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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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:
TagA snippet of Java code that tracks the activity on any given website or page
TriggerA condition that dictates when a tag gets fired
VariableAdditional 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.
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