What is GTM?

GTM, or Google Tag Manager, is a great way to manage tags on your website.  In this article, we’ll take a look at GTM, what it does, who it’s for, and why you should use it.

What Are Tags?

Tags are a snippet of code you place on your website to allow things to happen related to your visitors.

Say for example you’re running a Facebook ads campaign.  You’d like to know the success of your campaign.

Without a Facebook tag (otherwise known as the Facebook Pixel), the only metrics you’d be able to track through the Facebook ad platform are clicks and engagements.

However, with a Facebook pixel on your website, you can now measure targeted goals like purchases on your website or subscriptions to your newsletter.

Why do I need Google Tag Manager for Tags?

Google Tag Manager streamlines the process of adding tags to your site.

Let’s take the above example again.  Let’s say you’ve had your website up for awhile, but you haven’t been running any ads.  Now you suddenly decide to start a campaign, and you’d like to track some conversions or other types of goals resulting from your ads.

Before Tag Manager, you’d either need to be a developer, or possibly download a plugin for your website (for example, WordPress has a number of plugins for managing tags like Facebook tags, Analytics tags, etc.).

However, with Tag Manager, it’s simply the case of logging in to the Tag Manager Management Console, selecting the type of tag you want to add, and then pasting the code (if it’s a custom tag) or entering the id and a few other fields (if it’s a tag that Google actively managers like Google Analytics tags).

But Couldn’t I Just Use a WordPress Plugin for Facebook Tags?

Yes you could, and this is a route many take.  However, the problem is, you’ll end up installing plugins for every type of tag you use.  Maybe you want to set up Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, and Hotjar.  That’s three different plugins.

Instead, with Tag Manager, you install one snippet of code and then you can manager all of those tags within Tag Manager.  No more jumping between different plugins or hiring a developer every time you want to add a new tag.

Other Reasons to Use Tag Manager

There are a variety of other reasons to use Tag Manager.

You can set a variety of complex rules around when a tag fires, so that tags only fire on certain pages.

You can also use testing tools to test that those tags loaded/fired on a page.

If you have a number of websites you manager, you can create templates to manage collections of tags, making redeployment of the tags you need much easier.

And since Google has support for most of the common tags, you don’t need to mess with code snippets.  Usually you can just plug in an id and maybe another field or two and the tag is now live on your website.

Tag Manager also checks tags for any malicious intent and can flag if you try to install a tag that is suspicious.

You can also set different users and roles within Tag Manager, so you and your team can all access Tag Manager and administer the tags on your website.

Tag Manager will also automatically update tags that change.  For example if Facebook decides to make a major change to their Facebook Pixel, Google will automatically update your tag in many cases without requiring you to do anything.

Conclusion

Google Tag Manager is a great solution for those who manage tags and want to do sophisticated implementations of their various tags on their site.  And even if you’re not doing anything sophisticated, it’s still a great way to go.