On 1st October, Google launched a new product that will relieve both IT guys and marketers: Google Tag Manager.

How many times did you (i.e. marketers) have to postpone your digital marketing campaigns because tracking was not implemented? How many times did your marketing campaigns come after another project in the IT’s to do list? In short, how many opportunities did you lost because of different priorities between webmasters and marketers?

If the answer is one too many, then Google Tag Manager is certainly for you.

What is Google Tag Manager?

Google Tag Manager is a free tool that consolidates your website tags with a single piece of code (called a container) and lets you manage tags from a user-friendly web interface (www.google.com/tagmanager/).

Tags are pieces of code needed to track data from your digital marketing campaigns and visitor behaviour. Usually you have to implement a specific piece of code for each campaign (retargeting, SEM, etc.) or analytics tools (Google Analytics for instance), on some or all pages of your site, making webmaster’s job relatively difficult in maintaining the site.

With Google Tag Manager, you only implement the same snippet of code on every page of your site and the IT guys are pretty much done (Google Tag manager still requires some changes on event tagging). Then it belongs to marketers to add and setup the tags directly with the Google Tag Manager web interface, without getting their hands into the website pages.

Why should you use Google Tag Manager?

Google Tag Manager is a major innovation as it brings tag management available to everyone. Here are the main reasons you should consider it:

  • Greater flexibility, time and cost saving
  • After the initial configuration, dependence on webmasters or developers is reduced. This will give them more time to focus on their core mission, i.e. improve online processes and functionalities. For marketers, it provides them flexibility and reactivity as they can manage tags without having to depend on webmasters. Thus they have the full control of their digital marketing.

  • All-purpose tag manager
  • Google Tag Manager works for Google (Google Analytics, Adwords, Remarketing, etc.) and Non-Google tags from any other third party tracking tools. The tool provides pre-made template for some tags but also a fully customisable HTML tag setting.
    However it cannot support synchronously loading tags like A/B testing tags (see the list of unsupported tags).

  • Faster page loading times
  • Google Tag Manager uses the asynchronous loading method, which means the page doesn’t need to process all tags to be loaded, which means faster loading pages, which means an improved users’ experience and a good point for SEO rankings.

  • Easy-to-use web interface
  • As usual Google made the tool relatively easy to use for someone who doesn’t necessarily know programming. However, you may need to know Regular Expressions in order to define rules for each tag.

  • Fewer risks of errors
  • Google Tag Manager provides error-prevention tools such as a Preview mode, the Debug Console to check if your tag is being fired or not before publishing your tags in the container. Version History to save or publish container versions, which hold your website’s tags.

  • Multiple user friendly
  • With four level permissions and multi-account functionality to make it easy for different teams, clients and agencies to work across different sites.

How to use Google Tag Manager?

Nothing better than a video to explain this:

Some considerations

Before implementing Google Tag Manager, you need to know the following:

  • Google Tag Manager is asynchronous so it won’t work for synchronous tags such as A/B testing. These tags will still have to be implemented separately in your site.
  • Google Tag Manager will require modifying elements attached to an event or variable (such as a link or a button) by using a data layer as follows:
    dataLayer.push({‘event’: ‘event_name’});
  • To pass information into Google Tag Manager, you will need to choose between using a data layer (optional but recommended) or Macros. The first solution allows referencing all information in one place making it easier to manage whereas the second one allows defining rules of tags without having to change any source code of your site.
  • When migrating to Google Tag Manager, there will be either a gap or inflation in the data you tracked during the interval when none or both the old and new tags are implemented. This difference in data can be reduced to few hours or even minutes by clear and well-defined project management. You can also making the transfer during your low traffic time (at night for instance).

Even if there are some initial technical considerations to take into account, Google Tag Manager is certainly worth implementing. So don’t wait to take full control of your digital marketing, use Google Tag Manager!

At FIRST, we are here to help you getting the most of your digital marketing.
Do not hesitate to contact us today for a chat.