Validating Page Tags with HttpFox

Whether you are validating the deployment of a new measurement solution, testing enhanced page tracking, or debugging an issue with your site, having quick access to the data your site measurement tool is collecting is a must.
 
I have used debugger tools provided by the web analytics vendors, I have used network analyzers like Charles, Ethereal, and Wireshark and tools built specifically for web analytics like WASP.
 
However, I find myself always going back to HttpFox. It’s Clean. It’s simple. It’s so easy to use, after I was introduced to it by my friend Michael Sanders, I went on to train everyone from quality assurance engineers to CEOs on how to use HttpFox to answer the question “what variables are we capturing on this page?”
 
How do I use HttpFox to validate my web analytics page tags?
 
1. Add the HttpFox Firefox extension to your browser.
 
2. Once you have installed the extension and have restarted Firefox, you will notice a new icon in your status bar.

 
3. Activate HttpFox by clicking the icon in the status bar.

 
4. Click the Start button and navigate to a page on your site. You will see a long list of records rolling in, don’t worry, in the next step we will talk about searching for the one record that matters.
 
5. Depending on what measurement solution you are using, the search string will be different. Here is a list of search strings that I use most often:

Google Analytics = _utm.gif
Yahoo Analytics = a.analytics.yahoo
Omniture = /b/ss/


 
6. Click on the Query String tab and you can quickly see all the name-value pairs that are being sent to your analytics provider.