In this article, you will find out what Google Tag Manager is, what it is for, how to configure it, what its most important advantages are, and some usage tips that will surely be very useful to you.
What is GTM?
If you are wondering what Google Tag Manager is, the best answer is given by the same platform when it tells us that it is a “Tag Management System” (TMS, Tag Manager System).
Its function, then, is the same as that of a CMS, but it also provides you with an interface in which all the tags that the site needs can be created, configured and tracked.
Thus, it is no longer necessary to write each label manually in a code, but through this interface they can be done in a simple and intuitive way.
What are tags in GTM?
But… What are the labels? These are small lines of code that are inserted into the configuration of our site to collect specific information, such as the time spent, the number of scrolls, the number of clicks…
Therefore, if we were not using GTM, we would have to add each tag manually.
Google Tag Manager: What is it for?
GTM allows you to manage data collection codes. Thus, we only have to manually add the first one, that of Google Tag Manager. From then on, all tags will be configured from the interface.
This means that after you have installed Google Tag Manager on your website, all the tags that you want to configure will be done from there and will be implemented automatically, which reduces the possibility of errors.
Google Tag Manager: How does it work?
All platforms have their own vocabulary that you must familiarize yourself with in order to use it quickly and effectively. Therefore, here we will explain the three basic concepts that will help us answer the question, what is Google Tag Manager?: tags, triggers (or activators) and variables.
Tags Google Tag Manager
Tags, in very simple words, are code snippets.
For example, Google Analytics uses tags to collect information on user behavior on websites. Google Tag Manager allows you to manipulate tags easily, without having to write code.
Something important to note is that these tags are NOT the same as those that web developers talk about, which are called HTML code tags that are used to code the sites.
Google Tag Manager Triggers
When there is a tag within a code, it is activated in response to a specific thing, an event within this website.
That event is called a “trigger”. What it does is it listens to the site and waits for these events to occur, such as clicks, form fills, or page views. And there they notify the tags to activate.
Each activator can carry filters, so that they only activate the tags in certain, increasingly specific cases.
Tag Manager Variables
Variables in Google Tag Manager are values that define precisely what a tag or trigger should do.
For triggers, variables tell you when to tell the tag to fire, while for tags, variables define what exact data to collect.
How to use Google Tag Manager?
Let’s now see what are the most important steps to follow when using Google Tag Manager.
After creating the account, what we must do is follow the step by step to configure the container, which are two codes that must be added (head and body).
Depending on the CMS that is being used, these two codes may already be configured natively, so it will only be necessary to add the ID for the CMS to do the rest of the work.
How to make a tag or label?
After the account is already configured, we must begin to create all the tags that we want Google Tag Manager to add on the web.
It is done as follows:
Click on “Add new label”.
Put a name and choose an activator.
Keep the label.
The labels only work on the web after we publish them, but there is a way to check that they have been created correctly before publishing them. For this, we must enter the “Preview” section.
Built-in variables are all those that Google Tag Manager can define automatically, as it detects recognizable code snippets.
These are the most common ones that are related to clicks or pages and can be added in the “Variables” area.
User Defined Variables
Custom variables use whatever value we decide, which can be numeric, the name of a string, or a group of URLs. Otherwise, it is installed the same as the other variables.
Advantages of Google Tag Manager
Here we tell you what are the three great advantages of using GTM:
Simplified tag management: GTM provides an easy-to-use graphical interface that allows users to add and manage tags without the need to modify the website’s source code. This can save time and resources by allowing users to update and add tags more efficiently.
Flexibility and customization: GTM allows users to add custom tags and third-party code snippets, allowing them to track and analyze user behavior on their website more effectively. In addition, GTM offers a wide variety of predefined templates for common tags, making them easy to implement.
Improved website performance: Using GTM to manage tags reduces the amount of code that runs on your website, which can improve site performance and reduce page load times. Additionally, GTM’s advanced settings allow users to add tags asynchronously, which can further reduce the impact on site performance.
Tag Manager Extensions
There are two Google Chrome extensions that will help us make this process much easier: Tag Assistant and GTM Debug.
Tag Assistant and GTM Debug are diagnostic and troubleshooting tools provided by Google to help Google Tag Manager users verify if their tags are working correctly and troubleshoot implementation issues.
Tag Assistant: It is a free Google Chrome extension used to check whether Google tags (eg Google Analytics, Google Ads, etc.) are correctly implemented on a website. Its performs a series of checks to ensure tags are configured correctly and provides detailed reports so users can identify and fix deployment issues.
GTM Debug: It is a built-in feature of Google Tag Manager that allows users to see detailed information about how their tags are running. GTM Debug shows the sequence of tags being executed on a page, allowing users to check if the tags are firing at the right time and with the correct information. In addition, GTM Debug also displays detailed debugging information, such as syntax errors or configuration issues, making it easy to troubleshoot.