How to Use Google Tag Manager, Part 1

You may have heard about Google’s spiffy new tool, Google TaDenzel Washingtong Manager, but you are among a select few if you actually understand how it works. Intended to make life easier for the “non-technical people,” like marketers or even business owners, Google Tag Manager is meant to simplify tracking and analytics for your website. Unfortunately, while it keeps you from having to make actual changes to the code of your website, it is actually somewhat complicated to use and there are very few resources out there to show you how!

Explain it to me like I’m a four-year-old

Google Tag Manager is in desperate need of a guide that actually explains the tool at a non-technical level for all of us without a programming or development background. To quote Denzel Washington in one of my favorite movies, Philadelphia: Explain it to me like I am a four-year-old, Google!

Here at Full Media, our Internet marketers are always striving to stay on top of the latest Internet marketing trends – we want to demystify the web for our clients. In the interest of that, I wanted to share the best tips and tricks we have learned so far for Google Tag Manager.

What is Google Tag Manager (GTM)?

Any business that does advertising or marketing needs a way to analyze success. Are your advertising dollars producing real leads? Is your marketing actually bringing in new business? When it comes to your website, one of the best ways to analyze and report on your progress is with Google Analytics. One of Google’s greatest (and free!) tools, Google Analytics tracks information about every visitor that comes to your website so you can monitor website growth and performance.

So what does that have to do with Google Tag Manager? Setting up Google Analytics can be complicated. Often, you need to make changes to the hard-code on the backend of your website, which is tricky and can be hazardous for someone without technical training.

Google Tag Manager simplifies the implementation of Google Analytics: you only need to add one piece of code to your website, then you can set up any other tracking safely from Google Tag Manager’s platform. It eliminates the risk that you could damage your website’s essential code.

What if I am already using Google Analytics?

If you already have an active Google Analytics account that is tracking data, you will need to make some more in-depth changes to begin using Google Tag Manager. Either you or a developer will have to remove all instances of Google Analytics tracking code from your website before adding your Google Tag Manager code. Keeping both Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager code could inflate or duplicate your data if both codes are sending data back to your Google Analytics account!

So why go through the trouble? Google Tag Manager has a number of benefits for Google Analytics users:

  1. GTM has a preview and debug mode, which enables you to make sure your tracking code is working properly before it goes live.
  1. GTM keeps your code lean and increases page load times. The speed of your website is important to both visitors and search engines!
  1. You can set up broad tracking in a single stroke – for instance, you can track how many people are watching videos placed throughout your website without adding tracking code to each individual video.  You just set up a tag in Google Tag Manager.

Talk with your web developer or Internet marketer before you decide to migrate  your Google Analytics tracking code to Google Tag Manager. They can help outline the best course of action.

Getting Started with Google Tag Manager

In order to use Google Tag Manager, you must sign up for a Google Tag Manager account and a Google Analytics account. You can do that here and here.

Step 1: In Google Tag Manager, set up your account and set up your first container. Container is just a fancy word for the one piece of code you will need to install on your website to use Google Tag Manager. Be sure to select Web Pages if you are installing Google Analytics on your website, and then enter your domain and time zone.

Step 2: Google will then generate a snippet of code that needs to be added to your website. This is the one piece of code required by Google Tag Manager! Send this code to your web developer OR add it yourself to the opening <body> tag of your header.php file. Then click “Add Tags Later” to go to the main screen of Google Tag Manager.

Step 3: Set up your Google Analytics Tag.

Setting-Up Your Google Analytics Tag

Setting up your Google Analytics tag is simple, if you have instructions! Luckily, we’ve been through this process before, so we can shed some light:

  1. First, click on the “New” button and create a new tag:

    First New Button in Universal Analytics




     
  2. Name your tag “Google Analytics” and choose the “Universal Analytics” Tag Type.
  3. Enter your UA-XXXXXX-XX code into the Tracking ID box. This code will be found in the Google Analytics account you set up. Follow the instructions in the bottom of this Google Support article to find your UA code.

    Second Google Analytics Tag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Only choose to Enable Display Advertising Features if you understand Demographics and Interest reporting and are prepared to update your privacy policy according to Google standards.
  2. Choose “Page View” as your Track Type because you want to track every time a user lands on a page.
  3. Finally, add a “Firing Rule.” These are essential because they tell Google Tag Manager when and why you want to track an action your website. For the Universal Analytics tag, your Firing Rule will look exactly like this:

Third Firing Rule in Universal Analytics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Finally, add a “Firing Rule.” These are essential because they tell Google Tag Manager when and why you want to track an action your website. For the Universal Analytics tag, your Firing Rule will look exactly like this:Create and Publish in Universal Analytics
     

 

Need Help?

If you need help setting up Google Tag Manager for your website and getting your Internet marketing efforts off the ground, contact Full Media! Otherwise, stay tuned for Part 2, where will dig deeper into Google Tag Manager.

Internet Marketing Team Leader
Rachael serves as Internet Marketing Team Leader in Full Media's Atlanta office. She is a graduate of Indiana University where she received a degree in international studies and religious studies. Prior to Full Media, she worked for a number of non-profits, taking on everything from student political organizing to human rights issues in China to private foundation work.