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What is Google Tag Manager?

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Meg Cabrera
Meg Cabrera SEJ STAFF
What is Google Tag Manager?

A lot has been said about Google Tag Manager, and the many benefits it has given to many digital marketers, so we’ve outlined what it is, and its many uses you can take advantage of.

Google Tag Manager Defined

Google Tag Manager is a powerful, free tool that enables marketers to control digital marketing data by using code snippets on any website. It can be used for conversion tracking, website analytics, retargeting, and many more tracking purposes.

Google Tag Manager Features

Tag Automation

Automated Tag Management

Google Tag Manager allows customization based on the user requirements, using the user’s own set of tools. It results in better integrations based on current work processes.

Google Tag Manager gives you full control over how your tags fire and are defined. Tag management allows marketers to easily manage tags onto the website. Because of the ease of use of the Google Tag Manager, making changes without IT or developer involvement is simple. The elimination of that step in the process will help improve the website, and eliminate costs.

How to Control Tags

There’s a tag, there’s a variable, and then there’s a trigger.

All tags load independently from one another and in parallel with other page elements. You can pick the most important data elements on your pages and easily collect them with variables. On a basic level, the variable can be assigned. That’s the UA code, the Google Analytics code for a site that can be set as a variable.

There’s an infinite number of variables you can control when it fires. The frequency, and the manner the tags are fired can all be controlled. Custom designed variables can also be done based on a data on a specific page.

Usability, Accounts, and User Roles

Google Tag Master can easily be used by any marketer, including SEOs and SEMs, plus webmasters and IT developers. It has an easy-to-use interface that allows for easy, fast, and convenient processing. User level access can also be controlled so changes can only be done by specific users with a specific level of authority.

Integration and Templates

Google Tag Manager makes web analytics implementations more convenient. It can be used to deploy different types of tracking codes, which enables Google Analytics to track various types of information, including conversions.

Google Tag Manager also supports Google and non-Google metrics so you can quickly adopt new marketing tools into the process.

Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics

Google Analytics

The main similarity between Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics lies in the use of codes. Upon signing up, both give users a code to be placed within the site for website tracking.

When you sign up for Google Analytics, you are given a code to be placed on every page. Google Analytics allows for customizable features, but changes need to be made page by page.

Google Tag Manager works very similarly, where you will also be given a code snippet that you will place on your page, but you use the same snippet of code on every page. Changes can be made on a higher level through the Google Tag Manager control panel.

Everything that gets passed over to Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager is on a thing called the data-layer. It contains the different variables on the site. It’s not necessarily readily apparent to a visitor to the site, but the data is there. That information is being sent over to Analytics. This can be defined in the Tag Manager as well and the data layer.

The customer journey on the site can be seen through the Tag Manager and the variables can be defined. All of those can be set up in custom dimensions and that information will be sent over from the site via the data-layer. A lot of data can be captured through this. Once you have all of that information, these can be analyzed and supplement the standard Google Analytics information.

Tips and Tricks

Google Tag Manager WordPress plugin

Installing the Google Tag Manager WordPress plugin in your WordPress will do 99% of the work for you.

Preview Function

Google Tag Manager has a built-in preview function where you can preview anything you do before you actually publish it live to the site. Use this feature to eliminate unnecessary mistakes.

Test

Testing is the best strategy to find out what will work for your website.

BackTrack

Tag Manager also has the ability to backtrack. Every time you publish, tags and rules are created. If the live version doesn’t quite fit what you had in mind, you can always use this functionality.

To learn more about Google Tag Manager, listen to this Marketing Nerds podcast with Steve Guberman & Brent Csutoras:

You can also listen via iTunes, or Stitcher, and receive updates via IFTTT.

Visit our Marketing Nerds archive to listen to other Marketing Nerds podcasts!

 

Image Credits

Featured Image: Juliar StudioShutterstock.com
In-post Photo #1: Ingvar Bjork/Shutterstock.com
In-post Photo #2: Tupungato/Shutterstock.com

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Meg Cabrera

Meg Cabrera

Sales Operations Analyst at Search Engine Journal

Meg is part of SEJ's team based in Manila, Philippines. She is responsible for managing sales operations, order fulfillment, and ... [Read full bio]

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