What is Google Tag Manager and Why It Matters

If you are currently doing any sort of digital marketing for your business, or maybe looking into branching out into the digital marketing realm, you might have heard of the importance of “tags”. What are “tags”? For instance, if you want to use Google Analytics to track traffic and activity on your website, you would get a custom code from Google to embed into the code of your site. This code is also known as the tag. “Tags” track data, monitor performance and many other activities on your website. Additionally, tags can be used to gain insights into your customer activities and target audiences.Some of the most common tags used in today’s digital marketing world include:

  • Google Analytics
  • AdWords
  • DoubleClick
  • AdRoll
  • Adobe SiteCatalyst
  • Facebook Pixels
  • Heatmap tracking code (Hotjar, CrazyEgg, etc…)

All these tags provide needed data that you can use to reach your intended audience, and also help create a user-friendly website experience. Today’s marketing leaders and web development teams use these tags to increase lead conversions and bring in new business. But keeping track of all this data and all of the different tools used to mine it can be a bit overwhelming. Enter Google Tag Manager.

What is Google Tag Manager?

In 2017, Google noticed that “tags” had become the new standard for the tracking tools mentioned above but they also realized that all of these tags from different companies with different functions had become too much for one person (or even a few people) to keep up with. Google Tag Manger does much of the heavy lifting by gathering all of these different codes and tools into one space. This allows for easier and more efficient management of your site and its valuable data. From the Google Tag Manager, all the data from 3rd party data sources is shown and managed right in a single dashboard – your analytics, your Google Webmaster tools (or Google Search Console now), your Facebook Ad manager, etc. Before Google Tag Manager, you would have to place multiple different codes on your site. One unique code for each different tool or service you wanted to utilize on your website. Now, Google Tag Manager populates a single code that encapsulates all of your different tools/codes in one. This dramatically decreases load time because your website only has to transfer data over one source instead of multiple. All you’ve got to do is put your various tag codes into the Google Tag Manager, and Google Tag Manager will populate one unique code for placement on your site.

Why Google Tag Manager Matters To You

If your site loads slowly because you overloaded it with tracking codes, you’re going to lose valuable time for first impressions, and your rankings may suffer too. It literally costs you money to have a slow site. Every time you add a new tag or tracking code to your site it eats up load time. Tag managers use one snippet of javascript to control multiple tags in one place. This in turn reduces load time and increases search engine optimization. Google Tag Manager also allows you to compare and analyze your data in a single place, which can help you strategize and make adjustments to digital marketing efforts on the fly in order to help you get the audience and reach you deserve. Without a tag management system, you have to bounce from place to place for different sets of data. For example, the Google Analytics and AdWords Conversion Tracking tags send information about certain types of activity on your site to Google. Without tag management solutions the code for each of your tags must be added and maintained manually on your site – meaning you would need to go to different dashboards to analyze and compare results. Google Tag Manager simplifies this process.Google Tag Manager DashboardPlus, Google Tag Manager provides things like workspaces, granular access controls, and support for multi-environment testing. Meaning that your IT or Web Development team can work together with your Marketing team and collaborate their strategies together to help improve your business. And all of this can be done from a single space.Simple. You can start tracking your data from multiple sources in one space.

What can you track in GTM?

  • Events (link clicks, PDF downloads, add to cart click, remove from cart click)
  • Scroll tracking
  • Form abandonment
  • Shopping cart abandonment
  • Video tracking
  • Form Conversion
  • And more

You can setup and track basic events like PDF downloads, outbound links or button clicks. Or, Complex enhanced ecommerce product and promotion tracking. Very little is not capable within the Google Tag Manager. And the best part? Its standard version is free to use for any business! Interested in working with Google Tag Manager, or just want to know more about it? Our web development team would be happy to assist you. Give us a call today!