Beyond the Marketing Minute: Google Tag Manager

What is Google Tag Manager?

Google Tag Manager is a free Google tool that allows you to drop code (or tags) on your website through a container snippet. Therefore, you don’t have to hardcode anything. You can just load tags and triggers to your Google Tag Manager container.

If the explanation above made you more confused with talk about hardcoding, triggers and tags, we’re going to cover that. If you feel confident you understand what Google Tag Manager is, go ahead, skip down to the benefits of Google Tag Manager.

If you aren’t skipping down, let’s talk about some terminology that will help to be familiar with as we discuss the benefits of Google Tag Manager and how to use it.

  • Hardcode – This is when a developer (or someone experienced in website development or coding) changes the code on your website by physically placing new code within the page.
  • Snippet – A code snippet is a small amount of code design to illustrate a specific purpose.
  • Container – A container is comprised of a set of macros, rules and tags. It’s the bucket that you put all your tags into in GTM.

Benefits of Google Tag Manager

Decrease Page Load Time

There are two main reasons that Google Tag Manager can speed up your page load time. First, it allows you to consolidate the code on your site by housing all your tracking codes and other tags into one snippet of code for the GTM container. The less bulky the code is on your site, the easier and faster it is to load.

Secondly, GTM loads asynchronously with the other elements of your site. So instead of waiting for other elements to load first, it starts to load alongside the other elements on your site. Think about this you’re on a scavenger hunt with a partner. You can either stay together and find all the items as a pair, or you can split up your list an look for separate items at the same time. Which method do you think will get you to finish the fastest? Splitting it up right? That’s asynchronous.

Save Time with Implementation

If you’re anything like the typical marketing department or agency, everyone on your team is always busy, especially the developers. When you have to depend on a developer to hardcode your tags, it takes more time. Maybe they are in the middle of a huge project and won’t be able to get to your tags until next week. Perhaps they are out sick. No matter the reason that you have to wait for your development team, it’s just easier on everyone if you can make tag updates yourself. GTM allows you to do just that.

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Website Security

Website security is always a huge concern in the digital age. From the wrong people getting access to your site to malicious tags or malware going live, GTM has covered it all. All code implemented by GTM is scanned prior to going live to ensure that you aren’t publishing anything malicious to your site. To ensure that you don’t have just anyone making changes to the container, GTM also allows you to set different levels of permission for access.

Testing Tags before they go Live

As mentioned in the Monday Marketing Minute about GTM, one cool thing about GTM is the ability to test all your tags before making them live on your site. There are a couple of different ways you can do this. One way is by using the preview and debug mode within Google Tag Manager. Simply click on “preview” next to the “submit” button at the top right of the GTM interface to access this mode. An alternative method to this is to use the Chrome plugin Tag Assistant. This plugin lets you record a typical user path and indicates any errors that you have in your tags.

How to use Google Tag Manager

Ready to set up your Google Tag Manager Account? Here is how to get started:

  1. Create an account, or use an existing account, at tagmanager.google.com.
  2. Create a new container for your website or mobile app.
  3. Install the container in your website or mobile app.
    1. For web and AMP pages: Add the container snippet to your site and remove any existing tags.
    2. For mobile apps: Use the Firebase SDK to implement Tag Manager. Android | iOS
  4. Add, update and publish tags.

Now you’re on your way to using GTM for your website. If you are looking for help setting up your account or have questions on using GTM reach out to the team at Oneupweb.