In my last post I spoke about what to do when your QA test goes wrong. As you go through the process of testing your logic for assigning attributes and audiences, one important tool you need for validating end-to-end scenarios is Trace. That said, along the way, I have collected other tools that I rely on to ensure that everything is working as it should.
1. The Test User Badge
In AudienceStream, every update you make is "live". This means that you need to be sure that the updates that you made will work. But what if you aren't ready for that update to make it to PROD and would like to make sure it truly works? In this case, you can leverage the Test User badge.
Why You Need This
By adding in a Test User Badge as a condition to your audience you are guaranteeing that the only people that can make it to your audience are people who have that badge assigned to them. This means you won't have any live site visitors getting caught up in your test experiments. Once you've passed all of your test scenarios, you can remove the badge condition and save. Once the audience is truly in PROD, you can run through another test to ensure that everything is still working properly.
In many use cases, your audience conditions may be dependent on cookies and their values. For example, if you have a cookie called "Segment" with the possible values of A and B you might want to quickly edit the cookie values to test that your audience assignment is working. EditThisCookie allows you to change and cookies value so that once the page refreshes your edits will be saved. The tool is also rather helpful in that it's an easy way to keep track of all the cookies that are being set.
Anyone who works in AudienceStream needs to be familiar with Tealium Tools as there are tools within it that will help with auditing your tags (Web Companion), inspect your data layer (UTAG Debugger), follow your site interactions in real time (Trace), and switch TiQ environments (Environment Switcher).
I find the Environment Switcher particularly useful when I have tags or extensions that have been published to DEV or QA in TiQ. By dropping down into the lower environment using this tool, suddenly these elements will be live on the site until you switch back to PROD.
4. Developer Tools (Console and Local Storage)
Why You Need This
All of your badges, audiences, and UDO variables will be populated. It's important to get comfortable looking "under the hood" of your site this way to know what is going on at a high level.
In the addition to the Console tab, I use the Application tab in order to look at Local Storage as well as Cookies. Under Local Storage for your site, if you look at the tealium_va key you will see list of all the audiences, badges, booleans (flags), and number attributes (metrics) associated with your profile on that given page view. From this view, you will need to know your attribute ID numbers since pretty names are not visible. Knowing where all these elements live in DevTools means that you can "trace" your journey without signing into AudienceStream. In many cases we might want to run through a test scenario without having to signing in to enable Trace. This becomes useful for quick spot checks.
Getting to know your site and data layer from many different lenses is a big help in the long run and the tools outlined above will certainly help you become an expert. Are there any tools that you use that should be added to the list? Comment below and share your picks!