One of the most effective tools for expanding the online reach of any business, converting leads into loyal customers, and optimizing digital marketing strategies is Google Analytics. The insight and information it provides is unparalleled, but to get the most out of this tool, it is essential to use Google Tag Manager. This tool is ideal for maximizing your Google Analytics efforts and helps users better track and monitor their online marketing strategies and measure their return.
This tool is very easy to set up and start using, so you can enjoy its benefits immediately. Let’s explore how to set up Google Tag Manager and some of the top reasons your business can gain from employing it.
What Are Google Tags?
Every tag will track something different. These tags can be set up in multiple ways, such as creating a tag that tracks the number of people who fill out a form on a business’s contact us page to send precise information to Google Analytics. Although these tags can be coded manually, it is a very tedious process, particularly for those without coding or development experience. It can take a lot of time and could be devoted to other marketing pursuits.
What Is Google Tag Manager?
This is where Google Tag Manager proves helpful. This tag management system is considered a sister product to Google Analytics. It enables users to create and monitor tags using an intuitive user interface without needing to write new code whenever they wish to construct a new tag. Google Tag Manager’s code can be easily embedded into every page of the website to eliminate the manual process of creating tags.
It allows users to add and update their own tags for site analytics, conversion tracking, and other purposes, and it provides countless ways to track activity across a business’s various sites and apps. It is operated via a dashboard that makes it easy to change tags as needed. In short, it makes tracking the activity of your website’s users and the site’s overall performance significantly easier for you and your team.
Although Analytics and Tag Manager are both free tools offered by Google, it is important to keep in mind that they offer different functions, and many businesses choose to use both tools. While Google Analytics houses data, which marketers can view and interpret by using reports, Google Tag Manager is more focused on which data should be tracked, when it should be logged, and where it should be sent so it can be used to inform strategies.
Before exploring the many benefits of this program, here is a look at how to set up an account so you can get started as soon as possible.
Setting Up Google Tag Manager
The process of setting up your free Google Tag Manager account is relatively straightforward, but it does involve using a different account than any existing Gmail or Google Analytics accounts you may already have. Here is a look at the process.
Sign Up For An Account
First, visit the official Google Tag Manager page and click on the blue link that says, “Create account”. You will be presented with a dropdown with 3 options, “For my personal use”, “For my child”, and “For work or my business”. You will be asked to enter your account name, which is the name of your company, as well as your website’s URL and country. You will also be asked to supply information about where to use Google Tag Manager, such as Android, iOS, web, or AMP. Once you are finished, click on the blue “Create” button.
Follow The Provided Coding Instructions
Google has done everything possible to make this process as simple as possible. Once you have clicked on “Create”, you will be provided with codes and instructions on how to use the tags. One code will be placed in theof the page, while the other goes after the opening tag.
Set Up Tags
Setting up your first tag is easy once you have set up your account. The tool allows you to create unlimited configurations of tags, which means that you can create in-depth reports on your audience’s behavior that can be used to make recommendations and build strategies. However, the amount of data collected can quickly get out of hand if you do not correctly organize your tags. Google provides suggestions for helpful naming configurations you can use.
Click on the “Add a new tag” button in the Google Tag Manager dashboard. Give the tag a title, then click inside the “Tag Configuration” box to choose your tag type. Google supplies dozens of common tag types you can use or customize. Some options include Classic Google Analytics, Universal Analytics, AdWords Conversion Tracking, Google Optimize, and Google Surveys Website Satisfaction.
Link To Google Analytics
To track the tag in Google Analytics, you must head to your current Analytics account and find your Web Property ID. Enter this into Google Tag Manager and select a Track Type; there are multiple options, including page view, timing, and transaction.
Then, choose a trigger to indicate when you want the tag recorded, such as every time someone visits a page. You can select “All Pages” to deliver insight every time anyone views any one of your web pages, but the right choice will depend on what you are trying to achieve.
Once you are happy with everything being set up, click the blue “Save” button, then click the blue “Submit” button to activate it. This will bring you to a Submission Configuration page where you can either publish it right away or create a version of it.
Add A Name & Description To Facilitate Organization
You will then be presented with the Container Version Description page, where you can add a name and description to remind yourself what you wish to record with this tag to facilitate organization.
