By Paul Morris
From managing how digital display advertising shows up on pages to figuring out what types of content gets engagement, there’s a lot to keep track of when it comes to running a modern commercial website. All these tasks also need to work in tandem without slowing down site performance.
Here’s where Google Tag Manager comes in. GTM is a tag organisation tool that eases the burden of running a complex website for business owners. In this guide we’re going to look in detail at how it works. Let’s start with the basics.
What are Tags?
Tags are the pieces of a website’s HTML code that collect data. This data is then sent to third parties. Because of their core function, tags are versatile information-gathering tools. Tags can record the behaviour of your site’s visitors—from identifying the traffic source that referred them to your site to seeing how far down a page they scrolled.
There are all sorts of tags in a website’s source code performing all sorts of different roles (e.g. heat maps, remarketing, etc). Trying to manually add or edit each one would be an intensive, time-consuming affair that demands a high level of coding expertise to avoid making crucial errors.
What is Google Tag Manager?
Google Tag Manager is free, web-based software that streamlines the process of using and managing tags on a website or mobile app. It lets users add, edit, and disable tags without having to directly interact with a site or app’s source code.
GTM has a host of benefits, including:
- Less reliance on web developers, which is useful for small business owners who lack technical support
- AMP site and mobile app compatibility
- Convenient, all-in-one place for storing and modifying tags
- Template creation for use on different sites and marketing campaigns
- Flexible user access granting for task delegation and sharing info with clients
Defining Commonly Used Terms
The process of using Google Tag Manager can be confusing for a lot of site owners, so let’s define the commonly used terms on the platform:
As previously mentioned, tags collect data. In action, they are the pieces of HTML code that tell GTM what to do.
Rules determine when tags are executed or disabled.
Macros are pre-defined sets of conditions that run rules.
As the name suggests, containers are where the tags for your site are held. A container is the first thing you need to create upon starting up GTM. It has to be added to the source code for it to show up on each page.
Tags require specific conditions to be met before they fire off. These are the triggers, which are made up of events and filters.
An event could be when a visitor clicks a link or scrolls down to a certain point on a page. Filters, meanwhile, allow for granularity regarding when an event should trigger a tag. You can choose operators, values, and variables for your filters.
An operator indicates if an event should be equal to, greater than, or lesser than the value for a tag to fire off. Values can be numerical or be a specific term …read more
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