Google Tag Manager: 7 Tips to Get Started

With Google Tag Manager, it's never been easier to update your website tags.

If the goal is to get your website in with Google, learning how to use it to its full potential is worthwhile.

Google Tag Manager makes it easy to update your tags without having to wait for your developer to do it. It adds and updates AdWords, Google Analytics, Firebase Analytics, Floodlight, and even 3rd party tags without much pre-existing coding knowledge.

You will be able to have more control than ever over what you're tracking and feel more empowered than ever before as a business owner!

Are you feeling like you're behind the mark already? Don't worry. Even some of the best digital marketing pros are still learning about how GTM can unlock the amazing potential of your website.

Here are 7 tips to get started with Google Tag manager:

1. Take Preventative Measures so as Not to Interrupt Your Site

As with any new tool, it's a good idea to protect what you already have so the site keeps working while you're still learning how to use it.

You're dealing with code and one slight move may throw things off and then you'll have no other choice than to wait for your developer to help.

One of the best ways to do this is to encapsulate the JavaScript with a Try Catch. If anything goes wrong, Google Analytics may stop working for you but your site won't!

2. Set GTM Right from the Start — Keep It Simple

There are lots of accounts, containers, and tags to choose from and it can be easy to get confused in the beginning. That's why it's suggested to keep things simple, at least at first until you get the hang out things.

First things first — in order to prevent tracking and diagnosis issues, it's important to set things up correctly. Unless you are a large agency there's no need to over complicate things.

Set up your Google Tag Manager with only one account per company and one container tag per website. That's what Google recommends, even though it's possible to set up more than one.

You can always add, but it's more difficult to peel back the onion layers once you've started peeling. You're already new to the program, and if you're adding too many elements too fast, we suspect you may not stick to doing it on your own.

2. Tips for Triggers and Tags

Triggers are a big part of the Google Tag Manager process and they must evaluate to either true or false at run time. You have to set them up first before setting up your tags.

This is done by either creating new triggers or choosing triggers from the triggers menu. You can make exceptions as well.

Tags are snippets of code and with GTM, you can add a single container code to any page on your site without having to ask your developer to take care of it for you.

That's a big deal for the whole team, isn't it?

4. Folders and Containers

There are strategies to keep everything organized so things don't become a mess. Here are a few ways that can help:

Include the track type. Examples include invent, social, and transaction.

Include the page/subdirectory in the name of the tag.

Describe each trigger

Don't underestimate how much labeling everything correctly will help.

3. Yes, You Can Migrate a Complicated Site to Google Tag Manager

If your website has been around for a while, chances are it's not super clean and it's been through a few hands. That probably means a lot of tags.

The biggest challenge you're bound to have is double tagging, which is messy and not good for SEO. Some of the old tags may even be using Asynchronous Google Analytics.

Your first move should be to go through the process of having the tag manager tell Google Analytics that it came from tag manager.

4. Set Up Automatic Subdomain Tracking

When you set up your Google Analytics code, specify that you would like subdomain tracking ‘on’. The Universal Google Analytics snippet will automatically start tracking your subdomains.

This will ensure that session tracking is accurate and you're getting a clear picture of the journey your website's visitors are taking.

5. Remarketing with Google Tag Manager

With Google Tag Manager, you can easily identify your remarketing audiences and align your Google Analytics with ad layers in the Google Merchant Center.

This is next level tracking that's great for centralizing the results your website traffic.  Knowing where your conversions are coming from is incredibly useful.

You can even send attributes of viewed products from Google Tag Manager over to Google Analytics.

6. Using Data Layers

Google Tag Manager is at its finest when it's being used alongside a data layer. This is done by placing a GTM container’s JavaScript Snippet in your website’s source code.

The options for data layers are plentiful — push commands, page categories, or transaction values are a just a few things that can be added.

Using a data layer is great for tracking conversions such as newsletter signups, purchases, or when a visitor adds a product to their cart. It goes a long way when it comes to learning about the behavior of your potential customers and clients.

Once you set it up, you can adjust it and continue to add. Conversions are just as important to track as traffic.

7. Take a Fundamentals Course

If you're having trouble grasping how to use Google Tag Manager or you're feeling a bit nervous about poking around, Google offers a free course that can be very helpful.

It gives you the basics and some forward-thinking tips regarding strategy. Instead of running to your developer, start with the course and follow the steps that Google gives you.

Would you like to work with a company that already knows the ins and outs of marketing your website and that you can add to your GTM suite? Or perhaps take the reins and set things up for you?

Contact a marketing team with over 100 years of combined experience. We will be happy to help!