Why Google Tag Manager is Essential in your Digital Marketing Strategy

12th December 2018

One necessary (although sometimes overlooked) step in any digital marketing strategy is to measure its effectiveness in helping you achieving desired outcomes. Amongst other metrics, the success of your digital strategy can be established by measuring its impact on your website, or more precisely on the number of desired actions taken by your users on your website.

More than likely, you are already using Google Analytics, so you will understand the basic benefits of using this type of tool. Working hand in hand with Google Analytics (and plenty of other analytics platforms), Google Tag Manager is a tool that helps your business determine how well your marketing efforts are paying off by measuring and tracking what your users are doing on your website.

Google Tag Manager hasn’t been around for as long as Google Analytics, which is why it consequently isn’t as popular or widespread as its associate tool. So, we have highlighted below what Google Tag Manager is and the benefits of using it.

What is Google Tag Manager?

Google Tag Manager (or GTM) is a free online tool offered by Google. This is a tag management solution that allows your business to create and track website tags all in one place.

There are different components of Google Tag Manager that all work together to make it such an effective tool. These components are:

  • Triggers – A trigger listens for certain actions taken on your website, such as clicks on specific buttons or links. When the action occurs, any tags that are related to that trigger will ‘fire’
  • Tags – A tag is a snippet of code that sends data to analytics systems such as Google Analytics. Rule: a tag needs a trigger in order to fire
  • Variables – A variable is a placeholder for a value that you can change. For example, the price value of your products
  • Data layer – A data layer is a JavaScript object that is used to pass on information from your website to your Google Tag Manager container

Tags and triggers enable you to see what your users engage with most, which is a useful insight that can later be used to improve your site for your users.

The structure that Google Tag Manager uses is very similar to that of Google Analytics. it’s important to point out that Google Tag Manager is not the same as and does not replace Google Analytics. Instead, they work together.

To set up Google Tag Manager:

  1. Create an account
  2. Create a container
  3. Use the code given to install on your website
  4. Once set up, start adding/creating the tags you want to measure
Google Tag Manager Container

The Benefits of Using Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager has many benefits, below are the main ones that we think are worth highlighting.

1.     You can track anything you want to

Google Tag Manager enables you to set up tags to track pretty much every action taken by the users, whether this action is a standard, obvious one, or more specific and relevant to your business only. For instance, the most obvious elements to track are purchases (if you have an eCommerce website), enquiries, emails, phone calls etc. but depending on your customer journey you may want to track the number of people clicking on your social media links, or on specific CTAs across your website. Obviously, how significant an action is varies from business to business. Which is why having the ability to track anything is so effective.

Your tags will have to be set up in a specific way to be “sent” to your analytics platform. For instance, if once in Google Tag Manager you set up your tags as Events, you will then be able to track said Events in Google Analytics under Behavior//Events.

NOTE: It is then up to you whether you choose to keep measuring these Events in Google Analytics under Behavior//Events or to set these Events as Event Goals that can be tracked under Conversions//Goals.

2.     Easy to use & centralised

Before Google Tag Manager came around, any tracking codes (such as the Google Analytics one) had to be hard-coded (by a web developer) on each individual web page. This can be a tedious and exhausting task for both you and the web developer, especially if you want to track a vast number of events, making it very difficult to maintain events and keep them updated.

However, with the use of Google Tag Manager you won’t have this problem because all of your tags are stored in one place: your Google Tag Manager container. You simply put one piece of code on your website once (the GTM code), and you can then create, remove, and make changes to your triggers and tags thanks to the easy to use web-based interface. The fact that no hard-coding knowledge is necessary means that most marketers who are not web developers can use Google Tag Manager. (You can even add the Google Analytics tag with Google Tag Manager, no need to code it!)

3.     Mistakes won’t impact your website

Setting up and making changes to your tags in Google Tag Manager is a fairly straightforward task, but sometimes your tags might not work perfectly straight away.

The beauty of Google Tag Manager is that it gives you the possibility to test your tags, edit them, correct them, tweak and refine them as many times as you want without ever impacting your website. Using the preview mode will enable you to see whether your triggers are listening to what they should, and your tags are firing at the perfect time.

Moreover, if someone makes any changes in Google Tag Manager that break any of your tags, you can roll back to a previous version of the tag.

Essentially, as you test or fix your tags, there’s no waiting for someone with coding abilities to change any mistakes. You, or anyone else with access to the tool, can easily make the necessary changes without stressing about the fact that the website might be impacted – because you will always have the peace of mind that the website is never impacted.

4.     You can transfer your data to other platforms

As we mentioned earlier, Google Tag Manager is centralised, making it easier and more convenient to use. All of your tags are in one place, being the Google Tag Manager container.

An advantage of using Google Tag Manager is that any other platforms/tools, such as Google Analytics, Google Ads, LinkedIn, CrazyEgg etc. that you integrate with your Google Tag Manager account can benefit from the data it collects.

For example, if you integrate your Google Analytics account with your Google Tag Manager account, your Events will be tracked in Google Analytics, meaning that you can then create Google Analytics reports with more specific and accurate data.

An example of how to integrate Crazy Egg to Google Tag Manager

Getting started with Google Tag Manager

We hope this article has given you a better insight into what Google Tag Manager is and how it can help with your digital marketing strategy.

If you are interested in working with a team of digital experts to help you introduce Google Tag Manager in your digital marketing strategy, contact us here.


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