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If you haven’t yet heard of the Google Tag Manager tool, I highly recommend becoming friends with it, as it may prove especially helpful in the era of the upcoming GA4 analytics. What is this tool, how to use it and why is it so strongly recommended? You’ll find the answers to all your questions in this article.
Google Tag Manager – what is it?
In a nutshell, GTM (Google Tag Manager) is a free tool from Google, one of the biggest advantages of which is that it can be highly independent of developers. Sounds great, right? Then what exactly is it about?”
With this tool, you will be able to easily add various types of scripts (a.k.a. tags) to your site without specialized programming knowledge. These include, for example, analytics tags (e.g. Google Analytics), tags for tracking conversions from advertising systems (e.g. Google Ads or Facebook), as well as those associated with various external tools such as Heatmaps or surveys. It is through proper management of Google Tag Manager tags that we have the ability to correctly track data collection, as well as to manage consents in consent mode (which you will read about in the blog soon). We manage everything from the tool’s interface in the browser, which is simple, intuitive and requires only basic technical knowledge. Even if you don’t have it, I can tell you as a consolation that by using Google Tag Manager, you will acquire it very quickly and start to navigate the tool smoothly.
How to start GTM and start using it?
Installing the tool is very simple and quick, and I will walk you through it step by step.
1. Go to https://tagmanager.google.com/, create an account and create a Google Tag Manager container. At this point, there are a few best practices I’d like you to keep in mind:
– As the name of the account, enter the name of the company to which the website belongs, while in the name of the container enter the name of the domain.
– Select the appropriate target platform (in most cases it will be a website).
Remember that naming is very important! My suggestions are not mandatory, however, this is due to Google’s recommendation to create one container for a given domain. So little, and it will positively affect the organization of your work 🙂
2. When this is done, you will see a window “Install Google Tag Manager” with two types of codes (don’t worry, if you accidentally close this window, you can return to it in the administration settings)
3. Copy the first code and paste it on the page in the <head> section. You can do this in several ways:
- you can add the code manually
- you can report to your programmer
- you can also use the available plugins – this option will be very easy and convenient if you use WordPress. I recommend you to use the plugin Google Tag Manager for WordPress
4. Ready! Google Tag Manager is now on your site, and you can start adding tags to your container. Remember to click the “Submit” button after every change you make. Without this, you will not publish it, the created changes.
Tags,-rules,-variables – what is it?
This is a piece of code (such as Google Ads remarketing) or a tracking pixel from other companies (such as Facebook’s Pixel).
You created it in the previous paragraph. It is in the container that all the tags of your site are stored. From here you will be able to add, edit and delete tags later.
With these you determine in which cases you want particular tags to trigger. They determine whether it will happen, for example, after clicking on a link, after downloading a pdf file or filling out a form.
They store additional information by passing values. For example, – they trigger the tag when the user adds a certain number of items to the shopping cart.
How to create a Tag in Google Tag Manager?
I will show you how to create your first Tag, using one of the most popular – Google Analytics tracking tag as an example. To be more up-to-date and currently changing analytics, we will do this for the Google Analytics 4
Before using GTM for this, however, check whether you already have a Google Analytics script on your site. If so, remove it before implementing the tag. Otherwise – the script will fire twice which will project incorrect data in Google Analytics.
Have you checked and everything is ok? Then let’s go!
Step 1. Open the selected account and the container in which you want to add the GA4.
Step 2. On the left, select the “Tag” section, then click the “New Tag” button to the right of the main box.
Step 3. Now we need to select the type of tag. To do this, we select “Google Analytics: GA4 configuration“
from the whole list of available options.
Step 4. Without closing the GTM window, go to your Google Analytics 4 account and from there copy the ID you will find in the “Administration” section, then “Data Streams“
Step 5. With the copied ID, go back to the GTM window where we configured GA4 and paste the copied number into the “Measurement ID“
Step 6. Next we go to the window below, which is called “Regula“. Here we need to determine in which cases the GA4 Tag should be triggered.
Step 7. Use the built-in rule and select “All pages“. By doing so, GA4 will run on every page of your site.