You can confirm that your first tag was successfully created by heading to your Version Summary report and looking at the number of tags listed under “Version Items”. If it reads 0, you may not have saved the tag properly and should go back to the previous step.
The Benefits Of Using Google Tag Manager
Outlined below are the top benefits of using Google Tag Manager.
Quicker Deployment Of Tracking Codes
One of Google Tag Manager’s biggest selling points is its quick tracking code deployment. In the past, marketers who wanted to track user behavior had to get tracking codes, send them to a developer, and then wait until the developer could handle the task. Those that needed to track additional events could be engaged in a lot of back and forth with their developer, and it could take several weeks before the tracking codes could be implemented.
With Google Tag Manager, however, most marketers can skip the developer and implement them quickly. The tool speeds up many processes and allows for quick changes and new tags, many times without changing the code in the website. This can be a big benefit for marketers because they can speed up launch time significantly by testing every proposed change and then deploying the ones that suit them when they are ready. This shaves the entire process from several weeks to a couple of hours.
It Provides Useful Testing Tools
Another big benefit of Google Tag Manager is that it simplifies troubleshooting and correcting tag errors. The tool has a preview and debug mode that indicates which tags are being fired on every page and which ones are not being fired for your convenience. The tool also provides information about the triggers that fire the tags and the data that tracking tags contain.
These debugging solutions help you ensure your tags function as expected before publishing them on the live site.
Simple Event Tracking
Once a user has enabled specific triggers within Google Tag Manager, it starts automatically listening to interactions on the website. Although this does need to be set up, doing so is relatively straightforward. Some of the default basic events the Google Tag Manager can track include link clicks, time spent on pages, form submissions, and clicks. However, the number of auto event tracking functions on offer constantly increases. Users can also add custom features that record aspects such as new comments, scroll depth, video players, etc.
This allows you to gain a deeper insight into users’ actions while they are on your website. It will be easier to see whether they engage with content and fill out forms. These events can be used to create specific goals that your business wishes to track in Google Analytics. Beyond its basic auto-event tracking functions, it can also support more complex events that may require some input from a developer.
Error Checking Feature
Although Google Tag Manager is easy to use, some users run into issues, particularly as they are first acquainted with the tool. To address this, the platform features an error-checking function that allows your team to look over the tags, triggers, and variables you have set up to spot errors at a glance. This can save significant time by preventing incorrect data tracking.
Built-in Tag Templates
Google Tag Manager offers several important built-in tags for analytics, remarketing, and conversions of Google Ads. This means that marketers who lack coding knowledge can still customize tags without needing help from a developer or implement complicated code.
The Ability To Control All Tags In One Place
It Offers Reusable Container Templates
Users can easily create their templates with the tracking codes and settings they frequently use, thanks to Google Tag Manager’s reusable container templates. This means you can export all of the triggers, tags, and variables you need into a single file that you can later import. For marketers at agencies that must implement standard Google Analytics events such as outbound link clicks and page view tracking for every client, this can be an incredible time saver and is one of the tool’s most popular features.
It Doesn’t Cost Anything
This tool’s capabilities are so powerful that many marketers would be willing to pay for it, and it would likely command a high price tag. However, Google has decided to offer a basic version of Google Tag Manager for free. Most small and medium-sized businesses find that the free version is more than enough for their purposes.
However, a premium version of Google Tag Manager is also included in the Google Analytics 360 suite. Known as Tag Manager 360, it is geared toward bigger enterprises that need additional functions and offers unlimited workspaces for concurrent tagging projects and more extensive support and services.
The “Versions” function can help you avoid problems. Google Tag Manager will create a new version when you publish a change to the containers where tracking codes are stored. If you need to restore to one of your previous versions, doing so is very easy. If you accidentally publish changes to your live site with incomplete tags, you can simply go to the Versions page and publish a previous version while you sort the matter out.
Excellent Security Features
Google conducts automatic scans of the tracking scripts added with custom HTML tags in Google Tag Manager accounts. If any match a known malware IP address, URL or domain, it will pause them to protect users. Users are also given control over who can access their Google Tag Manager accounts, and this access can be revoked at any time.
Users can also add some commands to the data layer on their website to set up whitelists or blacklists. Because this is controlled by your website server, you will have the ultimate control over whether custom tracking scripts are permitted to run on your site, which could prove helpful should Google Tag Manager ever be compromised.
