When we partner up with a new client, more often than not their analytics team runs exclusively on digital analysts. They know how to use analytics tools to make reports and produce dashboards, but when it comes to tracking data, their technical knowledge falls short. While modern day tag management solutions offer a lot of features to make tracking a breeze (even for those who never wrote a line of code), there are always some details that cannot be tracked without some coding experience. But that's not the only reason a JavaScript expert can be useful. Here are some scenarios where these wizards come in handy:

They can communicate the analytics needs to developers

Someone who is familiar with coding websites, and everything that comes along with it, will have a much easier time communicating with the developers within your company. If analytics needs are directly communicated to developers by analysts, there may be a disconnect between both parties. Surely, analysts can define what they want, but they may not consider how their request might be interpreted by the developers. A JavaScript expert will automatically think about how the developers could implement their request, can provide code snippets, and they will consider how the changes will be used in the tag manager.

They think about what could go wrong

When you think like a developer, you constantly think about what can go wrong in the code. These are things that an analyst cannot consider. For example, the JavaScript expert might test for cases where a variable is not available, and see how this impacts the tracking. Or they will notice that some parts of a website are part of a different system, and may be overlooked by the developers. This may even be managed by a completely different development team, increasing the time it will take to implement tracking across the entire website. This is important when deciding on estimates for a project. Overall, JavaScript experts will look at things from a different angle than an analyst, which can expose valuable opportunities and threats.

They have an in-depth understanding of how the analytics tools work

JavaScript experts are programmers at heart. They try to understand exactly how systems like Google Analytics work. A deep understanding of how the analytics tool stores your data and how the data can (or cannot!) be used in reporting is important. This understanding can help when analysts try to create a specific report or dashboard, because a programmer will think about the report in a very technical way. For example, an analyst could create a report which shows data that does not seem correct. Failing to make sense of this data, they can ask the JavaScript expert for advise. With their help, they may be able to figure out why data is displayed the way it is, and figure out an appropriate alternative.

They can implement custom tracking

And last but not least, JavaScript experts can customise the tracking in the tag manager to exactly meet the requirements of the analyst. JavaScript, HTML, and CSS are the main components of any website, so anyone who masters these languages can go a long way in measuring anything on a website. For example, Google Tag Manager supports video tracking, which allows you to automatically track when embedded YouTube videos are being watched on your website. This is a great feature, but what if you use Vimeo to host your videos? In that case, custom JavaScript is required to successfully track your videos.

In the end, there are many benefits to having a JavaScript expert in your analytics team. Personally, I think this is an absolute necessity if you intend on doing any kind of serious tracking.

Unfortunately, programmers are in high demand today, finding a good programmer is hard, and we at MultiMinds are constantly on the lookout for new talents. Not many people are familiar with both programming and analytics, so I would advise you to find a programmer who has an interest in analytics, and train them in the ways of the numbers.