Google Tag Manager 101

Web analytics and conversion tracking are the backbone of doing business on the internet. You can have all the followers in the world, a big list, a fancy shopping cart and the sweetest landing pages that money can buy...but if you're not measuring what happens when traffic comes to your website then you're operating in the dark with both arms tied behind your back!

This is where Google Tag Manager comes in.

It's a great free tool from Google that allows you to collect and consolidate all of the third-party tracking scripts (like the Facebook pixel) along with Google products like Google Analytics, Google Adwords, Google Search Console and add them to your website and manage them from within a Google Tag Manager dashboard for your website.

While Google created Tag Manager to make things easier for marketers and website owners who don't happen to be web developers, there is still a bit of a learning curve to getting it to work on your site. But should you even bother? Is Google Tag Manager even right for you? Is it too advanced?

I put together an overview on Google Tag Manager that you can check out to spell out what GTM is, what it does and why you should be using it.

I also share a great (free) resource that can help you to take these fundamental concepts further so that you can launch your first Google Tag Manager dashboard and get your website all hooked up later today if you want.​

Click below to view the full transcript

Hey, it’s Mike from employeeexitplan.com and today we are going to be talking about Google Tag Manager: what it is and why you should start using it asap on your website.

​Jumping right on into it: why do you want Google Tag Manager on your website?

Why Google Tag Manager?

If you want to measure conversions from any type of advertisement that you do, then Google Tag Manager can help you with that.

If you want to not have to update your website directly all the time, when it comes to updating scripts, removing them, enabling them etc. Google Tag Manager can help you with that.

And if you want to revert changes asap without logging into your site (for instance when you install a script and everything goes wonky then you don’t want to have to log into your site to find a backup to restore it) then Google Tag Manager can help you with that, particularly when it comes to the scripts that you put inside of the Google Tag Manager container.

Having said all that, what exactly is a Google Tag Manager? I am going to try my best to explain that to you now.

What is a Container?

They call the Google Tag Manager a “container” which you put on your site only once. Once this container exists on your site you can put anything you want inside and turn it on or off accordingly. Let me give you an illustration of what I am talking about.

What is a Container?

They call the Google Tag Manager a “container” which you put on your site only once. Once this container exists on your site you can put anything you want inside and turn it on or off accordingly. Let me give you an illustration of what I am talking about.

This is an example of a container.

You get a Google Tag Manager code that you put on your website, sort of like you would for Google Analytics ; and the difference with the Google Tag Manager is that this container/outline code goes onto your website and it allows you to track, enable or disable anything inside the container. I just put some random examples in here, so here’s your Facebook pixel, or some retargeting going on with Adroll, Google Search Console that you want to integrate with your websites and verify it with Google, Google Analytics to have web analytics tracking your website, Twitter – Linkedin – Adword advertising with ability to track conversions on all these.

So you would create a Google Tag Manager account and you would get the code from each of these respective websites. For the Facebook pixel you need a code; for Adroll or Twitter or LinkedIn or Adwords they would give you conversion scripts that you need to put onto your website; for Google Analytics you get a script as well.

You need to put these codes or scripts inside your Google Tag Manager and that gets added to your website once and saved. You don’t have to do anything else. If you decide you don’t want to use Google Adwords anymore, you can just disable or remove it without having to log into your website and find the code and move it from the theme. Instead you just come to your Google Tag Manager account and disable the feature.

So it is very powerful, flexible, allowing you to make updated without having to go into your website to do them. When I say the Google Tag Manager is a “container”, this is what I mean: the code that contains all the other codes or scripts that are needed to track your advertising or web analytics on your website.

It’s a piece of code that holds all the other pieces of codes that I have shown in the previous example. You can use it to control your conversion scripts.

You basically install the script inside of Google Tag Manager and then you configure a trigger that tells the script when to fire; so you can turn things on and off very easily. You can set it to “listen” for events on your site, or listen and not fire unless someone clicks a certain button or downloads a certain file on your website. This way you can create customized events.

The Google Tag Manager is free from Google! If you’ve got a Youtube, Adword or Gmail account, then congratulations because you’ve got a Google Tag Manager account.

You just have to log in with your Google credentials and you can start building your first Google Tag Manager dashboard right away!!

