What is Google Tag Manager

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what is google tag manager

Google Analytics has been around for quite some time to help you collect, read, analyze, and report your website and mobile-app data in order to tweak and improve your results or monitor how your website is performing. In 2012, however, Google announced the release of a new online product that has proven to be ground-breaking over the years. In this article, I will let you in on what is Google Tag Manager, introduce you to some of Google Tag Manager’s core functions and I will explain in which ways it is different from Google Analytics.

Learn More: Google Analytics for Beginners: Analyzing Your Data

What is Google Tag Manager

A common misconception is that Tag Manager is the same thing, or similar, to Google Analytics. However, Google Tag Manager is a separate and completely different tool.

Google Tag Manager is a user-friendly (and especially dev-friendly) tool that helps you manage different kinds of tags, or “Snippets of JavaScript”, that sends information from your website to third parties. These third parties can be tools such as Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Remarketing, DoubleClick Floodlight, and Facebook Pixel.

To add this so-called JavaScript Snippet that connects a third-party tool to your website, you usually need to recruit the help of a web developer. Google Tag Manager (GTM) makes your life easier by allowing you to skip this step and added cost. Instead of adding a piece of code to every single page on your website, you can now use the GTM interface to decide what piece of code needs to fire and on what page or what action.

Google Tag Manager consists of the following three main parts:

  1. Tag: A snippet of code, usually JavaScript, that needs to be added to a page.
  2. Triggers: Defines when and where tags are to be executed.
  3. Variables: Used to receive or store information to be used by tags and triggers.

what is google tag manager

Before Google Tag Manager, the JavaScript code on your website or mobile app had to be hard-coded, as mentioned before, usually with the help of a web developer. Depending on how busy your developer is, they may slow you down as they may not prioritize the installation of these snippets of codes. This means you are waiting in line and that you may not be able to continue with your project as planned. GTM allows you to be independent.

Are Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics the same thing?

Google Analytics and GTM are two completely different tools – you can use them completely independent of each other, but you can also use them in conjunction, which in turn can prove to be very useful for you. Google loves Google,  so it’s obvious that the two tools should work smoothly together.

You can, for example, use GTM to send different pieces of data to Google Analytics, such as page views and events, instead of adding a piece of code manually on all pages you are interested in. Let’s say that you want to track how many people downloaded your free e-book on different yoga techniques. The information you’d most likely be interested in is:  how many people downloaded the file, and on what page the user downloaded the file.  Google Tag Manager allows you to set up a Click Trigger and a Google Analytics tag to track this data instantly, without having to add separate pieces of JavaScript on your pages.

If you are familiar with creating and tracking events and data in Google Analytics, you can most likely imagine why this tool is so incredibly powerful.

How much does Google Tag Manager cost?

Unlike other Tag Manager systems such as the Adobe Tag Manager, GTM is completely Free!

Advantages of Google Tag Manager

The advantages of Google Tag Manager are endless.

  • Independence: Google Tag Manager allows you to be independent of a web development team
  • Track powerful and useful data in a shorter amount of time
  • Built-in debug options, error checking, version controls, and more: easily take control of your website without making mistakes.
  • Works seamlessly together with Google Analytics, allowing you to track and analyze your data more efficiently.

I am really curious what you guys think about Google Tag Manager and about your experiences. Have you delved this far into your data to set the stage for data-driven marketing? This tool is incredibly powerful, especially for e-commerce marketers. Let me know in the comments below if you’d like to go more in-depth on Google Tag Manager.

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2 Comments

  1. Hello!

    I am just really confused about Google Tag Manager. It’s asking for a tracking code? I’m not sure where to get that or how. I haven’t set up Google analytics yet, so is that something I need to do first? And once I do create tags, how do I know they are working on my website?

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