Google Tag Manager - Setup, Features and Benefits

Google-Tag-Manager-001

Google-Tag-Manager-001

Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a free solution for managing Google Analytics, advertising and other tracking tags across your website (or multiple websites). Tag Manager allows you to install a single, universal JavaScript tag, which you can then use to insert other JavaScript tags based on rules that are specified in the tool.

Google Tag Manager replaces the traditional approach of individually including tags in the source code of your site(s) and can produce dramatic time savings in tag deployment and management. Although the tool is closely tied to Google Analytics, it is a stand-alone tool and needs to be setup and configured outside of Google Analytics.

Who Should Use Google Tag Manager?

The tool is designed for medium to larger scale websites and organizations that have multiple websites. If you just have a single, small to medium website and are not using a customized or advanced installation of Google Analytics (i.e. Event Tracking, Custom Variables, etc.), then you don’t need to rush to get Tag Manager installed on your website.

If you are looking to expand your use and customization of Google Analytics or are looking to install additional tracking tags, then it might be worth setting up Google Tag Manager now to make your life easier in the future.

Google Tag Manager Terminology

(1) Account

Think of your Tag Manager account like your Google Analytics account, each account should only be used to track websites for one company. If you are a looking after tracking for multiple, unrelated companies (e.g. you are an agency) then you should have a separate Google Tag Manager account for each of your clients.

Google-Tag-Manager-002

Google-Tag-Manager-002

Account Best Practices:

  • One account per company
  • The company for whom the account is managed should be the account owner

(2) Container

Within your Google Tag Manager account you can set up separate containers (these are like profiles within Google Analytics). Creating a new container will give you a unique piece of JavaScript that will need to be installed on your website(s), this will replace your Google Analytics tracking code.

Container Best Practices:

  • Container code must be applied across whole website
  • Generally you should use one container per domain (but just like Google Analytics, you can use a container across multiple domains)

(3) Data Layer

This is an additional option you have when implementing Google Tag Manager on your website. It makes data easier to access if you want to pull it into tag manager. You can then use the data within tags and even use it to create conditions on when to fire particular tags. If you are currently using Events or Custom Variables in Google Analytics, then migrating these into the Data Layer makes them accessible within Tag Manager.

(4) Tags

Tags are the snippets of code used to collect data. For example, you might have Google Analytics tags, Google AdWords conversion tracking tags and other third party tracking tags stored within Google Tag Manager.

(5) Rules

Rules allow you to decide when to fire a particular tag. For example, the following 'fire' rule will only fire the tag on the individual thank you page of the website;

      url equals company.com/thank-you.html

Google-Tag-Manager-004

Google-Tag-Manager-004

(6) Macros

Macros allow you to access data when the Google Tag Manager loads on a page. For example, you could feed the value of a transaction into a macro and then use that macro to decide when to fire a Google AdWords Remarketing tag.

Before Implementing Google Tag Manager

If you have lots of existing tags on your website, then you will need to plan your Google Tag Manager implementation carefully. If you simply remove the Google Analytics tracking code from your website and replace it with Google Tag Manager, you might lose a lot of data, so remember to consider ALL the tags you are using (or customizing);

  • Google Analytics Tracking Code
  • Google Analytics customizations, including;
    • Ecommerce
    • Events
    • Custom Variables
    • Virtual Pageviews
    • Etc.
    • Google AdWords Conversion Tracking
    • Google AdWords Remarketing Tags
    • DoubleClick Tags
    • Other custom tags

Google Tag Manager Setup

Watch our Google Tag Manager Setup video or follow the steps below.

Step 1

Log into Google Tag Manager at www.google.com/tagmanager/ and create your account and your first container.

Step 2

Install the Tag Manager code on all the pages of your website(s) immediate after the opening body tag.

Google-Tag-Manager-003

Google-Tag-Manager-003

Step 3

Add a tag within the container and insert your Google Analytics ID (e.g. UA-123456-1) and define when you want the tag to load on the website. Selecting the default 'all pages' rule will mean the tag will load on every page that the Tag Manager code is installed.

Step 4

To publish your container (i.e. push the tracking onto your live website), on the 'Tags' > 'Overview' page click on the 'Create Version' button and then click on the 'Save and Publish' button.