Introduction to Google Tag Manager
Tag managers were built to give the marketing team a way to update their site and, at the same time, free up the IT team to focus on more important projects… like that new cart design the boss wants.
Think of a tag manager as a “dashboard” that’s made for marketers so they can accomplish just about anything related to tracking their marketing results.
In 2012, Google announced their own tag manager and ever since “Google Tag Manager” has grown in both users and features.
Imagine being able to literally see every single click that happens on your site. With GTM, that’s not only possible, it’s deceptively easy to set up and I’ll show you how to do exactly that in just a bit.
Google Tag Manager is a powerful, free tool that enables marketers to control digital marketing data by using code snippets on any website. It can be used for conversion tracking, website analytics, retargeting, and many more tracking purposes.
How it works
Information from one data source (your website) is shared with another data source (Analytics) through Google Tag Manager. GTM becomes very handy when you have lots of tags to manage because all of the code is stored in one place
Google Tag Manager Structure
- Triggers: This tells GTM when or how to fire a tag
- Variables: Additional information GTM may need for the tag and trigger to work
The top-most level of organization. Typically, only one account is needed per company. Tags for all the company’s websites can be managed from this account by creating new containers. In order to create an account visit google.com/tagmanager and signup for the product.
To create further accounts, sign into your existing account, click on Accounts List (top navigation bar) and click on on the “Create Account” button shown within the screenshot below. You will be asked to fill within the account name (use the corporate name) and whether or not it’ll be used for Web or Mobile Apps.
A container holds all the tags for a specific website; as a best practice, it should be named after the website it is being used for. To create a new container select an account and click on the Create Container from the accounts menu on the top-right corner of the specific account list. Once you have a new container, you will get a screen similar to the following.
Tags are snippets of code or tracking pixels from third-party tools. These tags tell Google Tag Manager what to do.
Examples of common tags within Google Tag Manager are:
- Google Analytics Universal tracking code
- Adwords Remarketing code
- Adwords Conversion Tracking code
- Heatmap tracking code
- Facebook pixels
Triggers are a way to fire the tag that you set up. They tell Tag Manager when to do what you want it to do. Want to fire tags on a page view, link click or is it custom?
Variables are additional information that GTM may need for your tag and trigger to work. Here are some examples of different variables.
The most basic type of constant variable that you can create in GTM is the Google Analytics UA number (the tracking ID number).
Those are the very basic elements of GTM that you will need to know to start managing tags on your own.
Benefits of Using GTM
Once you get over the learning curve, what you can do in Google Tag Manager is pretty amazing. You can customize the data that is sent to Analytics.
You can setup and track basic events like PDF downloads, outbound links or button clicks. Or, complex enhanced ecommerce product and promotion tracking.
Let’s say we want to track all outbound links on the website. In GTM, choose the category name, action and label. We chose offsite link, click and click URL.
In Google Analytics go to Behavior > Events > Top Events > Offsite link.
Now select either event action or label to get the full reports. The data that we setup in Google Tag Manager is now appearing in the Analytics reports. Nifty!
Want to try out a tool on a free trial basis? You can add the code to Tag Manager and test it out without needing to get your developers involved.
It may help your site load faster depending on how many tags you are using.
It works with non-Google products.
Flexibility to play around and test out almost anything you want.
All third-party code is in one place.
GTM has a preview and debug mode so you can see what’s working and what’s not before you make anything live. It shows you what tags are firing on the page. Love this feature!
Google Tag Manager can definitely make your life easier if you are willing to learn how it works.
So, are you excited about Google tag Manager? Drop your thoughts and feedback.