How To Use Google Tag Manager

As a marketer, your goal is to engage people. That’s why we design websites today to be highly interactive, where users can watch videos, download PDFs, fill out forms, chat, and leave comments. To understand what’s working and how people are interacting with your website beyond simple page views, you could ask your web developer to write hard code directly on your site manually. Or, you can install Google Tag Manager, a free tool that helps marketers deploy and track tags on websites easily and efficiently.

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Google Tag Manager enables you to track what visitors to your website are clicking on, filling out, saying, doing. With Google Tag Manager, all tags are managed in one place, allowing anyone with the proper permissions to install them. Tags are snippets of JavaScript and non-JaveScript code added to a webpage as a way to collect information like page views, clicks, and file downloads. Google Analytics, Facebook, and Google Ads are great sites to tag for digital marketing campaigns.

There’s no limit to the number of tags that you can create, and if a tag doesn’t work after it goes live, you can quickly revert to a previous version that does.

How Google Tag Manager Works

Let’s say you're launching a Facebook campaign to drive more website traffic. Google Tag Manager will track visitors coming in from the campaign. Just add Facebook’s tracking code, and Google Tag Manager will take over.

Think of a Google Tag Manager account as a container, or a toolbox. Within this container, you create and keep tags with their associated triggers and variables:

  • Tag

    A snippet of Java code that tracks the activity on any given website or page
  • Trigger

    A condition that dictates when a tag gets fired
  • Variable

    Additional information that may be necessary for a tag to work; includes built-in and user-defined versions

Check out the video below on the Google Tag Manager Tutorial -

Getting Started With Google Tag Manager

To get started with Google Tag Manager, create an account. Use the same email address that you use with other Google products so it can integrate easily across all platforms.

Next, choose the container type. The container type can be Web for desktop, iOS for an Apple device, or Android for an Android smartphone. (By default, most marketers will set it up for the web version.) Then, you'll get a Google Tag Manager code, which you’ll put on every page of your website, high in the header and the body. Refer to Google’s Quick Start Guide for more information on adding code to websites.

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Once the code is added, start creating tags on Google Tag Manager. It’s a good idea to make Google Analytics your first tag, so page views and web visitors will start getting tracked immediately. Within the tag, add the Google Analytics tracking ID, which will be the container's variable. It can be found on Google Analytics under Admin, then Property Settings. Set up triggers and any other variables to refine your tracking criteria, click Submit to activate it, and repeat the process for additional tags.

To make sure tags are firing as they should, you can use Google Tag Assistant, which is available as a Chrome extension. Once installed, you go to any website to check and see the tags it’s connected. You can also use a feature called Preview Mode within Google Tag Assistant to make sure your tags are firing before you submit.

Google Tag Manager is a quick, easy, free way to track how visitors are using your site. Consider adding it to your marketing toolbox to keep an eye on how visitors are engaging with you in real-time.

Learn more about web analytics with Simplilearn’s Advanced Web Analytics Certification Training. You can also gain in-depth knowledge about digital marketing, from top-notch strategies to best practices with Simplilearn's Digital Marketing Certified Associate Program.

About the Author

Danielle JacksonDanielle Jackson

Danielle Jackson is a writer, editor, and communications specialist with more than a decade of experience in print and online publishing.

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