Imagine if there was an easy way to track traffic to your site, but when you researched how it worked, all you could find was a piece of code. You’re a marketer, code isn't quite a foreign language but you're certainly still carrying around the guidebook!
So you send it off to your preferred development company. A few days later you get told that the code is embedded and you’re ready to track...and by the way here is your bill for our hours of work (which may have only taken 10 minutes).
What if I told you there was an easy way to ‘DIY” this problem? And that way is Google Tag Manager.
What is a tag?
Things like Google Analytics, Facebook Advertising, AdWords or Klout all give you some sort of “tracking code”, or a ‘tag’, to sit quietly behind the scenes of your website and watch where people have come from.
Normally, you’d have to hand that to a developer or figure out how to edit the code yourself. This is where Google Tag Manager (GTM) comes in to make your life a lot easier. GTM is a tool that allows non-developers to insert and control the snippets of code (or “tags”) that other tools or services use to do their job.
When do I need GTM?
One of the most common things our clients need to insert is the Facebook Pixel. Facebook advertising is so important right now. Do you want to struggling to play with code - or wait for someone else to do it - before you can get to the fun part of making ads and seeing conversions? I’d say you’re more interested in the latter.
Google Tag Manager lets you insert the Facebook Pixel into every page of your website incredibly easily. The only coding you need to touch is this part you get from Facebook. It probably looks a little like this:
If you’re not getting into Facebook advertising yet - why not? Organic reach is not what it used to be. The days of, ‘just having a facebook page’ and that being enough are coming to an end. If you’re not doing Facebook advertising yet, you should seriously consider if it’s right for your business!
(Don't think Facebook advertising is for you? Read 'Facebook Ads Aren't Right For My Company' and Other Excuses)
So, what are the advantages?
Measurement is king (sorry all you "content is king" marketers - how do you know your content is so regal without good measurement?)
As we’ve mentioned already, it’s fast and flexible. It’s a great option for marketers and business owners because it can be implemented quickly and without excessive back-and-forth with a developer. Developers love it too, because it does offer great opportunity for customisation and more advanced uses.
It also ‘future proofs’ your measurement efforts into the future. By using GTM you can update tags in one central location, but deploy those changes across multiple pages of your site in one fell swoop.
I’m convinced, now what?
Got Code? Get started
If you don’t already have GTM, you will need to have it set up and installed.
Yes, a developer needs to do that. But it's a one time deal. Once it’s ready, it’s back over to you to control the rest of your tracking!
Like everything in life, it’s important to keep GTM neat and tidy. Choose a folder structure and stick to it. We use a structure like this:
Enhanced E-Commerce ‒ tags and triggers that affect the E-Commerce tracking features in GA.
Direct Interactions ‒ typically this will contain Triggers that fire only when a user clicks a button, fills in a form field, or otherwise engages with the site.
Facebook ‒ just for tags that send info to Facebook, such as the Facebook Pixel.
Google ‒ here be tags that send info to Google products, such as Analytics and AdWords
Misc Services ‒ here’s where we put basic tags for simple services such as AddThis, HitSniffer, or Mouseflow. If there were more than one tag or trigger for any of these, they’d earn their own folder.
Deprecated ‒ this should usually be empty. It holds tags and triggers that are almost ready to be deleted.
Unfiled Items ‒ for those that don’t fit neatly into the above.
Of course, these are just what works for us; there’s no danger in experimenting to find the best option for your organisation.
Just like keeping your folders in order, use a consistent naming convention. Naming conventions make it easy to see at a glance the type of tag you’ve used and what tool or service it’s for. Here are some examples:
Tags are always prefixed with the name of their service. They should also succinctly describe either What-They-Do, or Where-They-Happen. E.g.:
Triggers should have a descriptive, natural-language name. Such as:
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