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Let’s use Google Tag Manager

Words by Colin GoodmanJune 29, 2018

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In this post, I will run through what Google Tag Manager is, how to set it up and talk you through how to create new tags and triggers so you can begin tracking targeted user behavior within Google Analytics.

What is Google Tag Manager?

Google Tag Manager is a tag management system which is completely free to use and is aimed to help businesses manage JavaScript and HTML tags used for tracking and analytics on their website(s).

It allows businesses to be able to directly deploy 3rd party tracking codes or unique events to their website without the need of getting the development team involved in the process. This kind of removes the middleman when it comes to needing to get new custom Google Analytics events implemented on the live website as you no longer have to rely on the development team to upload the supplied tracking code, which is a great bonus for both a business and the development team involved.

Already, Google Tag Manager should be sounding like a tool to utilise or at least explore, all you need to do is create a Google Tag Manager account and start creating new tags and triggers to begin recording your targeted events, which I will explain in further detail during this post.

Setting up Google Tag Manager

Firstly, pop on over to Google Tag Manager to set-up your account and GTM container.

To set-up the account all you need to provide is an account name and state a country, screenshot below:

Setup Google Tag Manager step 1

Then all that’s left to do is set-up your container which is completed by stating the client’s website URL and where you want to use it, example screenshot is below:

Setup Google Tag Manager step 2

That’s all there is to it, you now have a Google Tag Manager account set-up and ready to go. Now that the account is all set-up, let’s look at how you can create new tags and triggers to get your new events tracked in Google Analytics.

Creating your first tag

After successfully setting up your new GTM account you should have been directed to your GTM workspace, which is where you will create all the necessary tags and triggers to start tracking your custom events.

When you initially got directed to the workspace UI a popup would have appeared detailing the steps you need to take to get the GTM embed codes on your website, you can also access these by navigating to “Admin > Install Google Tag Manager” when logged into Google Tag Manager.

Google Tag Manager UI

After following the instructions and getting the GTM embed codes onto the live website, GTM is fully set-up and functioning. The screenshot above should look similar to the UI you would be seeing.

For our first tag let’s create a Universal Analytics tag that will be triggered on all pages when viewed. Firstly navigate to “Tags” and click “New”, on this screen you can name your tag, choose its configuration and tell it when to trigger. Name your tag “Google Analytics” then click on “Tag Configuration”, you should see a host of tag types appear on the screen and this is where you want to select the relevant Google Analytics tag. For this example, I will choose “Universal Analytics” as its the newer version.

To configure your new tag you will want to keep “Track Type” set to “Pageview” and check the “Enable overriding settings in this tag” so you can supply your Google Analytics account tracking ID.

NOTE: this number is separate from Google Tag Manager and can be accessed by going to Google Analytics, going into the relevant account and navigating to “Settings > Property Settings”.

The last thing to action for our new tag is to set the trigger to “All Pages”, which will make this tag trigger on all page views and the data will be sent to Google Analytics on the fly. The tag itself should look similar to the one below in the screenshot:

Google Tag Manager tag creation

The last thing I want to cover are the various types of triggers at your disposal. Head on over to triggers within GTM and click “New” followed by clicking “Tag Configuration”, all the trigger types should appear in a similar fashion as the tag types did in the previous example.

Google Tag Manager triggers

Looking at the list of triggers in the screenshot above, you may have already started thinking of some interesting events to track with the triggers you have available to you.

Two of the more interesting triggers for me are the “Element Visibility” and “Form Submission”. With all the triggers available, you can really start thinking of what events you want to start tracking and recording data in Google Analytics.

Summary

Well, now you should hopefully understand what Google Tag Manager is and what benefits come with it when setting it up for a project. I only covered the basics of GTM in this post as there is far more this robust tool can do, so if you’re interested in digging deeper head on over to Youtube as there are some really good informative videos on Google Tag Manager.

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Colin Goodman

Colin works very closely with David and Jenny on the front end development aspects within projects. He has an exceptional eye for detail and is constantly looking at new ways to code websites with the latest technologies available.

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