Introduction to Google Tag Manager (GTM)

What Is Google Tag Manager And Why Should You Use It?

Success in digital marketing depends on tracking user behavior data so you know exactly what’s going on in your website.. If you work with any kind of website, either for a small business or for an enterprise client, it is very important for you to know and understand how visitors interact with that website so you can optimize the UX and your media buying.This is where various analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, and media buying platforms, such as Facebook Ads, come into play. By sending user behavior data into these platforms, you can start using this data to make the site experience even better for visitors. So the next question is: how do you send site behavior data to these platforms?

Google has created a brilliant and easy to use solution called a Google Tag Manager (GTM). The magic of GTM is that you just have to add the GTM tag once to your website and you can start adding/removing pixels as needed. Google Tag Manager (GTM) can house all of the pixels, or tiny scripts that send data back to these analytics and ad buying platforms, so you can efficiently keep track of all of your pixels and send data without slowing down your website. If you’re an agency providing marketing services to clients and don’t have direct access to the website’s source code, it’s especially efficient to use GTM as you don’t have to communicate back and forth with developers and potentially lose track of all of the pixels on the website.

For basic operation of GTM, you need simple understanding of components like “containers”, “tags”, “triggers”, “variables”, and “data layers”.

GTM Heirarchy

What is a container?

A “container” is basically a compartment in GTM that is designed to hold all your tags related to a specific site. After you have added all the tags to your container, Google Tag Manager provides you with a small javascript code, which is known as the “container code”, that must be placed on your site’s source code.

Some content management systems, like WordPress, provide you with plugins that can assist in adding the container code to the source code of your website. However, in other cases, you might need to request a developer to add it to every page of your website. Once it has been added, it will be very simple to disable, add, edit and remove tags, exactly you need them, from the main console of GTM.

What are Tags?

Pixels are basically snippets of Javascript code or tracking pixels, which need to be inserted into the source code of your website, in order to gather information and share it with third parties, and these pixels are housed inside of “tags” in GTM. Tags can be utilized for many different purposes like monitoring the submission of forms, scroll tracking, creating heat maps, conducting different kinds of surveys, remarketing, and tracking the pathway by which people show up at your website. They can also serve to monitor particular events such as clicks of particular links, downloading of some files, the combination of items being added to shopping carts or things being removed from carts.

GTM dataLayer

What are Triggers?

Every tag that you have added to your site has to have a “trigger”, which is how GTM knows when to execute the tag. For instance, you require a tag to forward some information as soon as somebody submits a form. or agrees to terms and conditions etc. Such events are called “triggers”. Every tag requires one or more triggers that have been assigned to it, without which it would not be functional. When the trigger event occurs, the tag will fire and execute the relevant pixel. There can also be conditions under which you want a tag to not fire, in such a case a “blocking trigger” can be created, to stop the tag from getting deployed.

What are Variables?

Tags rely on triggers in order to function, similarly triggers rely on variables. “Variables” are the values that a trigger has to evaluate in order to decide whether or not it should fire. The value of the variable is compared with a constant defined value designated in the trigger. If the conditions specified in the trigger are met by the variable, the tag will be deployed, otherwise, it won’t. A very simple example is that you can set a tag to be deployed when a client adds 15 items to a shopping cart.

In addition, variables can be data points such as revenue, which dynamically change and must be captured by the pixels. For example, if you want to track each time a user makes a purchase, you want to create a “variable” that tracks how much a customer has spent and place that variable inside of the “tag” so your analytics and ad platforms know exactly how much each transaction was worth.

There are some variables that are very commonly used while managing marketing tags, these are called “built-in variables”, as they are already added to the main console of the Google Tag Manager. You can simply access these built-in variables from the main console, and configure the settings according to your requirements. They are very useful for common web containers. More built-in variables can be accessed by going into the “configuration” of the Google Tag Manager. In addition to that customized variables can also be created. These are not previously added to the console of the GTM, but you can add them as “user defined variables”. A list of different variables is available, from which you can choose, according to your requirement.

What is a dataLayer?

Tags require access to certain information, in order to decide whether or not to fire and this information is mostly obtained by going through the HTML structure of the pages on your website, but the process takes time, which can cause a delay in the firing of the tag. A javascript object, commonly known as a “dataLayer” is useful in isolating data and keeping them apart from the rest of the website’s source code. This minimizes the time required to go through the HTML code, which serves to considerably improve the speed of your website. So if you want to use a layering system, Google Tag Manager can help you do that.

How Much Should You Know Before Using GTM?

Google Tag Manager is not a difficult or complicated tool, but it is not easy to use without training. Some degree of technical knowledge is required to operate this tool. One does not necessarily have to be a developer to use it, short self-study courses are available online that are quite sufficient to develop a basic understanding of the functionality and implementation of GTM. You can even read up on some blog to get some understanding of the concept by which tracking programs functions, what type of data they require in order to function, the data that can be can be generated by tracking various events and understanding the reports generated by analytics tools so that you can be better equipped to implement and use GTM. It is not advisable to tamper with the code of your website blindly, even when using GTM, because making mistakes, like syntax or placement errors, using broken tags or incorrect URLs can damage the website or may generate data that is incorrect.

