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Google Tag Manager - An Introduction

In the first of our latest blog series, we demystify all things GTM (Google Tag Manager) - what it is, what it does and how you use it.

Google Tag Manager could be described as every marketers dream, after all who doesn’t love tracking, segmentation and retargeting. With that said, you’d be surprised how many brands either aren’t using it or don’t know how best to deploy it.

What is Google Tag Manager?

First off, tags are little snippets of code that are added to a site and used to do track scrolling, generate heat maps, remarketing and to track how people find your site (and much MUCH more). They’re also used to monitor more specific happenings like clicks on particular links and form downloads, as well as when items are deleted from shopping baskets.

As marketers we love collecting this data because it helps us to understand how people are interacting with our sites, big or small. But this tagging business can be an overwhelmingly large task from creating the individual tags to diving into the website’s source to edit codes, and it can also take a lot of time.

Introducing Google Tag Manager, the FREE Google tool that stars in our data dreams. (Yes you read that right, it’s completely FREE). Google has gifted us with some brilliant free tools over the years, but GTM is really knocking our socks off. Here’s why.

What does Google Tag Manager do?

GTM is a user-friendly web-based interface which effectively means it’s easy to use and integrates effortlessly with your existing systems. Google tells us to see it like a bridge between marketers and developers, it’s a collaboration tool that makes sure you can deploy all of the most important tracking and conversion tags for your business’ needs. You’ll still need your developers of course, but you can easily add, edit or disable tags without having to go anywhere near the website source code. Sounds much easier right?

As if that wasn’t good enough, it’s not just Google services that this works with, it also works beautifully with other third-party websites so you can integrate your tags on Twitter and Bing Ads and many more, giving you 360 insight across your activity and audiences. There’s not many platforms Google Tag Manager doesn’t work well with and if there isn’t a template for what you need you can also add your own custom code. It also keeps all of your tags in one place, meaning you aren’t overloading your website, giving your users a quicker experience and avoiding lags.

How do you use Google Tag Manager?

GTM is great when used alongside Google Analytics. Yes, we know GA is a fantastic tool but on its own there are plenty of site actions which can’t be tracked and this where GTM really soars.

Once you’ve set up your GTM account using your website domain name as the container you’re ready to go. There are different options for your tag management settings - you can choose web, iOS, Android or AMP.

You’ll be given a tag template which you can add to all of your website pages using your given tracking ID. You can also set up new tags with different variables, having them all fire asynchronously or you can set your own tag trigger points to monitor user interaction differently. There’s also the option to save different variations so you can track website changes and get a better overview of what’s working, and what’s not.

The best part is that tag templates are ready-made tracking scripts, so your necessary input is minimal. They are all optimized for speed, cross-browser compatibility, and are all Google verified.

Don’t know how to code? No problem. You can install any of these templates without even touching any code. Your generated ID’s (mentioned above) are all you need to connect these codes to your website. Easy peasy.

The best part about the Google Tag Manager tool is that it’s completely free. Like chips and gravy, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager are the perfect pair - life’s just better when they’re together.