What Is Google Tag Manager?

May 2, 2019 | Google Analytics

Google Tag Manager is a user-friendly tool for site owners to measure most on-site activities, automatically reporting data to a number of platforms.

Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager is a user-friendly tool for site owners to measure the performance of their online assets, automatically reporting data to a number of platforms, such as Google Analytics.

The ability to utilize data, collected accurately and without delay, is a major differentiator between amateur marketers – people who might have great ideas but completely miss the mark on strategy – and professionals. Pros: those are the marketers who map, measure, and analyze every action to drive profitable return.

Understanding Tags

Before we understand Google Tag Manager, we need to understand “tags.” Tags are pieces of code that dictate specific responses as a result of a user’s action on your site. This technology has existed for a long time.

Google Tag Manager is particularly useful in that it provides site owners and managers who don’t have advanced coding experience a user-friendly tool for creating code, or tags, that help track a wide variety of on-site events.

Even more helpful, the code generated by Google Tag Manager does not interfere with your site’s source code. That means your site doesn’t break if the tag contains an error. The only drawback is that your data fails to report to the chosen platform.

The data reported by Google Tag Manager is so robust as to be nearly unlimited. Tags can be created to track both behaviors and events. File downloads, scroll depth, shopping cart item or dollar thresholds, heat maps, and clicks are just a small sample of trackable actions. When tags are set up properly, and the specified conditions are met, then a tag is “triggered.”

How Triggering Works

Google Tag Manager is a superior tag management tool because of the way it structures triggers. Some other tools unnecessarily tether their triggers to one another in a sequential order. When an event occurs out of the expected order, then the trigger either fails to fire, or the site slows down as the site “searches” and waits for these other non-existent events.

Obviously, this can have a catastrophic effect on user experience – anything that diminishes the speed of your site is going to increase the likelihood that visitors leave before they take an action that’s profitable to you.

Google Tag Manager defaults to a non-sequential firing structure, and it even allows users to manually configure firing priorities.

But let’s move out for a higher-level view – more forest, less trees.

Benefits of GTM

The main benefit of Google Tag Manager is that it empowers site owners and marketers to track almost anything on a website, Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP), or mobile application with minimal input from a developer.

This is especially useful if you are regularly updating your digital properties – posting new whitepapers, adding new landing pages – and need to track performance of those features without worrying about impacting the site’s source code.

Google Tag Manager makes this possible through its structure of tags and containers. Just update and publish a tag in the Tag Manager interface, and it automatically updates to all the sites using that tag’s container. This is a process that can be learned relatively quickly through Google’s user-friendly interface. It puts a lot of power into the hands of your marketing team.

Of course, an ideal situation is when your marketing and web development units are fully integrated. A full-service digital agency can address your business needs holistically, providing you with flexible digital tools that empower you to selectively control tags and more when it suits your needs.

Informatics is that agency, with over twenty years of experience in creating integrated web solutions. Contact our team if you’re ready to take control of your web presence and harness the power of analytics and strategy.