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What Is Google Tag Manager and Why Use It?

What Is Google Tag Manager and Why Use It?
Adrián Valdivia Saavedra, a.k.a. The Mayor
Adrián Valdivia Saavedra, a.k.a. The Mayor

Copywriter, content writer and SEO translator

   

What is Google Tag Manager? After some time working in a digital marketing agency I asked myself this question because, I confess it, I had absolutely no idea about the most famous tag manager on the net.

Wait... tag manager? I'm still lost... Well, don't worry because in this article I'm going to tell you exactly everything about Google Tag Manager, what it's for, why to use it, how it works and, of course, its pros and cons. Let's go baby!

What is Google Tag Manager

Having read quite a lot on this subject, I think I can consider myself an expert on the subject. Or not. Probably not. Still, a good definition of Google Tag Manager (or GTM) would be the following:

Google Tag Manager is a tool for creating tags and code snippets (scripts) to track and measure any milestones that occur on a web page without the need for a developer.

In other words, this tag manager allows you to easily and quickly update tags, pixels or scripts within your platform without directly adding the code on the web page. These codes are from optimization tools like CrazyEgg, Hotjar or Google Optimize, paid marketing campaigns like Facebook Ads or Google Adwords and traffic analysis tools like Google Analytics.

3 reasons to use Google Tag Manager

This free tool is not only used to carry out measurements or to launch and improve digital marketing campaigns, but it is also a very complete, simple and efficient software that helps to keep track of the activity of a website on the Internet.

Nowadays, GTM is one of the most valued Google's successes by web and SEO (search engine optimization) professionals, but also by website owners who do not have technical knowledge.

Now that you know what Google Tag Manager is, here are three reasons to use it on your website.

1. It works perfectly with Google Analytics

The complete synchronization of Google Tag Manager with Google Analytics is one of the strong points of both tools, so having both is a push towards the achievement of objectives and their corresponding monitoring.

Although GTM is usually seen as a tag manager, it also works as a crawler to monitor strategies, track results, perform A/B tests, check how the conversion rate is going or if the sales funnel really works...

2. It gives total control of a website

If you're the type of person who likes to keep track of things, Google Tag Manager is for you. Besides being able to keep track of all aspects of the web, it also provides a lot of security.

GTM's technology has been specially designed to make your account fully protected against any external attack. So say goodbye to hacker attacks, viruses and phishing.

3. Speeds up the website loading website

Google Tag Manager is so well thought out that it helps keep the page from slowing down by improving the loading speed. The reason is that the code of the tags is much shorter than in the traditional system.

Its debugging and verification options are an extra, not to mention the access levels allowed. As a GTM administrator you can set up any accounts you want and decide how far they can go.

How does Google Tag Manager work

After knowing what Google Tag Manager is and some reasons to use it, it's turn to know how it works. Although by its name you might think that it is a tool that only serves to administer and manage tags, it serves for much more.

The operation of this manager can directly impact your digital marketing strategy, your Google Ads campaigns, Google Analytics data, the tagging. Tagging?

The GTM manager requires the combination of three basic elements to be able to execute all its functions: the tags, the triggers and the variables. Let's see them below.

Tags

Tagging means creating an executable code and manually inserting it into each page. The worst thing is that if you misspell the code or insert it in the wrong place, you have to repeat the whole process.

Tags are essential to measure the interaction of users with the functions of a website, to measure the impact of advertising campaigns, to link the website with the social media, to track purchases, etc.

Google Tag Manager includes some pre-programmed tags, although you can create as many as you need. For example, some are:

  • Google Analytics
  • Tracking code
  • Google Ads conversion and remarketing
  • Facebook Pixels

Triggers

Do you think you already know what Google Tag Manager is? Well, you don't. Triggers are conditions that activate (or not) certain tags, depending on the configuration you have chosen.

Triggers are associated with events, such as clicking a button, visiting a certain page, filling out and submitting a contact form, etc. Only the administrator decides how and when the tags are activated and where the information is sent.

Important: triggers are controllable and can be combined. They can be filtered to be activated in certain pages and not in others. Although there are infinite possibilities, the three most common triggers are the following:

  • Clics: a trigger can activate a tag if an element on the web is clicked.
  • Page views: a trigger can activate a tag if a page starts to load or when it is 100% loaded.
  • Interaction: a trigger can activate a tag if a user watches a video, submits a form, listens to a podcast...

It should be noted that triggers can be of two types: trigger type or block type. The former are activated when certain actions are detected while the latter do the opposite, as the tags won’t work if conditions programmed for such blocking are detected.

Variables

Variables are specific conditions defined by the user to achieve some objective. They provide specific information and restrict options to the trigger. Variables offer many opportunities to measure and track, so you need to understand which ones are interesting to track and why.

Variables are key and innovative elements for online marketing, since using them wisely according to a strategy provides more information and connectivity with other platforms and social media.

Advantages and disadvantages of Google Tag Manager

You are about to know 100% what Google Tag Manager is. Now we will see the pros and cons of using GTM.

Advantages of Google Tag Manager

  • Reduces marketing dependency with web development, since you can set the pixels yourself and not have to continually ask the programming team to insert the code on the web.
  • Full integration with Google products (Analytics and Adwords).
  • Integration with third party products.
  • Version control and rollback, with the possibility of returning to a previous version.
  • Asynchronous loading of the tags so that the loading of the website is not slowed down and is faster.
  • Preview before publishing changes with a powerful test environment to perform all configuration validations.
  • It's free.

Disadvantages of Google Tag Manager

  • If the website has implemented tags, it must be re-tagged, that is, migrate all the tags to Google Tag Manager so that they run in the same conditions.
  • For very advanced GTM configurations you must ask a developer to insert the codes to help the tool to capture the information of the web.
  • The implementation and advanced settings are not exactly trivial or cheap.

In short, now that you know what Google Tag Manager is, you can take full advantage of this tool to track and measure almost anything on your website.

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