Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a free tool that makes it easier to add and update tracking tags within your website.
What is Google Tag Manager?
With Google Tag Manager you can manage your website tags without needing to update your website code every single time.
How Google Tag Manager works
Instead of having all the different tracking tags individually on your site, you only have to have the GTM tag on your site.
Within your GTM account, you can then add all of your other tracking tags and fire them on the pages you need.
Why you should be using Google Tag Manager
- No technical knowledge needed
Once the Google Tag Manager tag is placed on the site, updating and adding tracking tags is a piece of cake.
Instead of instructing your web developer for each little change, you (or your marketing specialist) can go in and make the change yourself.
- More control
Google Tag Manager has a built-in version control. If a certain tag is giving you a bug on your website, you can easily roll back the version to get everything running smoothly again.
Before you publish the tags on your website, you can test them within your Google Tag Manager to see if they’re currently implemented correctly. There’s also a GTM Chrome plug-in which you can run to see which tags get fired on which pages.
- User management
You can set permissions for individual users to view, edit and publish your tags. That way you can stay in full control of your website.
- Third-party tags
Built-in tags for Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Facebook, remarketing etc. makes it easier to add and manage your tags.
- SEO benefit
Not having tags firing on unnecessary pages will clean up your website code and can speed up your site. This can give you a benefit for your Google ranking.
Google Tag Manager is a great tool that makes tag management significantly easier. Especially for website owners that have limited knowledge of the technical part of their website.
Getting started with Google Tag Manager
As mentioned, Google Tag Manager is free to use. To get an account, go to tagmanager.google.com and follow the steps.
The way GTM is set up is that each account can contain multiple containers. Most businesses would have 1 account with 1 container, but if you own multiple websites you can split them up in different containers within the same account.
Once you set up your first container, you will need to add the GTM snippet to your website.
To do this, go to the admin area in your account and select the container. Then, click on the link that says “Install Google Tag Manager”.
You will need to add 2 code snippets. One will need to be added between the <head> tags. The other is placed within your <body> tags.
Depending on how your website is built and your technical skills, you might need some help from a developer to set this up. No worries, it’s the last time you will need to make changes to your website code from now on 🙂
Your first tag: adding Google Analytics to GTM
Now, most businesses would want to have all their tracking within Google Tag Manager. This includes Google Analytics of course.
However, I would make an exception for some e-commerce businesses. Since you want to push through shopping cart data, it might be easier to use the out-of-box options that platforms like Shopify and Woocommerce (via plugins) are offering.
Any other website should add Google Analytics to GTM, so let’s dive in and get you set up.
First, go to the Variables section when you are in your container.
Add the button to create a new custom variable.
Here, you will need to add a user-defined variable. Have a look at the settings below and add your unique Google Analytics tracking ID into the field.
Now, go to the tag section and add a new tag to your container.
Select “Universal Analytics” as the tag type, “Page View” as the tag type and then select the custom variable that you just created within the Google Analytics settings.
Save your tag and submit the changes to your container.
This last step is critical, your changes won’t be live on your website unless they are published to your website!