loved by businesses owners—whether they be small and local or huge and international. The insights it provides is unsurpassable.
What is Google Tag Manager?
Google Tag Manager is another free program that helps webmasters and marketing professionals create, manage, and update the various marketing tags that are going on and coming off a website. So, instead of having a specialist dig into the code and update the information every time something changes, Tag Manager provides an easy-to-use, user-friendly experience to make the changes and not risk upsetting the code.
As tracking methods become ever-more advanced and specific, the need to keep that information organized grows exponentially & Google Tag Manager is here to help.
What is Google Tag Assistant?
Google Tag Assistant is the piece of the puzzle that ties it all together. This Chrome extension (also free!) can help you identify, validate and even troubleshoot common issues for all of the various tags that have been added to a website. It lets you know quickly if there are tags for Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google Ads, and many more on a website.
Is there a difference between Google Tag Assistant and Google Tag Manager?
It’s a common mistake, but Google Tag Assistant and Google Tag Manager are two different tools to help organize and visualize the same kinds of information: tracking codes and tags that collect data.
Google Tag Manager is the tool that manages the tags that are on a website, while Google Tag Assistant is the tool that shows you what is currently active on that site. Put differently, Google Tag Manager is where you change the tag set-up, and Google Tag Assistant is where you view the set-up.
What are we looking for, anyway?
We’re investigators on the hunt for clues that Google Analytics is or previously was on a website. Those clues are the IDs for both Google Analytics. If we come up empty-handed and there is no Google Analytics ID shared, we change tactics and look for a Google Tag Manager ID.
When you have an ID for either program, you know 1) that tracking capabilities have been set up, and 2) what user account has access to the website’s data.
Method 1: Google Tag Assistant
Google Tag Assistant is going to be the quickest and clearest way to determine if a website has Google Analytics (or Tag Manager). It’s as simple as enabling the extension, refreshing the page, and seeing what tags are returned.
Step One: Install Google Tag Assistant.
Open the Chrome browser (the extension is only available in Chrome) and head to the Chrome Web Store. Search for Google Tag Manager and locate the soon-to-be-familiar tag icon with a smiling face.
Add the extension to your browser and accept it once the secondary pop-up appears. You’ll see this little icon appear in your browser bar near the user information:
Click the blue icon, and see the first time a welcome message appears. You do not need to change any of the settings, simply hit “done”
Step Two: Activate Google Tag Assistant
Navigate to the website that you are trying to find the GA information about. If you click the icon, the extension will reload with a grey background and the tag icon with a sad face.
In the lower left corner, there is a button that says “Enable.” Click that, and then refresh the webpage you are on.
Step Three: Analyze the Results
Once the page is finished reloading, you’ll see that tag icon change color and display a small number.
That number references the number of tags and triggers it was able to identify and list. When you click into it, you should see, plain as day, what kind of tags are currently active on the website. Check it out and see if you see Google Analytics displayed.
If you do, like in this example, you will also see a greyed out piece of text under it that says “UA-xxxxxxx-x”, where the x’s are a series of numbers:
That is called your UA code, or also known as your Google Analytics ID. It confirms that the website has Google Analytics tracking information on it and lets you know which Google account is currently the owner of the website’s data.
NOTE: This does NOT guarantee that the data is being collected properly or that the account was set up correctly, just that it exists!
If the UA code doesn’t appear, does this mean I don’t have Google Analytics?’
If you don’t see a standalone Google Analytics tag, keep your eyes peeled for one called Google Tag Manager. Similar to the Google Analytics UA ID, the greyed out code under it will say “GTM-xxxxxxx”. This is your Google Tag Manager user ID and lets you identify who the current owner of this information is.
If Google Analytics code does not appear, but Google Tag Manager does, there is a chance that Google Analytics code is on the site through that container. Work with the folks who have access to these platforms to explore further.
Method 2: View Page Source
Maybe you don’t have Chrome or are unable to download and add the Google Tag Assistant extension. That’s ok—there is a foolproof way to find the same information. When you view a web page’s source, it will open a document full of coding language. This may seem daunting, but you do NOT have to know code to use this method.
Step One: Open the website
Open your website and load the homepage.
Step Two: View the page source
Right-click anywhere on the homepage (except on an image), and choose the “View Page Source” option in the drop-down.
This will open a new tab with a whole lot of code listed. Don’t worry about trying to read or understand that code.
Step Three: Search for “UA-“and “GTM-“
Open the find functionality for the code by hitting control + F (or command +F, for Mac users) and search for “UA-“.
If there is any Google Analytics code added directly to the website, you will see at least 2 UA- results appear. Look for the UA ID format (reminder: UA-xxxxxxx-x) and when you find it, that lets you know that GA is installed on the website and what account it lives under.
If you search for UA and there are no results, or the only result is “UA-Compatible”, then it’s time to look for Google Tag Manager. Stay on the same page and search for “GTM-“ and see if the familiar “GTM-xxxxxxx” number pops up:
If it does, that is your GTM user ID that lets you know which account you need access to. Once in that account, you can review the triggers and see if Google Analytics is one of them.
Need more help? Count on WRAL Digital Solutions.
If you have questions about this how-to guide & video or would like a more personalized session to identify and understand if your website has Google Analytics code on it, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Our team is happy to help you work through any roadblocks and to help share the knowledge so you feel empowered looking at your business’s information, instead of overwhelmed.
Call WRAL Digital Solutions today for help with Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google Tag Assistant, and much more.