What Is Google Tag Manager and Why Should You Start Using It
Table of Contents
By now, you have likely heard of Google Tag Manager and may wonder what it is and why you should consider it as a website manager. We are here to explain everything about this exciting and handy tool, including what it is, who should use it, how you should use it, and other essential information.
What Are Tags?
Tags, or web tags, are bits of code, transparent pixels, or images added to web pages that tell third-party applications what to do with those pages. Tags can tell another application to perform a task related to marketing, data collection, tracking, or content.
Most tags come from the vendors of other applications who want to integrate with a website somehow. Most commonly, this integration is for analytics purposes. When a website receives a visitor, the tag can share information with third-party analytics software regarding that visit.
Who Should Use Tag Management?
If you are a website manager with more tags and integrations than you can handle, you should be using Google Tag Manager. Tag management involves creating, integrating, maintaining, tracking, and marketing tags on your website.
While you can manage your tags independently, this requires refined skill and technical know-how. As a result, most website managers instead opt to use a Tag Management System (TMS) to manage tags on their websites. A TMS is an application that helps you handle tagging for the multiple technologies that interact with your website via tags.
Tag Management and Consent Management
Your TMS should integrate with your consent management platforms. These platforms interact with your TMS by deploying tags that visitors to your website agree to receive.
Consent management platforms keep website visitors from receiving trackers or cookies until they agree to receive them. Once users agree to these trackers or cookies, your consent management platform allows your website to fire tags that set cookies. If you’re using a TMS, you set cookies on your tags within your TMS.
A TMS is vital to data collection, analytics, and online marketing efforts. With so many potential tags, trackers, and integrations, website managers must effectively and efficiently manage tags to streamline their processes.
Getting Started with Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager is a free TMS and is somewhat easier to use when compared with other potential TMSs.
To use Google Tag Manager, you embed pieces of tag management code throughout your website, ensuring there is tag management code on each page. Once you’ve signed up for Google Tag Manager, you will select a container name. A container is a code you will add to your website that allows Tag Manager to do its job.
Once you’ve selected a name and chosen the appropriate platform for your site, you will see the piece of the container you must add to each of your website pages. Google Tag Manager will instruct you where to place these container snippets on your website pages.
Once you have embedded this code on each of your pages, you can create and manage all of your tags through Google Tag Manager rather than coding each tag yourself manually.
Google Tag Manager is an excellent tool for adding, monitoring, and removing tags from your website. You’ll be able to navigate between tags, triggers, and variables through an easy-to-use online interface that allows you to manage all of your website’s tags in one place.
Operating Google Tag Manager
You have signed up for Google Tag Manager and embedded the right container snippets into your website pages. Now you are ready to interact with Google Tag Manager. There are three sections of Google Tag Manager to understand.
The first section is the tag section, which is an interface that allows you to create, publish, monitor, and remove tags from your website. With Google Tag Manager, you can integrate many configurations of tags because the platform supports all Google products plus a ton of third-party applications.
You can create custom tags in the tag section if you find that Google Tag Manager does not support the particular tag configuration you’re attempting to use. You’ll be able to add and manage tags in HTML, image, or function form.
The triggers section tells your web pages when to fire tags in response to some event on your site. Events may include clicking links, viewing pages, or submitting web forms.
Once you’ve created a new tag, you must set its trigger. With Google Tag Manager, you’ll see several types of triggers from which you can choose. You can also set filters on your triggers, telling your website to only fire tags under certain circumstances.
The variables section tells the tag which data to collect. Tag Manager includes many variables built into the platform, allowing you to select the most helpful information to collect using tags.
If you find Google Tag Manager does not have a built-in variable for what you want your website to do, you can define your own variables.
Google Tag Manager vs Google Analytics
So, what is the difference between Google’s Tag Manager and Analytics products? While Tag Manager and Analytics interact, they are not the same. Tag Manager is a TMS specifically for managing a website’s tags.
On the other hand, Google Analytics is a total website monitoring and analysis tool used to track information on your website. You can track the number of visitors, how visitors interact with your site, how long visitors spend on your site, and what happens when visitors leave your site.
Google Tag Manager is an intermediary between your website and Google Analytics (as well as other tracking applications).
Google Analytics receives data from Google Tag Manager by way of tags. You do not need Google Tag Manager to use Google Analytics. You can embed code for Google Analytics directly onto your site without going through Google Tag Manager.
However, if you manage tags from multiple third-party applications, you may want to use Tag Manager.
Google Tag Manager Certification
There are many online options to receive training in Google Tag Manager. If you are interested in perfecting your Google Tag Manager skills, consider one of these online courses:
- Linkedin Learning Google Tag Manager Training: 88 minutes, certificate included
- Google Tag Manager Fundamentals: 4-6 hours, certificate included
- Udemy Google Tag Manager Training Course – From Zero to Hero: 3.5 hours, certificate included
- Analytics Mania Google Tag Manager Masterclass for Beginners 3.0: 9 hours, certificate included
- MeasureSchool Google Tag Manager for Beginners Free Course: 7 days, certificate included
Google Tag Manager is an excellent tool for adding, monitoring and removing tags from your website. You’ll be able to navigate between tags, triggers, and variables through an easy-to-use online interface that allows you to manage all of your website’s tags in one place.
If you’re interested in learning more about Google Task Manager, explore one of the many online Google Task Manager certification options.
E-commerce store owner?
Build and optimize your product feed to sell more.
Get exclusive CMO tips that I only share with email subscribers.