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6 Awesome GTM built-in work-tools


This has been a slow week in terms of advancing in my mini degree in Convertion Rate Optimization. Mostly because there where many non-planned emergencies around actually getting to the courses, but also because when learning the practical aspects of tools like Google Tag Manager, it is in the practice of the step-by-step guidance (From Chris Mercer) that you truly acquire the skill set and gain enough comfort in the práctical applications of GTM to truly internalize the tool. So what can you do with GTM? (Please make sure you review introduction to Google Tag Manager, why is it important) before reading this part.

1. Preview Mode

Preview mode allows to test on “live environments” if data is being captured correctly, if triggers are firing correctly and if the general objective of your tag is happening. 0 space for mistakes, GTM is a tool that allows you to verify.

2. Built in variables:

GTM Built in variables are pieces of elements that have been interacted with by the user that can be recorded by GTM and used as events in GA or as triggers for other optimization processes, like retargeting definitions. 

  • Click Classes: The string value of the classes attribute on the element that was clicked. Example: “<a href=”” class=”this-is-what-gets-stored”>Amazing</a>.
  • Click ID: The string value of the id attribute on the element that was clicked. Example: “<a href=”” id=”this-is-what-gets-stored”>Amazing</a>
  • Click Target: The string in the target attribute of the element that was clicked: Example: <a href=”” target=”this-is-what-gets-stored”>Click Me</a>
  • Click URL:. <a href=”This is what gets stored” >Click Me</a>
  • Click Text: A<a href=”https://someurl” >This is what gets stored</a>
  • Errors: Error Message: Stores the string that contains the error message. Error URL: stores the string that contains the URL where the error occurred. Error Line: The number of the line in the file where the error occurred.
  • “Debug Mode: Returns true if the container is currently in preview mode.”
  • Forms: ( Same as click attributes) for form class, element, ID, text, URL and target. 
  • History: History Source, New History Fragment, New History State, Old History Fragment, Old History State.
  • Pages: Page Hostnam, Page Path, Page URL, Referrer.
  • Scroll: Scroll Depth Threshold, Scroll Depth Units, Scroll Direction.
  • Utilities: GTM Container ID, Container Version, Environment Name, Event, HTML ID.
  • Videos: Video Current Time, Video Duration, Video Percent, Video Provider, Video Status, Video Title, Video URL, Video Visible.
  • Visibility: Percent Visible, On-Screen Duration.

3. GTM Tag Templates

Yes, it’s as cool as it sounds. Basically you’re allowed to store your own tags and are able to share them to with other team members in order to save them time. This is especially efficient/productive when diluting your senior tag manager´s skills with junior GTM managers who just need to apply the already well build tags made by the senior.

4. Version History and Work Spaces

Version History and work spaces are the equivalent of a versioning development process. It allows you to publish specific changes to a GTM setup in such a way that there is a responsible person assigned to it, there is a description of the version, you are allowed to go “back in time” and “undo” a seriers of changes, no just immediatly back, but roll-back to a specif GTM setup in any of the saved “published” versions .

Additionally it is possible to use “Work Spaces” where you create your on “Fork” of specific set of changes that will later be updated by all of the users on the “general” work space.

5. GTM Work Flow

This is not really a tool, but more of a recommended order of steps to better user GTM. It might sound obvious, but if you think about it, this is the “Quality Control” process and check list of optimal GTM operations. So, don’t be fooled by the simplicity, there is power in this process.

  • Create a workspace for your full round of changes. This work space will be shared to other users once you have published your final version of changes and it will allow other users to consciously update their workspace of the general workspace with the changes. This is great because you can test and experiment without harming general operations deleting on top of someone else’s work
  • Do your thinking ( changes etc.): Strategy, GTM is a very interdependent tool If you don’t know what you are going to use it for, don’t try it. You need to have a specific goal and then one or more “methods” of trying to get there.
  • Overview lets you see the changes and who made the changes. Before your submit your code and changes, make sure you read the overview and preemptively and proactively avoid any duplication of efforts or general conflicts with other people´s versions. Always check before publishing, always read carefully what it is that version control is talking about.
  • Preview the changes: In the words of “The mercer”: TBV or Trust but verify. A note here, make sure you refresh the “preview” (By re-hitting the button) and clear the website cache, as well as reload the thing. There is a big proportion of mistakes that occur no in the setup, but in verification process because there was no “refresh” of the preview button.
  • Turn off preview mode: Critical, you’d be amazed how many people forget to do this.
  • Name the version: Descriptive and if required, your own numbering.
  • Describe the version title and description: This should put in specific details that help you as well as others understand the changes made. Documentation is boring but critical for well tuned development operations.
  • Submit and publish changes.

6. Pre-built tag templates

A great time saver and error avoider is the list of pre-defined tags found in GTM, these are both “inhouse” for other google products like:

  • Adwords
  • Adsense
  • Optimize (but not recommended)
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Surveys
  • …and others

As well as third party, plug-and-play applications like:

  • AB Tasty Generic Tag
  • Adometry
  • AdRoll Smart Pixel
  • Audience Center 360
  • AWIN Conversions
  • BizRate Insights abandonment survey solution and general survey solution.
  • Click Tale
  • Crazy Egg
  • DistroScale
  • Dstillery Eulerian Analytics
  • FoxMetris
  • Call Tracking for Google Ads Call Generation Features
  • Hot Jar
  • Google Flights
  • Bing Ads
  • DCR Static
  • Nudge Content Analytics
  • Shareaholic
  • Survicate
  • Upsellit Confirmation and footer Tag
  • Taped conversion
  • Yieadify
  • Xtremepush
  • Twitter universa website pixel