By Paul

What is Google Tag Manager?

Isn’t the Google Analytics tracking code the same as what Google Tag Manager (GTM) does? That’s what I thought when I first heard about GTM. I was excited to learn that this free service goes beyond tracking website data with Google Analytics.

You can connect Google Ads campaigns, 3rd-party cross domain tracking (like when your visitor leaves to pay through your payment gateways and returns to your site during checkout), Twitter tracking code, Facebook Pixel, and more. Not only that, you can even vary what your tracking without have to contact your developer!

Why should I use it?

TL:DR It’ll save you money, and give you freedom to make data tracking changes on the fly to suit your business.

Save Money

If you’re familiar with Google Analytics (GA), you’d know that there’s a JavaScript code placed on your site to send tracking data back to your GA account. Suppose you create new a user interaction event, like a button click, in GA that you want to trigger on your site. You or your developer would have to setup another JavaScript tracking code, so that it can watch for that event. Now suppose after a few weeks of data collection, a new content change is made to improve that button click, but results in the original tracking code outdated and not is not tracking that event. Changes like this can become costly, but in an ever evolving online market, you need to stay relevant, up-to-date and roll with the punches.

Lean code = faster load speed

To do this, Google Tag Manager uses a tracking code similar to Google Analytics, but the difference is, GTM’s code is a conduit to which all other tags or tracking codes will enter your site. You’ll only need to include one tracking tag, and manage the multiple other services you need to track, through the GTM web interface. This also means leaner code lives on your website so it’ll load faster (how much really depends on what else is on your site, but every byte counts!).

Be safe and secure

You might be thinking, “wow, I’ve been waiting for something like this. This is a really powerful tool!” and it is. However, with that added convenience of changing the tags used to monitor your site, it also means you need to take extra care when sharing access to your Google Tag Manager account. Be sure to limit user access and publishing access to your account and/or property that you’re managing. Also a good step is to activate 2-Factor Authentication and get notified before a change goes live.

Where can I learn how to use Google’s Tag Manager?

The beauty is that Google has tutorials to get you started. They’ve also paired them with a digital certificate that you can then add to your personal profile, if you’re working for a business that values those credentials.