Google Tag Manager or GTM: An Essential, Free Tool for Marketers

If you carry out digital marketing without monitoring the results, you are essentially ‘flogging a dead horse’ because all your efforts will have been in vain. You won’t know what has worked well, or what hasn’t. In this article we will introduce you to one of the most popular tools among digital marketers: Google Tag Manager. If you have a website, this is a must-have, and most importantly, it’s free!

What is Google Tag Manager or GTM?

Formerly, if we wanted to install code to track data, the only person fit for the job would be a web developer. Most businesses would hire a developer to create their website and when it was done, they we’re done too. After this, if you wanted to install code or anything else, you would have to find the same web developer, which could be like finding a needle in a haystack. Google Tag Manager (GTM) changed all of that.

Nowadays anyone can access and manage code and tracking for themselves. They can add code from Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Facebook Pixel etc., all of which can be set up via GTM. It is essentially a medium for setting up codes. 

Google Tag Manager consists of 3 main areas that you should be aware of: 

1: Tags = The code that we receive from systems like Facebook, for the purpose of collecting website visitor data for building target groups. It is basically a code telling the system that if there is a visitor on the website, you must send the data to me, which I will keep in the server to create a target group for advertising purposes. Ads will then be sent to the target group created from data collected from tags on websites. This makes the ad targeting more precise and effective as generally when people visit websites they are already interested in the products or services.

2: Trigger =  Determination for the tagging process of when and how to collect data and from which pages. For example, you set up the Trigger as All Pages, meaning the tag you have added will collect data from every page on the website when someone visits. But if you set up the Trigger separately e.g. Page url = “/service”, the tag you have added will collect data only when someone visits the Service page. You can set them up yourself according to your objectives. There are 3 types of Trigger in GTM:

Click = To track which buttons are pressed by visitors, and which pages they’re redirected to on the website.

PageViews = Data on the number of visitors on each page. 

Form Submission = Data filled in forms on your website. 

If you want to get the most accurate and realistic data, you have to set up the Trigger to be specific. If you set up the Trigger broadly e.g. All Pages, you are fooling yourselves into thinking that there are many visitors to your website, but in fact we do not know if they actually buy your products or not if the Trigger is not set up specifically.

3: Variables = Order setting for Triggers to work effectively. To put it simply, after we add the Tag, when people visit our website the Trigger will determine which page to show, such as the Thank you page after purchase and payment. Once the customer has made the payment and been redirected to the page, still, the Tag will not be working, because the Trigger is only determining that the Tag will work on this page. The function that actually sets off the Tag, is the Variable. You can determine the Variables you use, and in which order, e.g. Click Element, Click Classes, Form Element, Form Classes, Form ID etc.

What happens when you don’t use GTM?

As previously mentioned, Google Tag Manager is a tool to help make tagging easier. Of course, you can choose not to use GTM for tagging. However, you will have to add the tag code to the backend of your website, page by page, which is very complicated and time-consuming. 

I want to use GTM, what are the next steps?

Google Tag Manager is a free tool, you simply need a Gmail account to use it. After that, you can register for a Google Tag Manager account: Register and complete the initial setup steps, and you’re good to go!

Indeed, as we said earlier, Google Tag Manager or GTM is a convenient tool that will reduce the hassle of installing tags, in the sense that before this, we had to send code to website developers or programmers to add tags to the backend system. Having said that, Google Tag Manager is a tool that requires understanding about tags, result monitoring, data processing and advertising.

Once you finish setting up the tags, you can check whether the added tags are correct or not by using an add-on in Google Chrome, like the Google Tag Assistant. This will check, for example, if you set up Google Analytics measurements, or if the Thank You page has been set up with the tags as planned. 

If you are new to all of this, there are many articles on the subject and GTM itself has a detailed manual. Ultimately, we encourage every marketer to keep learning about these new tools, as they will definitely make your work easier and more efficient.