What Google tag manager?
Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a free tool developed by Google that allows you to manage and deploy marketing scripts without having to modify the code.
GTM allows you to bridge your marketing scripts with Google Analytics and other tools.
With Google Tag Manager you can take the guesswork out of understanding how users use your website. Key aspects that stand out with GTM are its tagging, trigger and variable abilities. Using Google Tag Manager, you can set tags and triggers to track how users navigate your website.
To sum it up in an example, imagine that your website is experiencing a high bounce rate. Without knowing additional information, you don’t know what a user is doing on your page. Maybe they don’t scroll down the page because the page is not engaging enough. The bottom line is that you don’t know what is going on on your website unless you track the user’s experience.
Why you should use Google Tag Manager
The main benefit of using Tag Manager is that it saves you time and effort in managing triggers and tags. Before Google manager, you would have to set up tags for individual tracking services like Google Analytics and Google Ads. Now you only need one code from Tag Manager that can be linked with multiple other tools.
This has unlocked many functionalities that would otherwise be very difficult before Google Tag manager. If the platform is already set up, it can save you money when developers or marketing consultants need to make use of the platform.
Here is a shortlist of tags you had to add to your website before Tag Manager:
- Google Analytics tracking
- If you are using Ads, you would have to use the Google Ads tracking tag and a Bing tag if you run ads on their search.
- If you are tracking your Conversion Rate Optimisation you would need a marketing tag for that.
- LinkedIn conversion tracking would also require a separate tracking code.
- Any CRM like HubSpot or similar tools that require tags.
It was no easy task to stay on top of all your tracking tags. It can become expensive if you are paying for a company to do this for you. All your tags can be in one place with just one simple code from Google Tag Manager.
Elements of Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager is pretty straightforward, starting with your container, tags, triggers and variables.
How does Google Tag Manager work
Here is a short description of these elements to make more sense of how they work.
When you first start using Tag manager you first create a “Container”.
In simple terms, a container is what holds all your tags, triggers, and variables for your website. Every website must have a separate container, even if it’s a separate website on a sub-domain.
Each container will have a code that you add to your website. This code needs to be added to the “Header” section of your website so that it displays on all your pages.
There are also plugins that you can use to add connect your website if you don’t want to add it to your header. Once you have connected your container to your website, you can start adding tags.
Tags are pieces of code that are used for analytics, marketing and other tools. Google Tag Manager offers a long list of supported Tags vendors. If your product or tool isn’t supported by Google, you can add it through the “Custom” option.
If you want to see what Tag Manager natively supports, here is a list of 3rd party tags that are supported by Google Tag Manager.
Examples of common tags within Google Tag Manager are:
- Google Analytics Universal tracking code
- Adwords Remarketing code
- Adwords Conversion Tracking code
- Heatmap tracking code (Hotjar, CrazyEgg, etc…)
- Facebook pixels
Triggers are what tags depend on to send your information. They tell Tag Manager when to do what you want it to do. If you want a tag to send information about when someone downloads a specific file, then this is where triggers come into play. You can set triggers for anything you can think of, such as file download, clicks, outbound links, when a form is completed, etc…
Variables & Constants
Variables are additional information that GTM may need for your tag and trigger to work.
Just as tags depend on triggers, triggers depend on variables. Variables are what contains the value of when a trigger should fire. Before a tag is fired, it will evaluate if the variable value meets the value of a set trigger and then decide if it will fire. You can either use the built-in variables or a user-defined variable.
In conclusion, Google Tag Manager gives you more control over tags. It has a lot to offer and is very handy when dealing with multiple tags on your website. All you need is one code and that’s it!
If your tags are out of control, now is the best time to use Google Tag Manager.