GTM or Google Tag Manager is important because it makes inserting and managing “tracking tags” easy, organized, and optimal in terms of code. It also saves you a lot of time. So in general GTM is a very valuable tool.
This article explains why GTM is easy, why it helps keep things organized, why it helps optimize website performance, and provides an easy to understand overview of how it’s organized.
Also, this article is part of my online mini degree in conversion rate optimization, so a lot of this information comes from Chris Mercers CXL.com´s course on Google Tag Manager.
Tracking tags are pieces of code that send information from one website or application to another about events that happen on a website and/or application. For example, this blog sends information about your visit to a platform called Google Analytics, where we later can visualize data and analyze trends, find problems and opportunities.
As the internet becomes more competitive and data-driven decisions are key to any business, more and more tags are being created to measure performance. There are also more and more people involved in digital marketing or application performance. Ux developer, marketing experts, third party consultants, and vendors.
For example, an online publication might have the following tags:
GTM allows for everybody to work simultaneously, keeping track of changes, and “versioning” by giving each user the possibility of creating a “workspace” to edit and manage their tags, to later “merge” their tags into the website, without having to orchestrate a complex team effort to “launch” a new version of the website for every change or reversal. It also makes it easy to undo the changes of specific tags, in case something is not set up correctly.
As the creator of wordpress put it many years ago, “Code is poetry”. Concise, clear and effective code is referred to as “elegant” and the experience of “elegant poetic code” is better. It’s faster, it’s less prone to bugs, it’s easier to debug, it does better in google search engine results and obviously, it’s better for business.
Google Tag Manager has various “terms” that you should get familiar with, these represent specific parts. I´m not sure if the following is an “official” way of conceptualizing GTM, but it certainly helps me wrap my head around the many layers in a logical structure. Here it goes:
Accounts: The starting point of GTM is an “Account”. An account may have multiple containers. These might be for sub-elements belonging to the same project. For example, an online media company might have different magazines, for different audiences.
Containers: A container may be accessed by multiple users. Following the online media company example, a container might be accessed by the online marketing expert, the data scientist as well as the monetization expert.
Users: Users may have multiple tags. For example, the marketing expert might have a Facebook pixel tag, a google Adwords tag, and a third party affiliate network tag.
Tags: Tags might be created by using easy setup wizards available in GTM, they also need a specific “Trigger” or instructions on when to insert that specific .JS code or fire a specific “Tracking event”, for example, I want to place the google analytics code every time a page is viewed, but I want to “fire” a conversion event every time a user subscribes to my newsletter. So, every tag needs a trigger.
Variables: Variables are specific information you need to execute a tag, for example, Google Analytics setup needs to know what the Google Analytics ID is, so this is stored in a “Variable” with some obvious name. E.g. “Google Analytics ID for websiteA.com”
Data Layers: Data layers are easy ways of storing temporary data for specific tracking and triggering strategies. For example, data storage can keep track of a user´s referral data and load that data across multiple sister websites in order to track a complete customer journey or provide critical information in order to suggest products while moving around an eCommerce website. So if a user is coming in from Twitter into a marketing training website, they suggested courses could include a Twitter marketing course.
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