If you have any inkling of digital marketing, you’ve probably heard about Google Tag Manager and how it can be beneficial to advertising. But because of how fast technology keeps changing and the dynamic nature of the entrepreneurial landscape, you might not have had the chance to play catch up.
If so, there’s no need to panic. Read this article to bring yourself up to speed.
What is Google Tag Manager?
Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a free tool that is used to apply and track tags on websites and mobile apps without the need to modify code. Tags are strings of code added to a site to help collect and send information to third-party sites.
Before GTM was introduced in 2012, marketers had to have web designers on their team to manually add and edit tags into their web's source code. This process becomes arduous quickly as the number of pages on the website increases. Also, a single website can need more than one type of tag, so it’s easy to see how overwhelming managing them can get. On the other hand, using Google’s tag manager expedites this process by coding and embedding the tags automatically.
GTM works well in conjunction with Google Analytics. Its interface allows for the easy integration of GA to carry out advanced processes such as tracking tags, configuring data metrics or managing tags on different versions of your website. This way, the data collection process is fast and streamlined.
Let’s gloss over some terms that get tossed around while talking about GTM:
Tags- These are strings of code from third-party websites that tell the tag manager what to do. Examples are Facebook pixels or Analytics universal tracking codes.
Triggers- They fire up the tag they are attached to. For instance, if you want a pop-up message to appear when users log onto your site, a trigger activates the tag set up to make this message appear.
Variables- In the case where conditional information is given, the variable determines whether or not the situation allows for the tag to be triggered.
Containers- This is a collection of tags, triggers and variables. Within your container, you can easily add or remove any tags without having to go to the back-end of each page.
Still unsure about how GTM can be useful to your website? Here are some of its benefits:
1. Increased speed
Businesses move fast and so should you! Implementing changes to your web codes manually can be very taxing and time-consuming. Even your seasoned programmers may have problems staying on top of all your tags.
This is why you need Google Tag Manager by which tags can be managed automatically. The process is so simple that you can implement the changes yourself if your staff is stretched thin.
2. Centralized tag management
Tracking tags can be pretty hectic if they’re spread all over your web’s source code. But with Google Tag Manager, everything is under one roof, so the process of adding and editing tags is simplified. This also reduces the chances of errors in your codes that would cause malfunctions in your site.
3. Faster loading speed
Slow to load websites are very off-putting and could be costing you customers. But since GTM tags fire asynchronously, your web pages work faster. In layman terms, this means that each tag loads independently, so a slow one won’t affect the rest.
4. It is easy to use
Small entrepreneurs with limited budgets usually shy away from the use of technology due to the fear of running up their overhead. But with GTM, you don’t have to worry about incurring additional costs because first off, it is free to download and use. Also, it gives you autonomy, so you don’t have to hire an IT expert to run it for you. Using some resources online, you can learn to work it by yourself.
5. Debugging features
Those pesky errors that tend to embed themselves inside your codes are now easy to identify and weed out using Google Tag Manager. This is because it includes additional debugging features that make it easy to identify which tags work and which don’t. Now you don’t have to painstakingly go through mountains of code to identify small errors.
How to set up Google Tag Manager:
Get your GTM up and running in these few easy steps:
1. Create an account
Log onto the Google Tag Manager’s official website and create an account. Use your business Google account to set it up. The procedure here is the same as signing up for other Google tools like Analytics and Adwords.
2. Install the container
After signing up, select “workspace” on the new window that appears. Use the company/client domain name as the container name then choose your device platform. Afterwards, identify your unique container ID found at the top of the page. Copy the codes that will be generated onto every page of your website.
3. Create tags
After installing your container, you are now good to go. But before creating any tags, ensure you are clear on which tags you want to use. Although Google doesn’t limit the number of tags you can create, they recommend keeping them to a minimum.
Click on ‘Tags’ and select ‘New’ to start building a new tag. You’ll then be prompted to choose the type of tag you wish to create.
Finally, set triggers to control your tag. In case of errors, you can edit or delete created tags.
4. Preview, debug and publish
Google Tags Manager gives you the option of previewing your tags to ensure that they are working properly. Click the preview button to get into the preview and debugging mode, and then go to the site you want to add tags to. A debug panel will appear at the bottom of the window; giving a run-down of the activities within each tag (your users cannot see this). An individual tag can be selected to show its details or any blocks to its trigger.
If everything looks okay, go ahead and publish your tags.
Even after your tags go live, Google makes it easy to edit or update them accordingly.
Google Tags Manager can provide incredible insights into your website, to help you see what clicks with your audience. It also makes it simple to store and manage your tags in a centralized location. What’s more? You don’t have to be an expert to use it successfully!
What are you waiting for? Put Google Tags Manager to the test today!
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