Join Corey Koberg for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding Google Tag Manager (GTM), part of Learning Google Tag Manager.
- [Instructor] I remember very distinctly the first time I heard about Google Tag Manager. Several years ago, I was at Google up in Mountain View. We were in a meeting with the head of Google Analytics, but the topic changed and he asked us point blank, "Do you think there's a need for Google to provide a tool to manage tags?" The answer from me and everyone else in the room was an emphatic yes and that's because the tags from Google alone AdWords, Double Click, Google Analytics, AdSense, and so on were getting very difficult to manage, let alone the myriad of other marketing technology scripts and tags that are out there. To give you a sense of how complex this ecosystem has become let's take a look at a few popular websites.
Now, when I open an article here on the travel section of CNN, the site is loading tags, scripts, and tracking pixels in the background. We can see that up here in this tool called WASP, and it's gonna show us these things. I can take a look through here, scroll some of these, I see analytics from Twitter, I see different beacons, I see pixels that are coming from DoubleClick, Facebook, Google, and so on. Now, according to WASP, there's 188 of these here. I've seen well over 200 on this site in the past. Can you imagine trying to manage the code to load 200 different tags and scripts firing without some kind of a tool? Now, imagine that certain tags will only fire under certain conditions for certain users or on certain topics or pages.
And CNN is not alone. If we go over here to the Wall Street Journal, we see this page has 107 here. If we go to the Economist, this page here has 197 and growing, and it's not just these publisher sites that are pretty well known for the third party tags. If we go to Expedia, we see 168. Chevrolet.com, also 21. Nearly every marketing technology company has at least one if not multiple tags they want you to install on your page and often in various specific ways under very specific scenarios.
You can imagine how complex this is trying to manage all of these things. Having a central tool that controls, not only which ones will fire, but where and under what circumstances is simply a necessity for site owners moving forward. So this is the first and most important reason to have a tag manager, but there are plenty more. The second one here is speed and agility. We have a client that transacts millions of dollars online, and their website releases new code once per quarter. Their backlog is months long. If you have a tag that needs to change on the site, it gets into queue, then it gets prioritized against every other change that's trying to get into that release.
If you get bumped out of the next one, or you miss a deadline, it could be as much as 12 months before you have another shot. Oh, and if the name of the form that you're tracking or the URL you're tracking changes, you're just out of luck, because it's gonna be months before that change is even considered for inclusion in that next code release six months later. But these days, waiting 12 months to make a tweak in your analytics or marketing tags is simply a nonstarter. It puts you well behind your competition when it comes to digital marketing. Google Tag Manager offers you the ability to place the base container code on one time and then manage nearly all of the other changes remotely through the management tool.
The next one is corporate governance and process. The ability to not be held up by IT doesn't mean this is a tool to bypass your corporate governance standards. The permissions model in this and similar central tag management tools can actually help enforce corporate standards. We'll take a look at that in detail in the video on users and permissions. The next one here is improved data accuracy. For as much as those of us who work full time in the digital analytics business focus on the advanced topics such as predictive modeling and retribution models and like 10 value calculations, all of those are worthless if the underlying data is flawed.
And the truth is, the data is quite often flawed, and as we said earlier on the website, most of that data is collected via tags. Improving the processing tools by which we manage those tags can affect everything that would be generated from the data it collects. Proper tag management is simply table stakes for an effective website and digital marketing that uses that data intelligently. Next one is increased automation. In the bad old days, if you wanted to get any information from the page, you had to hard code it in. This required way too many dev resources.
It cluttered up the page. It was subject to those release cycles causing all sorts of problematic intermixing of presentation and content layers. As we'll see in this course, Google Tag Manager allows you to dynamically do things like track link clicks, forms, and more. It automatically listens for a whole host of common web interactions. No need to hard code it in most case, which keeps your code clean and up to date. Now, like Google analytics, Google Tag Manager takes advantage of Google's data center infrastructure, which is quite legendary. Servers are geo-distributed, so your users are always gonna get the closest and fastest option.
For those of you who are Google Analytics 360 customers, Google Tag Manager is covered by the premium SLA, so you can be sure that it's high speed and high reliability which is important for a mission critical tool. Now, Google Tag Manager's also designed to be fast. It's architect in a way to load tags in an efficient way. It doesn't impede page loading, and it can reduce the amount of tags that need to be loaded and actually improve the performance of the page. Lastly, centralizing and simplifying the release process and managing those tags is going to improve the efficiency and reduce the workload.
Improved accuracy creates more valuable and timely data. Performance increases translate to a better experience for your users and all of the above translates into less cost and more value. It is really a win-win, all for the cost of zero dollars and zero cents. Not a bad bargain. So you can see Tag Manager is the way of the future and there's no time like the present to get yourself familiar with this free and powerful tool.
- Working with accounts and containers
- Installing a container on WordPress (CMS)
- Leveraging the Google Analytics built-in tags
- Working with variables
- Creating triggers
- Control versioning
- Debugging your tags
- Using custom HTML tags