Ever since October 2012 when the first iteration of Google’s Tag Manager was launched, people have slowly been waking up to the potential benefits of using this fantastic tool.
We will go into correct implementation and ‘how to’ guides for some of the most common tracking set ups through Tag Manager in future blog posts, so please keep an eye for those.
What we’d like to do in this article is instead go through exactly what Tag Manager is and how it could benefit a business.
Firstly for those of you who aren’t up with the ‘Techy lingo’ here is an explanation of what a Tag is, handily entitled ‘what is a tag?’
So what is a tag?
A tag is a piece of computer code that you place on some or all of your website pages or mobile app pages that will track actions, events and data through 3rd party software (Like Google Analytics).
Your Google Analytics code is a Tag. Your Adwords conversion tracking code is a tag. Your remarketing code, your heat mapping software’s code – All sit within the term ‘Tag.’
Without Tags you are unable to get meaningful reporting and analysis for your website property.
Generally a Tag will go either below the <head> tag or above the final <body> tag,
So what is Google Tag Manager?
Historically whenever you needed to add new tracking tags to your website you either needed to be competent to do it yourself or you had to use a web developer to help you implement all these various things.
All this would be at the cost of time and potentially money. Google’s Tag Manager allows you to do a onetime installation of code on to the pages on your website, then add, amend or change all future tags through your Google Tag Manager interface.
For more information on Tag Manager here’s Google’s official video:
So what are the benefits of using Google Tag Manager?
These are many, but let’s start with some of the more obvious.
- Time Saved
All management of your individual tags and any future alterations are done in one central source. Why is that important? Simply put, what could take a day to implement or change can now be done in an hour. Let’s say that you apply a tag that tracks a conversion on to just one page. Then you want to change the tracking code for a new one or make an alteration to it. If you did this manually then in future you would have to go on to the page s code and remove it, make your changes and then re-apply the conversion code. With Tag Manager you can now make the changes within the interface quickly and cleanly.
- Cost Saving
The logical follow on to this is that if you are not savvy enough to change or implement code/tags on your website then adding or amending tracking in future could be off putting due to the additional costs of hiring developers. With Google Tag Manager this is no longer the case. Once the initial implementation of the tag manager container has been placed on your site then you should be able to make amendments within the tag manager interface yourself.
- More Control
For those who are not web developers you can have greater control over when your tags ‘fire’ (fire means what order they register actions and when specifically they write back the data into your analytics software, be it Google Analytics or a third party piece of software). With Tag manager you can preview changes before implementation meaning you can check whether it is successfully done BEFORE you add it to your site. This helps mitigate any errors and having to redo the same work.
- Deeper Insight
Ever wondered how many people watch that video you have on that one page on your website? How many people click the email link or download that PDF? Tracking individual ‘events’ has never been easier. Using Tag Manager and your Google Analytics account you can now get deeper visibility into what people actually do on your website. Here are just some of the examples of
- Improved Site Speed
The more tags or code you have on a page then potentially the longer it will take to load. Implementing Google Tag Manager could reduce page load speed for sites that use multiple tracking tags.
- Improved website data
For those of you who are not keeping your website and digital activity right up to date with the latest opportunities then Tag Manager can help you implement tracking around all manner of things. Some examples are: Google Analytics, Google Adwords tracking, Remarketing either standard or more complex such as only remarketing to those who have been on a certain page for a certain amount of time for example. Then there are event tracking options like tracking downloads, button clicks, video views and more.
- Integration with existing third part tracking and software
Look at the below screen grab and you can see that there are lots of the more common tags already covered as standard within Tag Manager. Whether its Ad roll, heat mapping software like click tale, googles trusted stores integration and many more, youi can quickly and easily introduce them to your website.
Simply put, if you want more control over your websites data. A more flexible and efficient way of making changes to Tags throughout your website and a way to keep your websites tracking current, then Google Tag Manager may be the best option for you.
Visit the tag manager home page to get started (see the screen shot below). Alternatively to find out more visit Googles Tag Manager information pages here.