Google Tag Manager

What is GTM (Google Tag Manager)? What are its applications?

Google Tag Manager

According to Google,

Google Tag Manager is a tag management system (TMS) that allows you to quickly and easily update tracking codes and related code fragments collectively known as tags on your website or mobile app. Once the small segment of Tag Manager code has been added to your project, you can safely and easily deploy analytics and measurement tag configurations from a web-based user interface.

“GTM” or “Google Tag Manager” is a common term among digital marketers and analytics experts. It’s a tag management system that can be used to manage multiple tags from one dashboard.

Google says it is easy to use, but apart from a few basic features (like Google Analytics integration), it is not easy at all. For advanced tracking, either you should know JavaScript/jQuery, or you will need a developer to get your job done. Even for drag and drop features, you will need to go through some training classes. However, its dynamic approach makes it a convenient tool and once installed, it can be used for various type of trackings and data collection. The best part is you don’t have to touch a website’s code everytime you integrate a new feature into GTM. Below, I will discuss all its pros, cons and its terminology. You can learn how to install GTM on a website in the next post.

Let’s start!

Why GTM (Google Tag Manager)?

Well, any webmaster or the person who is responsible for the traffic and sales through a website would like to grow those numbers. It can be through paid channels or better organic presence (search engines & social media). But what if I say that you can increase your sales even without improvement in the website’s traffic?

Yes, it can be done, and it is where tools like Google Analytics or any other similar tool play an important role. You can use such tools to check how your landing page is performing. And, based on different trackings, you can optimize that page to get the most conversions. Now, for installation of Google Analytics into your website, you will have to edit your website’s header and add the analytics code just before closing head tag (</head>). What if you want to install multiple trackings and some advanced trackings as well. You will have to edit your website’s code every time you want to add, edit or delete a tracking code. That is where GTM can help you out.

GTM provides a lot of in-built tracking codes which can be enabled or disabled from its dashboard itself.  For example, after installing GTM on your website, you can enable Google Analytics tracking from GTM dashboard. There is no need to add the analytics code to website’s header as we discussed earlier. Similarly, you can install Facebook Pixel code to your website through GTM and that way you can avoid editing a website’s code for each such installation.

Pros of GTM (Google Tag Manager)

All advantages/pros of GTM are as follow:

  • All tags can be managed from a single webpage,
  • Avoid duplication and mistakes,
  • Can speed up the management process,
  • Dynamic and flexible in nature,
  • Safe and secure (Google’s credibility),
  • No need to edit or modify actual code of web pages,
  • Built-in preview tool can be used for on-site testing and debugging,
  • Provides version control to keep track of modifications,
  • For advance user control, multiple permission levels are provided,
  • And, after all, free to use.

Cons of GTM (Google Tag Manager)

Here are all the drawbacks/disadvantages of GTM:

  • Even for integration of in-built tags/features, you will need to be technically sound,
  • Initial setup and training can be time taking,
  • Debugging and troubleshooting can be annoying,
  • For advance integrations, you will need a developer beside you.

What can GTM do?

Google Tag Manager Events

GTM don’t do anything apart from integrating all your third-party codes so that you can manage them all from a single dashboard. For example, you can’t check Google Analytics or any other tools’ data from GTM dashboard. GTM is just for adding, editing and deleting those third-party codes in the form of tags. However, using in-built or custom tags, you can easily do the following after installing GTM on your website:

  • Clicks Tracking,
  • Form-fill Tracking,
  • Form abandoned Tracking,
  • Hover Tracking,
  • Scroll Tracking,
  • Video view/watch Tracking,
  • Add to cart Tracking,
  • Sales/conversion Tracking,
  • Element visibility Tracking etc.

These are some of many things that you can do using GTM. You can also track events which are not in-built, but for that, you will need to use custom JS codes.

Basic Terminology of GTM (Google Tag Manager)

Following terms in GTM will be enough to get you started with your first project:

  • Tags
  • Triggers
  • Variables


Google Tag Manager Tag Types

A Tag is an actual code that is responsible for sending the required data from a webpage to the desired third party. For example, if you integrate a built-in Google Analytics Tag with your GTM installation, GTM will load Google Analytics code on your website and will send the data from website to your Google Analytics account. Similarly, all tags will send desired data from your website to corresponding third-parties.


Google Tag Manager Events

As its name suggests, a trigger is a set of rules which fires a tag when all the rules are satisfied. A tag won’t work or you can say, won’t send any data, until a trigger fires it. So in order to fire a tag, that tag should have a trigger. For example, if we create a Google Analytics tag, we will need a trigger to fire it. Triggers can have various conditions as a set of rules like “all pages” or “pages having a certain string in their URL” or “pages having certain text in any particular div” etc. etc. These conditions depend on when we want the trigger to fire our tag.


Google Tag Manager In built variables

Variables are key-value pairs which populate tags and triggers with dynamic data at the runtime. They can be used with both, the tags and triggers. GTM provides lots of in-built variables like for link click URL, link click target, link click classes etc. You can check the image above for all in-built variables. You can also add your own variables using various custom variable types (check the image below).

Variables are used inside triggers to define some conditions whereas, in tags, they are used to get values from web pages at the runtime.

Google Tag Manager custom variables
I hope this article will help you in understanding the purpose of GTM and whether it can be of any use for your website or project.

Share your thoughts and queries in comments below, Thanks.

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