As Google Analytics was live for already 7 years, Google launched in 2012 a new tool, Google Tag Manager, to make the tag management on websites more simple. Many people think that Google Tag Manager is quite similar to Google Analytics, but it is not. We will see there what exactly is Google Tag Manager, what it should be used for, and why we should definitely use it.
What is Google Tag Manager (and what is it not)?
A Tag Manager is a tool that will manage all your tags. And that’s all. It will not save your data such as Google Analytics or allow you to make beautiful reports. The Tag Manager has a very precise role. Google Tag Manager is one of them.
The 3 main elements of Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager uses 3 main elements in order to manage properly tags:
- Trigger: a trigger define when and where a tag will be executed (or fired)
- Variable: a variable stores data and can be used in both tags and triggers. A variable can be for example the page path, but also, your Google Analytics account ID.
You can have many of each of them; you can use a trigger to trigger several tags, use a variables in one or many tags and trigger.
Built-in tags and triggers
GTM includes built-in tags, that make configuration really easier. In case you need to use one of these built-in tags, you would just need your account ID for the third party provider to do a basic configuration of your tag.
It also includes some built-in triggers, such as the pageview, but also some click triggers to help you tracking clicks on some specific parts of your website.
Using these built-in features may help you to start implementing GTM.
When should you use Google Tag Manager?
You should probably think about using Google Tag Manager as soon as you have a few tags on your website, to avoid to have them hardcoded in your website source code. Doing so would avoid you having to deploy all your website anytime you want to add or manage your tags. Indeed, you just need to add Google Tag Manager snippet of code on your website, and it will automatically add any tags on your pages, according to the triggers.
Why should you use GTM?
We’ve previously mentioned Google Analytics as one of the examples of tags that can be managed by GTM, but GTM can manage any type of tags, not only Google-made tags.
Google Tag Manager can handle:
- other Google products tags
- all built-in tags
- any other tags through custom tags
You don’t have any limitation regarding the tag provider using any of the custom tags.
GTM is free
Google Tag Manager is provided by Google as a free tool.
GTM includes a debug tools that help you understand what data is available when a tag is executed, and which tags are executed and when.
History of all modifications
When you add, edit or remove some tags, triggers or variables, you need to deploy a new version of your account. GTM keeps every version so you can easily roll back to a previous one!
They are many more reason to use Google Tag Manager. Some require a more advanced knowledge about Google Tag Manager, that we will address in future posts.
Google Tag Manager is a great tool that can be implemented and used without advanced skills as it relies on a simple and clear interface. It will give you more confidence in managing your tags, save you time and give you lot of agility for tag management.