Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a powerful tool that can transform the way you manage your tags and tracking codes on your website. But it can be difficult to use and set up correctly.
That’s why I created this handy guide to help you unlock the true potential of Google Tag Manager! Together, we’ll delve into the world of GTM, unpacking its powerhouse components: Tags, triggers, and variables. But we won’t stop at there; I’ll personally guide you through the practical steps of setting up GTM on your website, empowering you to create, manage, and deploy these elements like a pro.
Whether you’re a business owner seeking more control over your website, a marketer wanting to streamline your tracking process, or a developer looking to simplify code management, this guide is crafted with you in mind.
Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a free tool developed by Google that allows website owners to manage and deploy marketing tags (snippets of code or tracking pixels) on their website (or mobile app) without having to modify the code. This is done by installing a single container code snippet to the source code, after which all other tags can be managed and deployed from the GTM interface. This effectively removes the need for developers’ intervention for each tag installation and offers marketers greater flexibility and control over their digital marketing endeavors.
Google Tag Manager has three key components:
I go into more detail about understanding Google Tag Manager in this video:
Why use Google Tag Manager? Consider these benefits.
Use this step-by-step guide to create a GTM account.
You can also follow along with the steps here:
After creating your GTM account, you will need to install it on your website. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
Remember, for the Tag Manager to manage your tags, you need to add and configure them within the GTM interface. GTM does not automatically take over tags that are hardcoded on your site.
Get a full video tutorial here:
Here are some advanced features within Google Tag Manager you can use to track information effectively for your business.
When you’re running an ecommerce store, it’s really useful to track extra details about purchases. This helps you understand your customers better and make smarter business decisions. To do this, you can use something called a data layer. It’s like a special container that holds all the important information. In the code snippet you shared, the data layer is capturing specific details about a conversion event, like when someone makes a purchase.
The ‘event’ key is set to ‘conversion’, indicating that a conversion event is being tracked. The ’email’ key represents the associated email address, while the ‘visitorType’ key denotes the type of visitor, specifically a customer. Additionally, the ‘order’ key holds the value 1234, which could represent an order ID or any other relevant identifier.
It’s important to note that for more granular tracking in ecommerce scenarios, such as enhanced ecommerce tracking, Google provides a recommended data layer structure. This structure allows for more comprehensive and detailed tracking of ecommerce-related events, enabling powerful analytics and insights for your online store’s performance optimization.
Custom HTML tags in GTM are particularly useful when you want to execute a tag that is not part of the built-in templates provided by GTM, or when you want to customize a tag beyond what the available templates allow.
Get more details about these features in this video tutorial:
By centralizing the tagging and tracking process using Google Tag Manager, you can streamline your workflow, increase efficiency, and reduce the likelihood of errors that could occur from manual code changes. With features such as the data layer and the ability to use custom HTML tags, GTM gives you a tremendous amount of flexibility to track almost any kind of user interaction on your site.
As we’ve seen in this guide, setting up GTM involves creating an account, installing it on your website, understanding its components (tags, triggers, variables), and leveraging its features like the data layer and custom HTML tags. While it might seem a little complex at first, with practice, you’ll find that GTM can be an indispensable part of your digital marketing toolkit.
If you’re keen to delve deeper and learn more about GTM, here are some additional resources you might find useful:
Remember, mastering Google Tag Manager doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, patience, and consistent practice. But with its capabilities, it’s definitely worth the effort.
Alessandro is an accomplished digital marketing professional with over a decade of experience in various tech fields. He currently works as a Customer Success Manager at Google and teaches Digital Marketing at Sheridan College in Ontario, Canada. He also co-authored the book Becoming Artificial and writes articles for Philosophy Now Magazine and various digital marketing websites. You can learn more about Alessandro at alessandrocolarossi.com.
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