Sunday, December 9, 2018

Fix Variable Stickiness on Click Events in DTM & Launch by Adobe

This post covers a fix for a very common issue where page load variables tend to 'stick' or 'persist' on the subsequent click event. I'm leveraging the clearVars() function and covering exit link tracking in this case but the same logic can be applied to other types click events too. We will cover this fix keeping in mind both DTM and Launch by Adobe so without any further delay, let's jump right in!

Overview of the Issue

Before we dive into the issue, we have to take a look at the HTML structure of our page. For the purposes of this post, I'm using my demo site as an example. In the screenshot below, we can see that all of our internal site links start with ".." and our external link pointing to starts with "http://". We can use this distinction as a condition in our Tag Manager.

Here's an example of a page view call (from my test site) where we have a custom Page View event (event6) and an eVar (eVar3) to track the Page Name.

On click of an exit link, we see that event6 and eVar3 get carried over on the next call.

So, let's discuss how to fix this in both DTM and Launch by Adobe. 


Given that DTM is still a populate Tag Manager that will eventually be sunsetted, it makes sense to cover how to resolve this issue in this TMS. 

The first step is to disable automatic exit link tracking in DTM. We do that by unchecking the "Track outbound links" checkbox in the Adobe Analytics tool.

The next step is to create an Event Based Rule tied to the anchor ('a') element with the event handler of 'click'. The reason we do that any link on the site can be an exit link so it makes sense to simply look for the presence of an anchor link.

The next step is to disable any tracking under of the Adobe Analytics section.

The final step is to add some custom code to fire our own exit link tied to the exit link starting with "http" (covers both http: and https:) where we only include eVar3 (Page Name) as part of our exit link call along with the exit link URL passed to the call. Note that I'm using s.clearVars() to remove the extra event6 from my call. 

Once published, we can see that on click of the exit link, we're only seeing eVar3 being passed but no longer seeing custom event6 being populated in the image request.

Launch By Adobe Fix

Now, let's take a look at how to tackle the exact same issue in Launch by Adobe. Given that Launch has an in-built action for clearing variables, we will leverage that instead of passing it in the custom code. 

The first step is to disable exit link tracking from Launch by Adobe by unchecking the 'Track outbound links' checkbox in the Adobe Analytics extension.

Next, I've created a new rule and am using the 'mouseover' event (which I really like as I'm able to test links by right clicking instead of clicking to monitor image requests). For Actions, I'm using 'Adobe Analytics - Clear Variables' and then just selecting 'Adobe Analytics - Set Variables' to put in my custom code in the JavaScript Editor. Note that I've not chosen the 'Send Beacon' action as we're doing our own custom event handler.

In the Code Editor, I've used the exact same code as DTM except for the clearVars() function as I'm leveraging Launch to do that.

After publishing the code, we can see the exact same image request as we saw in case of DTM, where we're only capturing eVar3 along with the exit link URL.

So, that's it! Hope you enjoyed this post and can make use of what I've done (or something better) to solve this common issue. 

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