A Good Range Of User Permissions
Google Tag Manager enables account holders to give multiple people access to their accounts at varying levels of editing, publishing, and viewing privileges. This is useful for agencies that want to give several employees access, as well as those that wish to share entries with clients while making sure that only specified individuals can make changes. The available permission levels include read, edit, approve, publish, and no access.
It Is Easy To Troubleshoot
With everything conveniently situated in one place, it is easier to troubleshoot and fix any tag errors before they are even published. The preview mode offered by Google Tag Manager automatically indicates which tags are working and which ones are not, in addition to providing information about triggers and the data and tracking tags. It also offers a data layer checker and tag assistant to keep problems to a minimum.
It Tracks Mobile Apps & AMP Sites
Although most users employ Google Tag Manager for websites, the tool also works with AMP sites and iOS and Android applications. When Google Tag Manager is deployed on mobile apps, it is only sometimes necessary to send an update for app users, which can save a significant amount of hassle.
Quicker Page Loading
Google Tag Manager fires tags asynchronously. This means that every tag is executed immediately as it is loaded. Synchronous execution, in contrast, involves first ensuring that each tag is loaded and then executing, which means that a single tag that is slow to load can prevent the others from being deployed immediately. As a result, asynchronous execution supports faster page loading, which is one of the aspects of a website that Google considers in its algorithm for search engine rankings.
It Provides Opportunities For Marketing Experimentation
Because there is no need to enlist the services of a web developer to use Google Tag Manager, marketers have a chance to experiment with different strategies and ideas. In addition, with the flexibility to implement new ideas quickly and test them out safely, marketers can implement the most effective new digital marketing trends without waiting for outside assistance. When your marketing team has full control over the tags they create and monitor, they can be more efficient.
It Is A Popular Tool With A Helpful Community
Google Tag Manager’s popularity is growing, and as more marketers and businesses use it, the program’s number of free and paid resources is constantly rising. This means you can find countless tutorials and blog posts online offering helpful tips and tricks and outlining new ways to use the tool.
This also means that users unable to solve any problems they encounter have a good chance of finding a helpful answer relatively quickly from one of the many user communities devoted to discussing the tool.
It Is Easily Scalable
Because Google Tag Manager allows you to use all variables and triggers you have created with all of your future tags, the setups are highly scalable while also ensuring the uniformity of data.
You Can Access Third-Party Tags For More Convenient Data Tracking
While some smaller businesses may only need Google tags, such as those for Google Analytics and Google Ads, to view app or website data, companies may eventually need functionality for third-party platforms as they grow and evolve. Google Tag Manager allows users to create tags for various third-party platforms, and custom tags can be easily created for those not supported.
It Offers Workspaces & Environments Features
Google Tag Manager comes with a pair of very useful features for enterprises with multiple teams who can make changes to the website, as well as companies that work with outside vendors.
The environments function allows you to control the tag manager installation across production or live websites and apps and their staging counterparts. With this feature, you can publish tags to different environments, such as testing servers, to avoid affecting the live version when publishing.
Meanwhile, the workspaces feature allows several team members to work in the same container within Google Tag Manager without overwriting the changes that the other members are making. Once their work is complete, changes to both workspaces are merged into one.
What Can Google Tag Manager Do for your Marketing Efforts?
Regarding useful marketing tools, Google Tag Manager is one of the best on the market. Accessible, intuitive, and packed with features, it can help your business stay on top of the latest trends in digital marketing while keeping your website fast. Whether you want to track scrolling behavior, video activity, PDF downloads, link clicks, or something else, this platform will allow you to measure, create and analyze so you can improve your marketing efforts as well as the performance of your website.
Although Google Tag Manager is known for its simplified approach, setting it up and integrating it with other tools can be complicated. It requires a solid understanding of variables, values, and operators, and the migration process for larger websites can be very time-intensive. In addition, many businesses have staff familiar with setting up the tool but need to know what to do with all the data it collects.
At 321 Web Marketing, our team of marketers and analysts knows how to use Google Tag Manager to benefit your business and push your marketing efforts to the next level. Contact us today to discuss your objectives and learn more about how our team can help you create a winning strategy.