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Why Google Tag Manager´s future is bright.

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It’s pretty obvious for me that GTM is going to have a bright future and, if you are not already, you will have to learn to use it. It will become part of most web-based businesses. *Also note that most businesses will become web based in some form or another as this is, for the most part, a more efficient form of business.

It’s also my impression that businesses in developing countries will be the fastests to incorporate this technology, as GTM is becoming a standard at the same time many developing nations are experiencing exponential growth curves in terms of migrating to digital processes, from sales and customer service to remote work and the use of digital tools over traditional ones. So they are in their own learning curve, parting from the already optimized tools and best practices generated by 3 decades of internet entrepreneurship and evolution in developing countries.

My experience with google tag manager has been, until recently, a fractured one, but, like a lot of the people reading this blog, GTM´s efficiencies will pretty much force people to learn about it soon enough.

My first exposure to GTM was when working for HealthCare.com, where I helped create the first version of the conversation optimization department. GTM was a great way of implementing “Optimizely´s” tags and also adding specific user details using the data layer to then send to Tableau. Later google opened its own a/b testing software (optimize) and its own data visualization tool ( Google Data Studio). Both as free and as powerful as email was when launched. As I started solving more and more problems through GTM rather than directly coding, I became more and more aware of the power behind this tool, and, as with many Google tools, I don’t know how we managed without it. ( I do, it was a mess in regards to now LOL).

There might also be other tools out there, but, I think few will be as popular or prone to improvements as Google´s Tag Manager. This is why I´m pretty happy about taking CXL.com´s minidegree in Conversion rate optimization, as they have also invested a lot of resources in developing rich, case based google tag manager courses that provide both concrete and helpful theory, as well as best practices and strategy. All with hands on practice suggestions.

At first GTM felt weird. From the UX to figuring out how Tags, Triggers, Variables and “The Data Layer” worked and interacted with each other. To this effect I recommend practice and self learning. If you have a specific need for GTM, there is a very high likelihood that there already is a group of posts and youtube video tutorials explaining how to do it step by step. Aside from CXL.com´s resources on the matter, I also recommend MeasureSchool channel´s GTM series.

Specific features that make GTM a must-have tool for businesses today

  1. GTM allows dev-ops, from marketing and monitoring. Having a separate “Door” to input javascript, html and capture data that does not need to go through a staging and release process (that is usually the case for any agile based web business).
  2. It is a fast tool, once you get the hang of it. Creating tags, triggers, variables, data layer pushes and testing them in an organized and low-risk manner can be done by multiple people.
  3. It is a creative canvas: While there are built in functionalities that are quite practical and fast to use, there is also the ability to create custom tools using javascript and html, allowing you to either code your own or import third party code. So the uses are infinite
  4. Its a tool for a data driven, internet enabled future. The core of GTM is adding tracking tools and capturing information of user behavior in apps, web apps and phone apps to later be sent to data storage and visualization. GTM will directly responsible for providing critical parts of managerial reporting. It can and will measure the impact of people’s work, the effectiveness of strategy and the quality of third party services.
  5. It enables cooperation and teamwork amongst different platforms, finding ways of tracking efforts across multiple domains and processing information coming in from multiple sources. For example, a landing page could be personalized with the users First and Last name, based on the information gathered and stored by a CRM, and triggered by the specific FB campaign that brought the user back to the site.
  6. It’s a great way of avoiding a ton of mistakes and implementing optimized codes and js. From a web developer experience, one might be able to load personalized js libraries, specific behaviorally triggered call to actions and specific third party advertising using best practices and continuously improved load times and protocol.
  7. It will continuously increase built-in tools as it allows for third party developers to add their own plugs into the third party menu. This is already a fairly large list of tools.
  8. Centralized Storage and MAnagement. While plug-and-plays offer a fantastic reason for using GTM, having everything neatly stored in one place is a great reason to use GTM. There is nothing more exasperating that having both js. issues and having to read every piece of embedded code on a live site. This also has the added benefit of creating copies and using previous configurations for new implementations without having to do all the setup from the get go. This can save developers and marketing teams many hours of work.
  9. You don’t need to know how to “code”. The platform is easy enough that by just following instructions a non/coder might be able to get most of what they needed out of GTM. (But I really recommend Chris Mercer´s course on GTM).
  10. Great documentation and support community. This is critical for any web based software. From wordpress to linux, any successful programming language or software has a loyal and proactive user community behind it. A group of people that are happy to take in new arrivals and whose group dynamics favor open and free sharing of information. This is the case with GTM, the GTM product forms and some well versed bloggers (like this one) tell me that GTM is here to stay.
  11. It’s easy to access via google gmail accounts and incorporates Googles great, user friendly and safe way of managing users and user access.

Here are some great sources I recommend on Google Tag Manager:

  1. Free course on Google Tag Manager
  2. Google Tag Manager at Google Analytics Academy

Note: Featured image: Photo by mohamed hassan form PxHere

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