How to use Server-Side GTM + Pubsub + Python + Firestore to get attributes from a database about a User, Products, or anything

Recently I have found some time to finally get going (thx to Simo Ahava’s TeamSimmer) with Google’s late, but intriguing arrival to the Server-Side Tag Management Zoo (SSTMZLOL). Tealium, Signal (no, not the messenger) and probably some others have had their cages there for almost a decade now. Adobe put its own elephant into that zoo last year: Launch server-side properties which leverage the Adobe Experience Platform Web SDK. So no more social distancing there. The battle is on.

The visitor attributes are on the other side of the edge. GTM Server-Side, PubSub, Cloud Functions and Firestore help you get them.

Even though the offers by Tealium, Adobe and Google are quite different, their most popular use cases have employed the browser…

Merge duplicate segments and calculated metrics, delete unused components, and get rid of those thousands of old workspaces

Thanks to the Adobe Analytics API, you can finally get your Analytics setup back under control and put an end to user (and admin) frustration because of seemingly endless lists of components with similar names, duplicates etc.

A good data engineer can write the queries needed for the steps below herself with the Adobe Analytics API 2.0, e.g. via Julien Piccini’s Python Wrapper. …

CSPs are not bad, but IT Security and Developers need to change the way they are implemented

Let’s start with one of the many examples. Somebody from Analytics writes an email to IT:

This email is great because it contains pretty much all the issues I have experienced with Content Security Policies in the last year.

I am not alone…

I estimate that I alone spent at least a full week (42 hours) last year on Content Security Policy issues. Add to that:

  • the time my clients needed to read my messages/listen to me and then communicate this forward to Development / IT / agency teams
  • the time these teams needed to read, understand it and then…

The Component Usage Tab in the Google Sheets Adobe Analytics Bulk Component Editor shows what your users (don’t) use

Some months ago, I presented my new pet tool, the Adobe Analytics Bulk Component Editor for Google Sheets. In this video/article, I present an update: There is now a “Component Usage” Tab which shows you not only all Components, i.e. Calculated Metrics, Success Events, Segments, Dimensions or Date Ranges. It also shows you:

  1. How often each Component is used in your Adobe Analytics Account (e.g. in Workspaces, other Segments or Calculated Metrics)
  2. Where it is used (in which Workspaces, Segments, Calculated Metrics)

Then, with standard Google Sheets functionality, you can identify the unused Segments and Calculated Metrics and delete or…

What you need for developing Custom Launch Extensions

In the third part of “Life with Adobe Launch”, I look at the entry bar for developing a Custom Launch Extension in terms of skills and structure. Tag Management specialists tend to have some development skills, but rarely work in the same environments nor with the tools that full-stack developers do. Developing a Launch Extension changes that: You have to learn how to work with the tools of today’s professional developers. Thus, the entry bar may be high. It was for me. But I don’t regret it and learned so many useful things along the way.

In Part II, we…

How to ensure a centralized and scalable data collection standard across websites with a Launch Company Extension

Part I covered the rocky history of Adobe Tag Management Systems (TMS). It also showed that Launch still has many of the scaling issues of its predecessor Dynamic Tag Management (DTM). Fortunately, Launch offers a way out: Custom Extensions. So if you have multiple sites and want them to adhere to a common tracking standard, such an Extension is a must. Otherwise: innovation freeze and data quality disaster.

The problem

Your organization has multiple websites and you want to change one thing globally in all of them. The only options that Launch offers without a Custom Extension (like DTM) are:

  • stuffing all…

Shining at the fancy things while failing at scaling

As amazing as Adobe is in Analytics, as inglorious is Adobe’s history with Tag Management Systems. Launch is the 3rd TMS in 6 years*. After the failed “Adobe Tag Manager”, Adobe “DTM” did the fancy, unimportant things well, but choked at what is most important, especially for large enterprises: scale. Launch still has many of the same problems, but offers solutions now.

Adobe’s road with Tag Management Systems has been anything but straight cruising

In August 2019, I took on a new client. It was not a completely new stint because I had worked for them already in the past (2013–15) as a consultant with Unic. Back then, that client was one…

The one reason why I keep failing, and many reasons why I don’t

In part 1, I looked back at my first steps in self-employment. In this part, I compare today with my initial plans and summarize why things went well — and the one thing that is at the root of all my failures. Also, some thoughts on why it is hard to find out “the truth” on the Googles and Adobes out there.

After “reality had happened” in 2018, I postponed my naive formula of “70% work + 15% learning + 15% other construction sites”. It is still on ice. Every time I thought I could maybe reduce because some larger…

Becoming self-employed was quite a change, especially for someone as risk-averse as myself. More than two years later, I look back — and forward. And maybe help you whether self-employment is something you should consider.

Get ready for the attack by the dangerous and risky free market!

The humble Julien Piccini, author of several Python wrappers that e.g. make working with the Adobe Analytics API 2.0 a lot easier, (e.g. to build tools like my “Adobe Analytics Component Editor for Google Sheets”), recently wrote a post about “Mental Health in Analytics”. This post brought up some important issues I think about a lot as well. For a while now, I also wanted to write about my journey into self-employment aka independence aka self-built hamster wheel, since my one-man company dim28 is now over two years old.

I mostly wanted to reflect on this journey for myself, because…

Add or remove components from multiple Virtual Report Suites at once, changing (curated or default) names and descriptions of components, getting rid of components or workspaces that are used by nobody, replace components across all Workspaces — all in a simple Google Sheet and with a click of a button.

Note: The “Adobe Analytics Component Editor for Google Sheets” is now called “Adobe Analytics Component Manager for Google Sheets” (as you can now do much more than just bulk editing).

Scroll all the way down if all you want to see is the Google Sheets Component Editor

See the Component Manager (formerly Editor) in action:

Lukas Oldenburg

Digital Analytics Expert in Zurich. Owner of Older posts are at

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