What is Google Tag Manager?
Google Tag Manager (GTM) allows you to add bespoke code such as 3rd party tracking scripts, bespoke meta tags and develop dynamic variables & code on a website relatively quickly and easily in comparison to, for example, raising a website support ticket and awaiting implementation by 3rd party developers - which may be restricted by cost and time if you have limited ongoing support.
And if the code is not tested and/or implemented correctly first time, there is invariably always an unwanted delay between the initial request and tracking/functionality being in full working order. More often that not, time is money.
Therefore having a tool such as GTM in place on a website gives great flexibility and scope for amending site functionality in a timely and cost effective manner and without additional developer resource.
How do you set up GTM on a website?
You set up a GTM account within your Google Account and place the code supplied on to your website in the same way you would other 3rd party scripts, such as Google Analytics.
Once in place, you can then create tags within GTM that will execute either when a page is loaded or via functionality determined by bespoke triggers.
What is the difference between GTM and Google Analytics?
Google Analytics (GA) is code that once added to your site will automatically provide you with a whole host of analytical data and reports based on your site's traffic.
GTM is not a tracking tool and by default doesn't provide any analytical data - if you place the code on your site, without further configuration, it will do nothing. You cannot perform any analysis of data or reporting within GTM.
You can, amongst other things, create a whole host of additional custom data points based on user behaviour which you can then send to GA to be tracked alongside your standard user data.
For example, you can set up triggers when any external link on your site is clicked and send this as a tracked event to analytics. From within GA you can then see which links on your site are clicked the most on a daily, weekly or any periodic basis.
Is GTM easy to use?
According to Google it is, as they state:
Google Tag Manager helps make tag management simple, easy and reliable by allowing marketers and webmasters to deploy website tags all in one place.
Whilst some tags are fairly straightforward to set up, the scope for error if the tags are not implemented by someone who is savvy when it comes to coding, or familiar with website structure and architecture, is fairly high - no offence to digital marketeers.
Most web savvy users should be able to use GTM to add an AdWords conversion snippet to a thank you page, though more complex actions such as creating JSON Schema Mark Up based on dynamic variables extracted via CSS selectors on blog articles may require additional expertise.
The learning curve is steep but once mastered the scope for the amends you are able to make to site code, and the additional bespoke data you can track is vast.
Can GTM be used for SEO?
How Can Organic Digital Help?
As well as creating an account and configuring the code on your website, a number of triggers and tags can then be set up which enhance your analytics reporting and/or quickly implement, test and refine key SEO actions and elements. This avoids the cost and wait time it would take for your developers to carry out the same tasks.
Useful Google Tag Manager Resources
If you want to find out more about Google Tag Manager, the following resources are a good starting point, alternatively, if you want any assistance creating bespoke code, tags and triggers fill in the contact form below:
- Google Tag Manager
- Moz - An Introduction To Google Tag Manager
- Simo Ahava - Google Tag Manager Expert Blogger