Tracking History in Absorb with Google Analytics 4 & Google Tag Manager

Absorb allows the usage of Google Analytics 4 tags for the purposing of tracking page navigation of users across the learner interface of the LMS. Utilizing this feature requires Google Analytics 4 to be used alongside Google Tag Manager.

Limitations

Absorb offers a specific scope of functionality when utilizing Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Please advise the following limitations in consideration of your use-case:

  • Absorb LMS currently blocks GTM's custom code/HTML functionality. Only the history tracking functionality showcased in the below configuration, or the custom AbsorbPageView event will interact with Google Analytics / Google Tag Manager.

  • Please ensure your Ad Blocker is disabled as it interferes with GTM tracking.

  • The Absorb GTA/GTM integration only supports default properties and functions applied automatically when enabling this on your organization's LMS instance. Any custom properties, tags, code, or implementation of Analytics and Tag Manager associated with the LMS beyond this is not supported by Absorb.

  • Utilizing Google Analytics 4 requires using Google Tag Manager. Google Analytics 4 tags cannot be implemented without Google Tag Manager.

  • Components of ‘Enhanced Measurements’ such as scrolling or outbound clicks will not be captured if enabled on the data stream.

Configuring GA4 & GTM in Absorb LMS

The following series of steps showcase the order of operations to configure a functional GA4 tag and implement the tracking of history in the learner interface of Absorb LMS. As GA4 requires both Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager in order for Absorb LMS to retain current tracking behavior, this article will walk through the required setup for both of these elements.

Google Analytics 4 Setup

  1. Login to your Google Account.

  2. Login to your Analytics account.

  3. Navigate to the 'Admin' section and click on the ‘Create Property’ button.
    Google Analytics Interface with Property on the Right Hand Side

  4. Enter the following values:

    • Property Name

    • Reporting Time Zone (country and time zone)

    • Currency


    Google Analytics Interface for Creating a Property

  1. Click ‘Next’.

  2. Select details which correspond to your use-case:

    • Industry Category

    • Business Size

Google Analytics Interface for Describing Your Business

  1. Click ‘Next’.

  2. Select the ‘business objective’ which corresponds to your use-case.
    Google Analytics Interface for Choosing Business Objectives

  3. Click ‘Create’.

  4. You will be presented with a choice of platforms. Select ‘Web’ for the platform.
    Google Analytics Inteface for Starting to Collect Data

  5. You will land on a ‘Set up data stream’ page. Here you must enter your primary LMS route as the ‘Website URL’. The ‘Stream Name’ can be titled as per your preference/use-case.
    Google Analytics Interface for Setting Up a Data Stream

  6. Click ‘Create Stream’.

  7. A panel will appear titled 'Installation Instructions'. Close ‘Installation Instructions’.

  8. Close ‘Web stream details’.

  9. You will land on a page titled ‘Start Collecting Data’. Click ‘Next’.
    Google Analytics Interface for Starting to Collect Data With 'My Website' Present

  10. You will land on a page which indicates ‘Data collection is pending’. Select ‘Continue to Home’.
    Google Analytics Interface Indicating Data Collection is Pending

  11. On the ‘Home’ page there is a Measurement ID. Copy this value somewhere you can use it in the future as this is one of the values required in your LMS portal. Alternatively following this article to locate your measurement ID.

  12. Next we will configure the required Google Tag Manager container.

Google Tag Manager Setup

  1. Navigate to Google Tag Manager from your Google Account.

  2. Create a Google Tag Manager account (if you don’t have an existing one).

  3. Capture your Google Tag Manager ID; it will be required for later steps. (GTM-XXXXX).

  4. In the left hand side menu click on ‘Variables’.

  5. Click ‘Configure’ in the ‘Built-in Variables’ section.

  6. On the ‘Configure Built-In Variables’ page, scroll down to the ‘History’ section and select all check boxes.

  7. Close ‘Configure’ in ‘Built-In Variables’.

  8. Click ‘New’ in the ‘User Defined Variables’ section.

  9. Set Name to ‘Page Location’.

  10. Mouse over the panel in the center of the screen and click on the pencil in the top right to edit the variable.

  11. Choose ‘JavaScript Variable’.

  12. Enter ‘window.location.href’ as ‘Global Variable Name’.

  13. Click ‘Save’.

  14. Click on ‘Triggers’ from the left hand side menu.
    Google Tag Manager Interface Selecting Triggers from Left Hand Side Action Bar

  15. Click ‘New’.

  16. Enter ‘History Change Trigger’ as the name.

  17. Mouse over the panel in the center of the screen and click the pencil to edit the trigger.

  18. Choose ‘History Change’ as a trigger type.

  19. Make sure that ‘All History Changes’ is selected.

  20. Click ‘Save’.

  21. Click ‘Tags’ from the left hand side menu.
    Google Tag Manager Interface Selecting Tags from Left Hand Side Action Bar

  22. Click ‘New’.

  23. Enter ‘Google Analytics GA4 Event’ as the name.

  24. Mouse over the panel in the center of the screen and click on the pencil to edit the tag configuration.

  25. Choose ‘Google Analytics: GA4 Event’ as a tag type.

  26. Enter the following values:

    • Configuration Tag: None – Manually Set ID

    • Measurement ID: Paste the measurement ID created in step 17 of the GA4 setup above.

    • Event Name: page_view (case sensitive)

  27. Expand ‘Event Parameters’, click ‘Add Row’ and add the following values

    • Parameter Name: page_location

    • Value: {{Page Location}}

  28. Scroll down to the ‘Triggering’ section mouse over the panel and select the pencil icon to edit.

  29. Select ‘History Change Trigger’.

  30. Click ‘Save’.

  31. Navigate to the current workspace.

  32. Click ‘Submit’.

  33. Click ‘Publish’.

  34. Enter an optional name and description and click ‘Continue’.

  1.  

Absorb LMS Setup

Navigate to the Admin Interface in your Absorb LMS as a System Administrator.

  1. Navigate to ‘Portal Settings’.
    Absorb Admin Interface Right Hand Side Menu

  2. Under the 'Info' tab. Scroll down to ‘Enable Google Tag Manager and/or Google Analytics’. Confirm the toggle is ON.

  3. Enter Measurement ID as generated in Step 17 of the GA4 setup under 'Google Analytics Tracking ID'.

  4. Enter Google Tag Manager ID as generated in Step 3 of the GTM setup.

  5. Click ‘Save’.
    Absorb Admin Interface Save Button Right Hand Side

  6. Login to the LMS as a learner.

  7. Open Google Analytics and confirm the data stream is receiving information.

Output in Google

Once the Google Analytics 4 tag has been configured in both Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. You should start to observe user counts and locations appear in your analytics home page for the GA4 property which has been configured.

You will be able to observe how many users have navigated the learner interface during certain periods of time, as well as the platform they accessed from.

Google Analytics will capture which country the user navigated to your learner interface from. As well as different pages in the learner interface.

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