Google Tag Manager
I wanted to start this post with a discussion about Google Tag Manager. While not a measurement tool directly, Google tag manager can make installing and managing the various code required simpler, and also leave you with a comprehensive audit trail should something go wrong.
So what is Google Tag Manager? In short, Google Tag Manager is a piece of software that manages, and installs other pieces of code on your website based on a set of conditions you specify. This makes it possible to easily install tracking code specific to your checkout for example, or that applies to every page on your website.
Installing Google Tag Manager
Installing Google Tag Manager requires you to edit your websites theme, or code. If you are not comfortable handling this yourself you might want to reach out to a company that can handle this. Need help? The team at Think Forward Media has a wealth of experience in reporting and analytics and can assist in installing your Tag Manager code!
Open Google Tag Manager by navigating to tagmanager.google.com Log into your Google account and then select “Create Account” this will bring you to the Create account window, where you can enter your website information.
The information required here is pretty straight forward, enter your company name, where your company is located, then your “container name” which can be the url of your website. Next select “Web” from the list of options for target platform and click “Create” From here, you will need to read and accept the Google Tag Manager terms of service before continuing.
Google Tag Manager has to appear on every page on your website, the <script> tag needs to appear as close to the opening <head> tag as possible. This should appear below any data layer declarations. The other piece of code you will need to install is the noscript tag. This piece of code is used when the browser does not have java script enabled. Place this code right after the <body> tag. Need more information Google’s Support instructions provide comprehensive details on installation for a variety of situations!
If you would like to verify Google Tag Manager is installed correctly, you can use the Tag Assistant created by Google. This tool will help you troubleshoot issues you might be having with your installation including showing you what tags are firing on each page of your website.
How to Use Google Tag Manager
Now that you have Google Tag Manager installed on your website, it’s time to put it to use! To add a new tag select “New Tag” from the top left corner of the screen
In order to use Google Tag Manager, we’ll need a tag to put in it. One of the most popular website reporting platforms on the internet is Google Analytics. Google Analytics tracks how users came to your site, what they did well on your site, and a host of helpful demographics information including what device they used. This information is invaluable to improving your marketing strategy by providing insight into your audience.
If you haven’t already navigate to https://analytics.google.com/ and sign up for an account. From here you will setup an account. Accounts can have more then 1 website associated to them and make it convenient to share your properties with a developer, or the marketing team!
Step 2 is to select what you’re going to be measuring. Google Analytics allows you to measure websites and apps. For most people you will want to choose “web”. Next enter a website name, many people choose to use their domain name (like thinkforwardmedia.com) this allows you to quickly identify what you are tracking. Finally press create to create your analytics property!
You’re going to want to copy the number assigned to your property, this will start with UA- and will have a series of numbers after it. We are going to use this later to configure Google Analytics in Google Tag Manager.
Lets Play Tag
So we not have our Google Analytics account, and are ready to add it to Google Tag Manager! Great! From your Google Tag Manager account Select Tags from the left hand column and then Add new on the right hand side of the screen.
Then click tag configuration
From here select Google Analytics -> Universal Analytics
Leave the default setting for Track Type (Page view) and then select Google Analytics Settings -> New Variable
From here you will need to enter your ID in (the code that started with UA- from earlier)
Once saved, your Google Analytics ID is saved globally and can be used later!
Finally give your tag a name (such as google analytics) and click save one more time.
Because you’ve already integrated Google Tag manager into your website, your changes will start appearing automatically! That is the power of Google Tag Manager!
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
Keep in mind you are making direct edits to your websites code. If you make a mistake in Google Tag Manager you could render your website inoperable. Whenever you make a change in Google Tag Manager, be sure to thoroughly check your tag for errors and test your website!
In our next article we will discuss how to generate heat maps for your website, and landing pages!
We also have a surprise coming up that we are so excited about and can’t wait to tell you! But for now, it’s a secret! Come back in October 2021 to see!