What exactly is Google Tag Manager?
Before diving too deep, it’s important to know the basics about Google Tag Manager (GTM) and what the tool does. Think of the Google Tag Manager software as an operating board for your website. It allows you to add different kinds of code (tags) to your website such as Google Analytics tracking codes (UA & GA4), and Google Ads scripts to name a few. With tag manager, you’re able to use as little or as many of these features as you’d like. Oh and the best part about the software, it’s free!
Before GTM, GA tracking codes had to be manually coded onto each page, typically by a web developer or someone with experience writing or implementing code. That said, maintaining and updating what could sometimes turn into hundreds of events would be troublesome. However, Google Tag Manager fixes this issue because all of your tags are kept in a single location (your GTM account) and implemented with a few lines of code in the header and body of your website code.
#1 - All your tags are managed in one place
In the past, all tracking codes were written directly into the source code of the website. This made it very difficult to manage tracking codes across all website pages. In order to make a small modification, the website manager or developer had to: (1) locate all the relevant codes; and (2) update them.
This process is simplified by GTM because all tags are controlled in one location.
#2 - Event Tracking
Event tracking with Google Tag Manager makes tracking simpler than ever. Once you turn on specific triggers in Google Tag Manager, they’ll start listening to specific interactions on a website automatically. There is still some setup needed, but it’s not rocket science. These interactions can be used to activate tracking tags, such as the Google Analytics Event Tag.
Some fundamental events that GTM allows you to track (by default) are based on:
#3 - Security
Security and the potential for a website malfunction are oftentimes two major issues with website maintenance. And with good reason… your business could be seriously impacted if your user data is hacked or if a user is blocked due to errors. Rest assured, GTM won’t completely destroy your website or create any new openings for vulnerabilities in the future.
#4 - Flexibility
The versatility of Google Tag Manager is a game changer. Once installed, you should never need to work with a web developer to make changes to a tag (scripts on your pages). You’ll avoid a ton of headaches, time, and money by doing this. It’s easy to modify and more efficient when executing the activities you set out to do.
#5 - Modernize and future-proof your site
Ideally, you’re already utilizing GTM to monitor analytics on user behavior and site traffic. If you aren’t, it’s never a bad time to get started. The latest industry standard for site tracking (Google Analytics 4) is something you’ll want to upgrade too as soon as possible. The big switch over from Google Analytics (Universal Analytics) to GA4 will be going down in July of 2023.
With GA4 officially here, Tag Manager should be your go-to platform to manage analytics tracking an installation. If you’re interested in learning more about Google Tag Manager, This training resource should provide you with everything you need to know: Google Analytics Academy