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Google Tag Manager 101: How GTM can help your business

Google Tag Manager allows you to deploy tags to perform certain functions like tracking page views and button clicks. Learn how to use GTM in this guide.

Google Tag Manager, also known as GTM, is a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes and niches. But what is a Google Tag Manager, and how can your business make good use of GTM? These questions and more will be answered in this comprehensive guide.

Below, you’ll find insights into how business owners and management teams can better understand Google Tag Manager to make better use of analytics to make informed decisions when it comes to managing their websites.

Taking it a step further, we will also reveal tips for implementing and operating Google Tag Manager on your company's website to help with conversion tracking, creating marketing campaigns, and more. Whether you’re running your website yourself or working with web developers, use this guide to make the most out of GTM.

Google Tag Manager (GTM) definition

What is Google Tag Manager?

In simple terms, Google Tag Manager is a tag management system. When using a tag management system, you select which tags you want to be loaded onto your website. Tags are a set of instructions that provide information about a web page to a web browser. These snippets of code or tracking pixels tell a website how to perform certain functions, such as how to display an image or load the template structure a web page is using. When creating tags, you decide where, when, and how you want them to load in conjunction with your website builder. Then, without having to code anything, you publish the website with the tags incorporated into the website itself.

Google Tag Manager functions as one of these tag management systems. It is a tool built for marketers with the idea of gaining maximum productivity and for use with analytical tasks. One of the primary benefits of GTM is that you don’t need a background in coding that would come from a computer science or web development degree. Instead, GTM does the coding for you, so you can ensure your website loads how you want it to. However, Google Tag Manager does require some baseline technical knowledge that can be self-taught from online courses and resources.

What Google Tag Manager is NOT

Before we continue with this guide, we must stress what GTM is not. Many people confuse Google Tag Manager with Google Analytics. While it is true that some of the tags from Google Analytics are examples of tags that can be managed through GTM, Google Analytics itself is a completely different tool. The primary purpose of this feature is to track and store data, in addition to allowing the user to generate reports based on the data.

In contrast, knowing what Google Tag Manager is can help you to make sense of the data from the outset by providing applicable parameters for your website. This means that GTM can help you to obtain the data you need in order to perform Google Analytics tasks.

Understanding GTM terminology

In order for this guide to make sense, it is important to have a strong understanding of some of the terminology associated with Google Tag Manager. The following are some basic terms and definitions that are used within the realm of Google Tag Manager:

  • Tags: In connection with GTM, tags are pieces of javascript or tracking pixels that get added to your website. These tracking codes come from third parties, with examples including Facebook pixels and Adwords conversion tracking code.
  • Triggers: Triggers are built-in rules that tell Google Tag Manager when to use that tag. GTM uses these sets of parameters to determine when and when not to fire a particular tag, such as page views and form submissions.
  • Variables: Variables are a piece of information you would like to be referenced in your tags and triggers. GTM includes a lot of variables. Examples would be a page URL, a target URL, or a click class. A variable would be incorporated into the Google Tag Manager by you according to your specific needs.
  • Containers: Containers are what hold a group of tags, triggers, and variables within your website. Container script tags are used by you to install Google Tag Manager on your website.
  • Version: This is the mechanism that represents a set of changes to the above-defined features. Whenever you change something in a GTM and publish it on your website, you create a newer version. This helps you stay organized.
  • Operator: This is an essential part of Google Tag Manager. An operator is what defines the relationship between a value and a variable. You need this in order to determine when a trigger fires and other necessary components of GTM.
  • Cookie: This is a variable for which you specify a particular name. When invoked, the user can decide whether or not to allow cookies associated with this website to be used. It is important to note that if the user declines permission for the cookies of that website, they can be denied access to any information on that site. It is a popular thing with a website from an online store, amongst other examples.
  • Adwords Remarketing Tag: This is a type of tag that enables you to install a correlating remarketing code on your website. When you use this tag type, people who visit your website will see ads. There is typically an action on the part of the viewer that causes the ads to show up.
  • AMP: This is the abbreviation for Accelerated Mobile Page. That is a version of your website that is stripped down in order to facilitate use on a visitor's mobile device. It can be viewed as a reinvented version of HTML.

Why should you use GTM for your business?

After learning about the ins and outs of GTM, you may be wondering how Google Tag Manager can help your business. Below are some of the top benefits businesses can enjoy when using GTM.

  • GTM will make your website landing pages stand out from your competitors.
  • All tags can be managed in one place rather than from multiple, improving organization.
  • All tracking codes can be deployed quickly and efficiently.
  • You will have many testing tools at your disposal.
  • Your container templates can be reused.
  • There are no fees associated with GTM
  • It is easy to perform event tracking.
  • You can create tag templates.
  • Easily manage versions, workspaces, and environments.
  • Enhanced security features are possible with GTM.
  • You can manage your permission levels for your website.
  • You can become part of a friendly and helpful online community to help you grow.
Metrics you can track with Google Tag Manager

What can Google Tag Manager track?

In reality, GTM is able to track a multitude of metrics associated with having a superb website. Not only can you easily deploy code, but with GTM, these are easy tasks to accomplish. Tasks such as managing tags will now be much easier, and you can perform tasks, such as customizing data sent to Google Analytics, to view metrics like page views and the number of downloads of a certain asset.

Scrolling Behavior

With Google Tag Manager, you can gain insights into the behavior of visitors who scroll through your website. Determine what they are looking for and if they are satisfied with their results. It is also possible to get an idea of the conversion rate of your visitors after they have scrolled through your website.