Ecommerce Trends During COVID-19

What Is Google Tag Manager And Why Should You Use It?

Success in digital marketing depends on tracking user behavior data so you know exactly what’s going on in your website.. If you work with any kind of website, either for a small business or for an enterprise client, it is very important for you to know and understand how visitors interact with that website so you can optimize the UX and your media buying.This is where various analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, and media buying platforms, such as Facebook Ads, come into play. By sending user behavior data into these platforms, you can start using this data to make the site experience even better for visitors. So the next question is: how do you send site behavior data to these platforms?

Google has created a brilliant and easy to use solution called a Google Tag Manager (GTM). The magic of GTM is that you just have to add the GTM tag once to your website and you can start adding/removing pixels as needed. Google Tag Manager (GTM) can house all of the pixels, or tiny scripts that send data back to these analytics and ad buying platforms, so you can efficiently keep track of all of your pixels and send data without slowing down your website. If you’re an agency providing marketing services to clients and don’t have direct access to the website’s source code, it’s especially efficient to use GTM as you don’t have to communicate back and forth with developers and potentially lose track of all of the pixels on the website.

For basic operation of GTM, you need simple understanding of components like “containers”, “tags”, “triggers”, “variables”, and “data layers”.

GTM Heirarchy

What is a container?

A “container” is basically a compartment in GTM that is designed to hold all your tags related to a specific site. After you have added all the tags to your container, Google Tag Manager provides you with a small javascript code, which is known as the “container code”, that must be placed on your site’s source code.

Some content management systems, like WordPress, provide you with plugins that can assist in adding the container code to the source code of your website. However, in other cases, you might need to request a developer to add it to every page of your website. Once it has been added, it will be very simple to disable, add, edit and remove tags, exactly you need them, from the main console of GTM.

What are Tags?

Pixels are basically snippets of Javascript code or tracking pixels, which need to be inserted into the source code of your website, in order to gather information and share it with third parties, and these pixels are housed inside of “tags” in GTM. Tags can be utilized for many different purposes like monitoring the submission of forms, scroll tracking, creating heat maps, conducting different kinds of surveys, remarketing, and tracking the pathway by which people show up at your website. They can also serve to monitor particular events such as clicks of particular links, downloading of some files, the combination of items being added to shopping carts or things being removed from carts.

GTM dataLayer

What are Triggers?

Every tag that you have added to your site has to have a “trigger”, which is how GTM knows when to execute the tag. For instance, you require a tag to forward some information as soon as somebody submits a form. or agrees to terms and conditions etc. Such events are called “triggers”. Every tag requires one or more triggers that have been assigned to it, without which it would not be functional. When the trigger event occurs, the tag will fire and execute the relevant pixel. There can also be conditions under which you want a tag to not fire, in such a case a “blocking trigger” can be created, to stop the tag from getting deployed.

What are Variables?

Tags rely on triggers in order to function, similarly triggers rely on variables. “Variables” are the values that a trigger has to evaluate in order to decide whether or not it should fire. The value of the variable is compared with a constant defined value designated in the trigger. If the conditions specified in the trigger are met by the variable, the tag will be deployed, otherwise, it won’t. A very simple example is that you can set a tag to be deployed when a client adds 15 items to a shopping cart.

In addition, variables can be data points such as revenue, which dynamically change and must be captured by the pixels. For example, if you want to track each time a user makes a purchase, you want to create a “variable” that tracks how much a customer has spent and place that variable inside of the “tag” so your analytics and ad platforms know exactly how much each transaction was worth.

There are some variables that are very commonly used while managing marketing tags, these are called “built-in variables”, as they are already added to the main console of the Google Tag Manager. You can simply access these built-in variables from the main console, and configure the settings according to your requirements. They are very useful for common web containers. More built-in variables can be accessed by going into the “configuration” of the Google Tag Manager. In addition to that customized variables can also be created. These are not previously added to the console of the GTM, but you can add them as “user defined variables”. A list of different variables is available, from which you can choose, according to your requirement.

What is a dataLayer?

Tags require access to certain information, in order to decide whether or not to fire and this information is mostly obtained by going through the HTML structure of the pages on your website, but the process takes time, which can cause a delay in the firing of the tag. A javascript object, commonly known as a “dataLayer” is useful in isolating data and keeping them apart from the rest of the website’s source code. This minimizes the time required to go through the HTML code, which serves to considerably improve the speed of your website. So if you want to use a layering system, Google Tag Manager can help you do that.

How Much Should You Know Before Using GTM?

Google Tag Manager is not a difficult or complicated tool, but it is not easy to use without training. Some degree of technical knowledge is required to operate this tool. One does not necessarily have to be a developer to use it, short self-study courses are available online that are quite sufficient to develop a basic understanding of the functionality and implementation of GTM. You can even read up on some blog to get some understanding of the concept by which tracking programs functions, what type of data they require in order to function, the data that can be can be generated by tracking various events and understanding the reports generated by analytics tools so that you can be better equipped to implement and use GTM. It is not advisable to tamper with the code of your website blindly, even when using GTM, because making mistakes, like syntax or placement errors, using broken tags or incorrect URLs can damage the website or may generate data that is incorrect.