Five Things Every Marketer Should Know About Google Tag Manager

Even for the most passionate search marketers, Google Tag Manager (GTM) is low on the list of topics to get excited about. But I think you’ll be glad you invested a few minutes on this topic. After all, GTM is a marketing-friendly tool that speeds up the marketing process, reduces the need for IT involvement and is an ideal way to implement Universal Analytics. What’s not to like about a tool that helps make our lives easier?

Let’s get to it. Here are the five things you should know:

1)     It’s kind of a big deal. Sure GTM is just a tag, technically a snippet of JavaScript, similar to the Google Analytics tag or other tracking tags that it contains. So why is it so valuable? Because once it’s in place, marketers can independently control many of the marketing technology tags crucial to digital marketing. Need more proof? Even though it’s free, Google has invested in a little design time to make it look and feel easy and important.



2)     It can manage most marketing technology tags. GTM has templates for the Google and DoubleClick tags you’d expect (AdWords, GA, Universal Analytics, DCLK Floodlight, GDN remarketing, etc.), as well as for other prominent tags (comScore, Mediaplex, AdRoll, Turn, Marin, ClickTale, Bizo, etc.). Plus, you can implement custom tags, which should allow you to copy and paste code from other tags. But you need to know that there are a list of tags that aren’t supported, primarily A/B tags, social sharing widgets and those that need to be in the header or footer.

3)     It’s easy to use. Implementing GTM is very easy. Simply log into the Google account associated with your site, go to the GTM homepage and click on the “sign up now” button. At the end of the simple three-step signup process, you’ll have the container (GTM tag) that your IT group will need to add to each page on your site. Once this is in place, you can work from the intuitive interface to add your tags.

4)     It makes it easier to use Universal Analytics. All Google Analytics accounts will eventually be migrated to Universal Analytics (UA). This is a good thing, as UA offers new and more powerful features such as custom dimensions and metrics. Interestingly enough, Google recommends using GTM to implement UA, since  it allows UA users to make changes within the GTM interface. While many features of Universal Analytics still require IT involvement, a marketer can turn on features such as event tracking right in the GTM interface.

5)     Crawl before you walk. GTM is a pretty powerful tool. You can add whatever custom HTML you want within the custom tag functionality. Start with the template tags and make sure to solicit input from IT when beginning to use custom tags. We’ve heard that some organizations are limiting access to GTM to the IT department because of problems associated with custom tags. This defeats the purpose, so be careful and make sure to use the integrated Debug Console to test tags before launching.

Google Tag Manager is a beneficial new option for marketers. Managing marketing technology tags has never been easier and the features of GTM should remove friction from the pixel/tag update process. As with any new, powerful tool, be careful to test tags before launching them, as problems can occur.

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