Automotive Standards Council (ASC) Troubleshooting Tool
With the recent release of the Automotive Standards Council (ASC) specification, along with the release of our new analytics and insights platform built around the ASC specification and GA4, we’ve been spending quite a bit of time lately looking at dealer’s GA4 event data.
One of the things that we often find ourselves doing is checking to see if all of the proper ASC events are being fired, and that all of the parameters are being included. The Council members have worked tirelessly to ensure that their products are firing the proper events, but as always is the case with any new development, sometimes there are bugs and minor issues that have to be worked through.
So we built a tool that we use internally to automate much of the work involved in checking ASC events and parameters, and we wanted to make this available to other ASC Council members, dealers or anyone else who can benefit from it. It’s important to make clear that this is a tool that we built for our own use in trouble-shooting GA4 event data; this is not endorsed or supported by the Automotive Standards Council and any results from the tool do not indicate a vendor’s certification status by ASC.
The Troubleshooting Tool
The tool can be found here: https://v2.dealerinsights.com/asc
Our tool works by taking a CSV file with GA4 event data (We’ll explain how to get that data below) and then running various tests on the data, depending on what type of data it is. The tool can be used to troubleshoot events from these types of vendors:
- Digital Retailing
Simply enter a name for the test, select the tests to run and click the paperclip icon to select a file to containing GA4 event data to upload. Then click the Upload button to start the tests.
It will only a few seconds to run the tests, and then you will see a screen with the results that looks like this:
From the report page, you can download a copy as a PDF, a CSV, download the original GA4 event data or delete the report.
If you want to share the report link, simply copy the URL and send that to the person you want to share the report with. If you share the link, that person will also have the ability to download the original GA4 event data, as well as delete the report.
Finally, when a report is deleted, all of its data, including the uploaded GA4 event data is permanently deleted as well.
But where do I get this GA4 event data?
The troubleshooting tool is easy enough to use, but how do I get the GA4 event data to upload?
Now, I know that BigQuery can seem a bit daunting at first, but there are several reasons to consider becoming familiar with how to leverage it for use with GA4. Here are just a few:
- You can export directly from GA4 straight into BigQuery. Simply select the option in GA4 and Google will handle delivering your raw GA4 data into BigQuery, ready for analysis in a relational database using standard SQL.
- No thresholding. When Google exports GA4 data into BigQuery, it’s delivering the raw, unfiltered data. There is no thresholding applied. So you have access to all of your GA4 data.
- No need to mess with custom dimensions or metrics. Since you have access to the raw data, you can query the data any way that you want. Custom dimensions and metrics are things that Google uses for the reporting features in the GA4 user interface, but they are completely unnecessary when you are pulling data from BigQuery.
- Data retention. Once your GA4 data is in BigQuery, it lives there for as long as you want. With GA4, you are subject to Google’s Data Retention policies and your data is automatically removed after 14 months.
Setting up BigQuery and getting GA4 exporting to it is beyond the scope of this article, but we will post a tutorial on this soon. But for now, the rest of this post assumes that you have BigQuery already up and running and your GA4 property exporting to BigQuery.
We’ve already created a query that can be run from BigQuery that will generate the event data the troubleshooting tool needs. Simply head over to https://v2.dealerinsights.com/asc-sql and copy the query you see on the left side of the page, and paste it into a BigQuery query page.
The query on the left will return up to 50 rows of data for each ASC event it finds for the given dataset ID, date range and event owner.
Before running this query, you will need to change the dataset ID, date range and event owner.
At the bottom of the query, you will need to change the event owner. By default, the query returns up to 50 rows for each unique ASC event. If you want to change this number, simply replace the 50 with whatever number of rows that you want.
Finally, if you aren’t sure what the event owner is for the test that you want to run, we provided a simple query for that as well. Just copy the query from the right side of the link that I provided above and replace the dataset ID and date range.
Once you run the query and it returns the results, simply export the results to a CSV file locally:
Once you’ve exported the file, simply upload it into the Troubleshoot tool to generate a report.
If you have any issues or problems using the tool, or have any suggestions on how to improve it, just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org