What is Google Tag Manager? Know Everything About GTM!

Imagine if all your pictures were organized in one huge folder. That huge folder contained sub-folders of images with proper tags, explaining the occasion on which these pictures were captured. Now, you can place every picture because - well, WOW organization!
Google Tag Manager organizes like Monica meme
Well, guess what? Google Tag Manager actually does this - with your data. It is the Monica to your data.

What Is Google Tag Manager?

Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a free tag management system (emphasis on ‘free’) that helps simplify the process of tracking data without creating new codes every time you want to construct a tag (short pieces of code written in JavaScript that perform a specific task on your website). It helps track data such as user activity, site performance, etc.
Google Tag Manager screenshot

Putting GTM into context:

Say you just set up a blogging website for yourself, and now want to start tracking the simplest of metrics about your site that are:
  1. How many are coming to your website?
  2. How long, on average, do people stay on your website?

To answer these questions, you need to put a piece of code on your website that will track this information for you and then pass on the data to Google Analytics, where you will find answers to your questions.

Google tag manager makes this task of inserting codes into your website absolutely simple and lets Google Analytics and your website speak to each other.

It also helps your website speak to various data sources like:

a) Google AdWords: You can understand which google ad campaigns are sending how much traffic to your website and how many conversions are they leading to

b) Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.: You can understand which Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn ad campaigns are sending how much traffic to your website and how many conversions are they leading to

So, Google Tag Manager simplifies the process of making sense of the data as it is a medium that helps transfer data from one data source (your website) to another data source (Google Analytics, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).

But, How Does Google Tag Manager Collect Data?

Simply through its components that are -

Tags

Snippets of code that are used to send data from one data source to another. It can be any data source you use to extract data about your site performance, like Google Analytics, Google AdWords, etc.

For example, below is the screenshot of the types of tags you can link to your GTM account.

Types of Tags in Google Tag Manager

Triggers

Actions that signal the data that is needed to be collected.

For example, For Page View, there is a signal sent that the page-view data needs to be collected when you view the page. In other words, triggers fires when data is to be collected from Page View.

Choosing a Trigger Type in Google Tag Manager

Variables

Circumstances under which data is collected. They are the data points that store values of tags or triggers which can be used to perform a specific task. For instance, When tracking a link click, through variables we can collect data of
  • Web addresses of a page where the click occurred

  • Clicked target URL

Built-in Variables in Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager Vs. Google Analytics

People usually have a teeny-tiny bit of confusion with Google Tag Manager, thinking that it also analyzes data. That’s not correct.

Well, Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics together form a power couple. They are interdependent like any healthy relationship and help each other thrive.

The crucial difference between Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics is that -

Google Tag Manager

Is a tool that helps transfer data to Google Analytics. GTM controls what is to be sent to Google Analytics by deploying and storing the tags and then transferring them to Google Analytics.

The process of adding tags is simpler than you think.

  1. Click on the “add a new tag” option.
Adding a Tag on Google Tag Manager
2. Add a title to your tag. Following this, click anywhere on the tag configuration box. That’ll help you choose a tag type.
Title Your Tag on Google Tag Manager
3. Among the following tag types, you can choose any. For example, we chose “Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration”
Choosing a Tag Type on Google Tag Manager
4. When we choose Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration, you’ll need to input your Web Property ID, that’s in your Google Analytics account. After that, we select the trigger “page view event” as you can see.
Adding a trigger to your Tag
5. Lastly, save your tag. And you’re good to go!

Google Analytics

Is a hub that analyzes the data points, and helps make sense of the data by providing reports by answering questions like -
  • How many people visited your website in the last quarter
  • Which country are these website visitors are from
  • The average time they spent per session
  • How many websites did they visit per session
  • Did they bounce off without performing any action

So, Google Tag Manager organizes data while Google Analytics analyses data.

What Is Google Tag Manager Used for?

If you haven’t already guessed why Google Tag Manager is important, let me let you take you through the different benefits of GTM.

1. Reducing To- And Fro- with Developers:

One painful moment for every digital marketer (if you’re yet to become one, take it as a disclaimer) is the to- and fro- with developers to manage tracking codes or the changes in codes that need to be made to access more accurate data.

With the help of google tag manager, you won’t have to put each code separately every time there arises a need for it (in most cases). Tags will take care of this with just a few clicks, and in turn, a speedy setup process.

That said, you do need the help of developers only when setting up your GTM account and linking it to other data sources. After that, easy peasy, lemon squeezy it is! (author is sorry for the cringe)

Small suggestion: It is still better to somewhat have the technical knowledge to understand how to set up Google Tag Manager.

2. You Manage All Tags in Just One Place:

We’re reiterating this point, but Google Tag Manager demands fame for making our lives easier! GTM stores and controls all of these tags in one place from where you can track each of the tags. So from getting lost in ways to find which code snippet was where, then asking the developer to make the changes, GTM revolutionized tracking of these minor changes through the tags that are all in one place.

3. Google Tag Manager Is Secure:

Google automatically scans tracking codes and HTML tags in the GTM accounts. In case it finds an error in terms of URL, HTML codes, or finds malware, it pauses the account’s activity instantly. It also has double-factor authentication and you can manage who has access to your GTM account.

4. Convenient Data Tracking Through Google Tag Manager:

Though google tag manager helps track a lot of data points, some common events that it helps track are -

Link Clicks

Google Tag Manager also helps track the link clicks. It helps us understand which CTA has a higher click rate, and how to implement changes to the ones which have fewer clicks. This helps track the conversion rates that happen through the link clicks.

Downloads

Google Tag Manager helps track how many downloads there are of a particular PDF or document that a website offers. It also helps keep track of how they’re performing.

Scrolling Behavior

Google Tag Manager helps track how much time is spent against a piece of content, or part of it. Which part receives the most interaction, where visitors stop scrolling. This helps gather insights into what they find useful, and what parts to improve on.

Form Submissions

Some businesses have newsletters to subscribe to, or applications to fill. Google Tag Manager helps track conversion through form submissions.

And that’s it! Now you know how to store all your data in one place once you get started with Google Tag Manager. See you on the other side of mastering to collect data!