How To Use Google Tag Manager

How to further use Google Tag Manager? First off is the code: you need to have the code on all the pages of your website. You can either do this manually or if you use WordPress there are plugins for it. Some plugins are better than others and I will be sharing that later.

You need to verify that the tags are present on your site and there is a handy little chrome extension that you can use for this, called Tag Assistant that can show you which tags are firing on your website.

Once you have it in place, you just need to add whatever other scripts you need to use inside that container and you are good to go. Even if you don’t want to add anything in there right now, you can just put the container script onto your site and, down the road, whenever you are ready to use Adwords, for example, you can just put it into your Tag Manager dashboard and take it from there. It will be all ready for you to go.

The Google Tag Manager Dashboard

If you want to get a Google Tag Manager account, you would just go to Google.com/tagmanager and, as I was saying earlier, it is the same login that I would use for your other Google products, assuming that you already signed up for Gmail or something like that then you can set up a dashboard for your website.

So basically put in the URL, give it a name and you are good to go from there.

Once you have a dashboard you can invite other people, whether it is employees or contractors or agency members, you can set all of that up. Inside the dashboard, you start building your triggers and scripts, which is the next section.

Once The Scripts Have Been Added To Your Website

The scripts are present on your sites. That’s the code that needs to be added to your site, such as Google web analytics or conversions scripts. But then you set a trigger that tells the scripts when to do their jobs, telling them when to fire.

For instance, if I have Adwords conversion tracking on a download page then I want only to fire after somebody has made a purchase and landed on a thank you page. So, I would have the conversion code on the site, but it would fire if it was on the thank you page.

For every script you install, there is a basic rule of thumb: you need to have a trigger to actually initiate the script. In other words, you need the trigger to tell the script when to do its job.

Google Tag Manager Questions

Here are some questions about Google Tag Manager : say, you aren’t a techy and all the scripts and containers and things are over your head.

Well, it’s not really all that tough. If you’ve installed Google analytics, it’s very similar and slightly more difficult. If you have a couple of minutes to wrap your head around the concept of a container and triggers, that can get you quite far. If you don’t have an account, it is very simple: if you don’t have a Google/Youtube or Gmail account, it is free and doesn’t cost you anything.

What if You’re Baffled by Google Tag Manager

If you are baffled and confused by Tag Manager, but you want to have an easy way to add and remove scripts from your site remotely, then just stay tuned and I will give you some opportunities for further training on this.

What If You Can’t Place The Google Tag Manager Container On Your Website

If you can’t place the container yourself, it depends on whether you have direct access to the website but you are not sure, then myself or someone else in web development can probably help you out with it. Otherwise, if you are just not sure, you can get someone to do that for you.

The good news is that you just have to do it once and that’s it!

If you are worried about having a website that is very high traffic, or its ecommerce, the great thing about Google Tag Manager is that it has the ability to roll back changes. So, if you’ve installed a certain script on your website and for some reason your website was broken and it wasn’t working the right way, you can go back into the Tag Manager and just undo it without having to log in to the website.

How cool is that? That is one of the coolest things about the Google Tag Manager.

Google Tag Manager Next Steps

What’s next? Go and sign up for a Google Tag Manager account now and place the container code on your site. Start putting in all your conversion codes and your web analytics, at the very least.

If you are not doing paid advertising but you are using Google analytics, then switch over to embed it to your Google Tag Manager account.

Just make sure if you have Google analytics hard coded into your website, you remove that first. If you are still stuck, you can register for training whenever you are watching this from.

I will upload a link for further Google Tag Manager training for deep diving into the fundamentals that you need to know. It’s going to be 80-20 with 20% of the stuff that’s gonna do the 80% of what you need to run your website effectively.

So thanks for checking us out. My name’s Mike from Employee Exit Plan. Talk to you later.

Additional Resources

Learn Google Tag Manager – MeasureSchool.com.

This is a great free course that teaches you the fundamentals behind Google Tag Manager over 5 days. Or, you can dive in and go through all the training inside an hour. It’s up to you.

[Access the course here: https://measureschool.com/ and scroll down to the “Learn Google Tag Manager” course and click “Start Learning!”.]

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Mike
 

Mike focuses on the "Holy Trinity" of online marketing - Email, Memberships and Automation. He leans on ActiveCampaign, ActiveMember360 and ThriveThemes to build his platforms, memberships, communicate with prospects and customers while automating everything else.

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