By Jessica Davidson
Dec 13, 2012
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Between Google AdWords conversion tracking code, Google Analytics code, and Google Remarketing code, we often find ourselves and our websites swimming in a sea of tracking code. It can sometimes be a daunting process working back and forth between the marketing and IT teams to ensure that everything is being properly tracked. But what if there was a tool that could ease the management of all of the various types of tracking code that we put on our websites? Well, you’re in luck, in October, Google released its Google Tag Manager that does just that.
What is Google Tag Manager?
Google Tag Manager is a free tool that combines all of the tracking code tags that you utilize on your website into a single, concise piece of code. This code signals to the Google Tag Manager to fire certain tracking code depending on the tags and rules you define in the interface. Now, instead of having three or four different sets of tracking code per page, there is just one piece of code that can fire various types of tags depending on the rules you set.
How Google Tag Manager Works
Google Tag Manager contains 3 main components:
In order to employ the various tracking code needed for your website, a single piece of code must be added. This piece of code is called the container. The container holds all of the tags for your website. You can access the container code once you set up your Google Tag Manager account. The container code is placed on every page of your website after the opening <body> tag. Once you have added the container code snippet, remove all of the old tracking code, like Google Analytics and AdWords conversion tracking code, which you will be adding and managing via Google Tag Manager.
The container that you first add to your website will be empty, therefore, the next component that needs to be added is the various tracking code tags. The tags you remove from your website in place of the Google Tag Manager container will need to be added during this step.
You can choose from various built-in tag templates in Google Tag Manager, which include:
Next, you must set up rules to define when the tags should be fired. Setting up rules in Google Tag Manager is similar to setting up goals in Google Analytics. Google Tag Manager supports the following types of rules:
By creating and managing various tags and rules yourself, it is imperative that they act and track as intended. For this purpose, Google Tag Manager provides the Debug Console. In the Preview & Debug Mode, as you visit different pages on your website, a window at the bottom of the browser appears that displays whether or not each tag is fired.
Once you have created your container, tags, and rules and ensured that the tags fire correctly, make sure you publish the version of the tags created. Although this may seem to be common sense, it is often overlooked and users believe that tracking begins once the tags are created. With that being said, make sure you hit the publish button when you are ready for your tags to go live.
So, should you consider utilizing Google Tag Manager to manage your website’s various tracking code? Consider the following pros and cons before moving forward with its implementation.
Google Tag Manager Pros
Google Tag Manager Cons
For more information about Google Tag Manager, check out their recent webinar about the new tool.
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