What is Google Tag Manager?

Being able to analyse how visitors use your website when they land on its web pages can provide valuable digital marketing insights. Such information as the websites most visited pages and events that can better guide future decisions on how and what to add or change on the site, for better performance.

Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a tag management tool that allows for the easy creation, addition, and updating of code on your website or mobile app which can help measure performance in your Google Ad or SEO campaign. It is not itself an analytic tool but does aid in the tracking and collection of data that analytic tools like Google Analytics can use to provide insights. This software is made freely available by Google and though not difficult to master, it is advisable to have some technical knowledge of coding to make the most effective use of it.

google-tag-assistant
Tag assistant is another free tool from Google which allows you to view what tags are installed on a webpage.

Before Google Tag Manager, whenever a new set of data was to be collected from online activity on a website or app, a web developer would have to be engaged to manually code tracking codes and add them to each individual webpage. As an advertising agency, this can cause issues and delays as we are reliant on external parties to make and update changes.

Using GTM allows for new coding or tags to be stored in one place and easily deployed across multiple websites. To understand how this works, you need to know what the three key components are and how they work together.

Components of GTM

Tags

Tags are small snippets of tracking code or pixels created in third-party tools that can be configured to track what is happening on a webpage. They can automatically track how online users behave on the webpage.

Creating the Tag is the first step for tracking, and is done based on the conversion event you want to measure.

They can be added to each webpage on a site using GTM to track any particular type of interaction with the site. Once a tag is added to GTM, it automatically shows up on each webpage of the site.

Triggers

Triggers are events that occur that cause tags to fire. They guide the tag manager on when, where or how a tag should be set off. It could be the online user clicking on a particular button on a page, scrolling to a particular depth of a page, or submitting a completed form.

The Trigger is the specific action you want to happen on the website.

There are many events you can choose in GTM that will cause a tag you have created and added to collect data and store it where you have chosen.

Variables

This component provides the GTM with additional information on how the tag and trigger should work. It lays out the specific values of an action you want to be tracked, like, if a certain number of clicks have been made in a particular URL.

It is not a must to specify variables, you could just opt to data collected and sent on all types of clicks made by a visitor. Variables simply help to better define the specific information you want to be tracked and collected.

Setting up your GTM account

You will need to start by creating a GTM account. Create one account for each business for easier management. In setting up the account you will need to provide a name for the container for your website. This is where you will contain all your tags. The container name should be the name of the site or sites where you will embed the coding. You will then be taken to a user interface where your tags can be added to your website. From this point, you can start to use GTM.

You can use the GTM to put tags on your page. The same code is put on each webpage automatically so you do not need to rewrite for the individual pages. Once you add the code, you can then use the GTM to select the triggers. When the event you have chosen occurs, the trigger will fire the tag. It will collect the data and send it to your chosen analytical tool like Google Analytics.

By using the Preview tool, you can check whether your Tags and Triggers are correctly firing.

It can be similarly set up for use on mobile apps. GTM can work with Firebase. You will again need to set up an account, create a container and name it. Be sure to click on the mobile app option and select the correct container type depending on whether it is to be used with Android, iOS or SDK versions.

Benefits of GTM

Cost-saving

GTM is a free tag management tool that can adequately serve the needs of most small and medium-sized businesses. A more advanced version is available through Google Analytics 360 Suite but must be paid for.

Easy deployment of snippets

Having some technical know-how in coding is ideal with GTM to avoid mistakes. With this, you can easily use GTM without needing to engage a web developer who will cost more money and take longer to implement the code. GTM allows for quick and modifying addition of tags without the need to manually alter the website source code.

Simple management

GTM enables easy control over all tags created in it. They are contained in a single location from which you can easily make modifications as needed and have the update applied across all web pages. Before this you would need to add tracking codes to the website’s source code, editing it across different files. Any changes would require locating where the tag was added on each file and updating them individually.

East testing

The preview and debug mode of GTM makes it easy to troubleshoot, identify and correct coding errors. You can quickly tell which tags are firing and those that are not. The user interface allows you to easily monitor and check the information on how triggers are firing tags and the data being tracked.

If you’re looking for some help with Google Tag Manager, or help with your conversion tracking in general, get in touch with one of the team at Phoenix Media, for a free consultation.

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