An example of this would be a visitor to an online store. With the above-mentioned activity, the host of that website can see if they scrolled to the bottom of the page or stopped halfway through and exited out. You’ll also be able to tell if the visitor ordered any of the products or services they looked at and made a purchase. With this information on hand, website owners can better understand customer behavior and make any necessary changes to guide visitors through the sales funnel.

Event tracking

Utilizing the trigger configurations when responding to fire tags is entirely feasible. You would do this by setting up event tags and responding to visitors who click on specific links. What this does is tell the host of the website what is popular with visitors.

This sort of activity is prevalent among e-commerce sites. You can see what they went on to purchase as well as what they did not. As the host of this website, you can report to upper management what is not valuable on the site and make adjustments. With event tracking, you can also collect data on metrics such as the number of outbound links clicked, PDFs downloaded, and the number of times visitors clicked buttons like CTAs.

Shopping cart abandonment

When GTM is created properly for an e-commerce or other consumer-oriented website, there can be an onsite toggle switch that enables you to find out how often visitors abandon their shopping cart. Does it happen often? Is it occurring amongst the same shoppers or a wide array of shoppers?

Once you gather this information, it should be possible to deduce and prove the reasons for this. It might be that the check-out process on the website is too complicated. Or, perhaps, the system fails to accept a number of payment methods in an erroneous fashion. These are all things the business owner can correct with the appropriate tags embedded on their website.

Conversion tracking

Conversion tracking is important to know if you design websites for service-oriented businesses. Whether it is your services or products you want to know about, GTM can help you find these numbers. There are numerous ways it can do that.

An example of this function would be the website of a carpet cleaning service. With GTM, you can keep track of what your visitors find when they scroll, as well as if they go on to schedule an appointment or make a purchase. The codes to manage tags are easy, and the changes appear quickly on the site.

Video views tracking

When creating landing pages, it’s important to catch your viewers’ attention to keep them on the page. Embedding videos is a great tactic to do this. However, unlike YouTube or social media platforms, websites don’t have the ability to provide video metrics, such as video views.

If your website has a video embedded on a page, you can use a third-party tag with Google Tag Manager to track the number of views a video gets. You can also use tags to see how far visitors have watched your video, such as halfway through or fully finishing the video. With video view information on hand, you can determine what videos perform well and which don’t. You can then better understand why some videos perform better than others and retarget your marketing strategies to build off the strategies that are working.

Form submissions

Google Tag Manager also has a form submission trigger that allows you to fire a tag when a website visitor fills out and completes a form. This is a helpful tag, as it allows website owners to get notified when a visitor completes a form, such as signing up for a newsletter, RSVPing to an event, and so forth. However, it’s important to note that many forms are coded differently, which means one tag might work for one type of form, while that same tag might not work for the other. When creating tags for form submissions, it will require some trial and error to ensure viewer responses are accurately recorded.

How to set up Google Tag Manager (GTM) on your website

How to set up your website with Google Tag Manager

Whether you purchase a domain to start a website or have a pre-existing website, you can use Google Tag Manager to help your website perform the functions it needs to. Below, we outline the steps to help you install Google Tag Manager to start deploying tags. Here’s how to get started:

1. Create a tag manager account

The first step is creating a Google Tag Manager account. To do so, follow these steps:

  • Go to the Google Tag Manager homepage.
  • Click on "sign in," which is on the top right-hand corner of the page.
  • Click on Google Tag Manager.
  • Select "add a new account," then follow the prompts on the screen.
  • Now, set up your container.
  • You should now see the terms of agreement on your screen. Read through these, then click on "accept." Please note that if you fail to accept the terms, you will not be permitted to continue.
  • Click “OK” to finish.

Adding tags to your website

Once you’ve created your Google Tag Manager account, you can start adding tags to your website. To add tags, follow these steps:

  • On your GTM dashboard, follow all prompts to create a new tag.
  • Perform all tag configurations when prompted to on your screen.
  • Select a tag type
  • Link that tag to the Google Analytics tracking system.
  • Select a trigger to tell you when the tag is recorded.
  • Save your tag when prompted.
  • Now activate your tag by clicking on "Submit."
  • Add a name and a description to all tags to keep them organized.
  • Make sure your tag shows up in your "version summary report."

3. Set up Google Adwords

Some of the most popular tags are from Google Ads. To set up Google Ads with Google Tag Manager, follow these steps:

  • In a separate window, go to your Google Ads account.
  • Grab your conversion ID and its label.
  • Click on the icon for Tools. It will be on the top menu, then select conversions.
  • Either click on an existing conversion or create a completely new one. This will be what you edit.
  • Go to the Tag Setup section and review the instructions.
  • Choose the prompts to connect to your Google Tag Manager account.

Final Notes

Google Tag Manager is a crucial tool in today's world, which is ripe with statistics. Many top-level managers in any size company want statistical details in front of them in order to make important decisions. Having GTM on your side makes a significant difference in easily collecting data, such as page views, outbound link clicks, and more.

No matter the field your company is in or its size, the Google Tag Manager system can help you immensely. At Mailchimp, you can create a website for your business and start implementing tags to collect data today. With email tags and an easy website builder, you can start optimizing your marketing strategies backed by data.

Mailchimp makes it easy to get your website up and running. With an intuitive drag-and-drop feature, you can design your website to perfectly match your brand and improve user experience. Once your website is up and running, you can set up your Google Analytics tag to start collecting data to make informed marketing decisions and strategies.

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