Step 8 Click “Save” and you’re done! Your first Tag is now prepared! Now all you have to do is test if everything works using the white “Preview” button on the right side of the screen. If everything works, publish all the actions via the “Submit” button
Use Google Tag Manager and be independent of programmers!
Our marketing agency can provide you with practical guidance and support in implementing Google Tag Manager so you can better track and analyze user behavior, and optimize your advertising campaigns.
Permissions in GTM
Another important issue you should be familiar with is assigning permissions in Google Tag Manager. You can assign permissions both at the account level and at the level of the container itself. Now that you know the structure of Google Tag Manager, then you know that there are one, two or even several containers in an account. In order for a user to have access to all containers within a specific account, you need to grant permissions at the account level.
You have a choice of two types of permissions here: at the User or Administrator level. The User level gives you the ability to view basic account information. The Administrator role, on the other hand, gives you the ability to create new containers and modify user permissions at the account and container level.
There is an even more detailed option – you can configure “Container Permissions“, for each container that a given user should have access to.
In case you want the user to be able to edit a container, or you don’t want them to have permissions at the level of the whole account, you can grant them at the level of the individual container. You then have a choice of the following accesses:
- Read: the user can view the tags, rules, and variables in the container, but does not have permission to make changes to them.
- Edit: the user can create workspaces and edit tags, rules and variables, but cannot change user permissions.
- Approve: gives the user the ability to create versions and workspaces, and make changes. However, it cannot publish anything.
- Publish: this is the highest level of authorization. The user can create versions and workspaces, make changes, and publish them.
It is worth noting that in GTM the level of permissions works on the principle of “inheritance”, if access is obtained from elsewhere, such as by addition in a user group or based on a predefined role. Permissions that are granted directly are those that have been assigned directly to the user in question at his email address. In case he has “inherited” permissions and for some reason they expire – he is still left with directly assigned accesses.
There is one more aspect to keep in mind. The email address of the user to whom you want to grant permissions must either be on Gmail, or somehow the email address must be associated with a Google account.
Benefits of working with GTM
The reasons why you should use Google Tag Manager could be listed for hours, but for the purposes of this article I’ll give you a few of the most important ones.
- You are independent of programmers
With a basic knowledge of the tool, its design and capabilities, you are able to enter simple tracking tags, and even having added the necessary data layer – you can set up e-commerce tracking. Thanks to this, we do not need to involve a programmer for everything, which ultimately reduces the time to complete a task and the cost of such an undertaking. Before we publish the Tag we have created, we can also verify its correct operation, so we can be sure that we will not make changes to the site that will blow up the operation of the entire site.
- Fast disable Tags when needed
If we implement tracking scripts directly in the code, pausing them is a much more radical solution, as we need to remove them for good. If we have tracking configured with Google Tag Manager and we don’t want our Tags to continue collecting data – simply delete the specific Tag. If we are not sure if we will need it in the future, we can use the option to pause it and come back to it at any time and enable it again.
- Your site will load faster!
Adding each successive script directly in the code of the site affects its slow loading, which in turn annoys Internet users. Google Tag Manager scripts load asynchronously, so they don’t have to wait for a script to load before them. As a result, we have the same scripts enabled that we would add in the site code, but much faster.
- Order and time saved
Clutter is the biggest enemy not only for advertising systems, but also for web analytics. Let him be the first to throw a stone who hasn’t spent hours trying to figure out which tracking codes are responsible for which conversions, why there are missing transactions and where something proverbially went awry. If we don’t use Google Tag Manager, we have to implement all the scripts directly in the site (or through plugins), which for large sites and online stores makes a lot of fuss. Using GTM, we have all the Tags in one place, and we can edit them at any time without having to change the HTML code. This makes it easier for us to control even the most complex sites, which in effect means not only efficient operation, but also saved time.
- Import GTM containers
This point is also related to the previous one. If we have already created the entire necessary set of Tags in one container once, and we run another page where we need to create identical Tags – we only need to import the already finished container. Remember, after doing so, to test if everything works as expected on the new page.
Google Tag Manager gives you a huge number of possibilities! If you are responsible for advertising activities, analytics or working with websites, you will definitely appreciate the functionality of this tool.