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Google Introduces Custom Templates to Tag Manager

Google Introduces Custom Templates to Tag Manager Blog Feature

May 28th, 2019 min read

Google has recently made updates to its Tag Manager and Tag Manager 360 tool to include Custom-Built Templates.

Google’s Tag Manager is a system that allows site owners to store, manage, and deploy all marketing tags in one centralized location. “Tags” are elements added to your website, like snippets of code or tracking pixels, that are used to communicate data within your website to a third-party app, like Facebook or other ad tracking systems.  

Beyond keeping all tags in a secure location, Tag Manager also offers features such as auto-event triggers and built-in templates that allow non-technical digital marketers to access the information they need without needing to deal with code.

However, because needs vary, the pre-built templates aren't always sufficient.

Previously, Tag Manager allowed developers to deploy their own custom HTML/Javascript, which was then auto-scanned for malware to keep information safe.

But this hindered non-developers from easily accessing this data.

Now, with Custom Templates, everyone involved in the website can access the data they need without the requirement of knowing how to read and write code.

This will help all teams improve collaboration and give them the autonomy needed to get their day-to-day tasks completed.


What Are Custom Templates?

Custom Templates can be created using a built-in Template Editor, where users can design and configure tag and templates as needed.

 google-tag-manger-custom-templates

This functionality enables team members that are less tech-savvy to manage custom tags as easily as they would built-in tags.

There are four primary areas users can input to help define their tag template:

  • Info - Define basic properties of the template, such as the tag or variable name and icon
  • Fields - A visual editor to add input fields to your tag template
  • Code - Enter sandboxed JavaScript to define how your tag or variable should behave
  • Permissions - View and set limits on what your tag or variable is permitted to do

While a developer may need to be involved in the initial creation of the template, the custom templates you build can be re-used for future tagging needs, which reduces the amount of code that needs to be added to your website.

This also lessens the burden on developers, who don’t need to keep rewriting nearly identical code.

Security and Permissions

Because one of the major focuses of Tag Manager is security, Google is placing a heavy emphasis on permissions and the identification of any potentially sensitive information held by the template.

Google states:

“In order to provide a safer execution environment for your tags, Custom Templates use a sandboxed version of JavaScript. With sandboxed JavaScript, certain potentially sensitive operations (e.g. loading external scripts, accessing cookies, sending pixels, etc.) require the use of sandbox APIs.

“When you use these APIs, associated template permissions will automatically be surfaced and require that you declare how you’re using them (e.g. where external scripts can be loaded from, which cookies can be accessed, where data can be sent, etc.):”

Essentially, the tightly controlled permissions ensure that your critical data is being collected and controlled reliably and accurately. Thus, the IT team can feel confident that everything is running smoothly even if a non-technical user is using Tag Manager.

Additionally, even for those who are technically experienced, Custom Templates provide increased control and enhanced management over third-party tags that live on your website.

Tag Manager users should be able to access Custom Templates today in an all-new “Templates” section that lives in the left sidebar of your containers.

For more information for developers on how to create new Custom Templates, Tags, or Variables, you can check out Google’s in-depth development documentation to walk you through the process.

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