Subscribe
Join 40,000+ sales and marketing pros who receive our 4x a week insights, tips, and best practices.
Thank you! You have been subscribed.

Free Guide: The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Download the Guide
Fill out the form to get your guide
Thank you! You have been subscribed.
... Inbound Marketing Search Engine Optimization
Close
The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Free Guide:

The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization
Read the Guide
The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization
Free Search Engine Optimization Guide
View The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization
The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Free Guide:

Generate more traffic, leads, and sales with search engine optimization

In this free guide, you will learn:

  • What search engines are and who uses them.
  • What search engine optimization is and how it works.
  • Best practices for search engine optimization.

What Is Google Tag Manager & When Do You Use It?

By Marc Amigone

Marc Amigone also recommends this free guide, The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization.

What Is Google Tag Manager & When Do You Use It?

If you’re a marketer here in the back-end of 2019, you’ve probably had to deal with a tracking code or two in your time. Whether it’s for a marketing automation tool like HubSpot, a tracking pixel for an advertising platform like Facebook or Google Ads, or the code for behavior-tracking software like Lucky Orange, Hotjar, Crazy Egg, or even just Google Analytics, tracking codes are the street signs of the web — they’re everywhere and most people just take them for granted.

Free Guide: The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Tracking codes are so ubiquitous because they’re essential to the core functionality of all digital marketing: they enable all of the various software platforms marketers employ to track website visitors’ behavior.

Most marketers don’t think much about these tags beyond when they initially install them. Once we’re collecting the data from the tracking codes, they’re in set-it-and-forget-it mode — and we only really worry about them if something all of the sudden stops working.

You may be thinking, yup, sounds familiar, what’s wrong with doing things that way?

Well, first of all, what if I told you each of those javascript tracking codes you’ve installed costs valuable load time. Every time your browser has to deploy javascript when loading a page, it slows down your website slightly. If you’ve got 10 different tracking codes installed, all that script can really add up and make your website load time drag as much as 7-8 seconds (which has a deleterious effect on your SEO).

Secondly, not all marketers have the same technical expertise when it comes to manipulating code, even for simple tasks such as adding or removing snippets of javascript to a header.

If one tracking code doesn’t play nice with another, it could disrupt the data you’re collecting or, worse, temporarily prevent your website from loading altogether. What do you do if the person who regularly manages the technical side of your website is unavailable (or just charges you by the hour for everything they work on)?

What if I told you there was a tool that could deploy all of those tracking codes for you without you ever having to get into the code of your website, and without slowing down your site performance? Imagine it would let you activate and deactivate individual tracking codes, test them before they go live, and give you a deeper, more granular capability to trigger them in response to specific behaviors people exhibit on your website.

Sound like a useful tool, right? Well, the smart folks at Google agree with you, which is why they created Google Tag Manager!

Google Tag Manager (GTM) gives marketers three distinct capabilities:

  1. Manage and deploy tags (think: tracking codes like Meta Pixel, Heatmapping, Google Analytics, or HubSpot)
  2. Manage triggers for those tags, or program-specific timings for when those tags fire or don’t fire
  3. Manage variables for those triggers or program-specific criteria for those tags to fire or not fire

One tracking code, easy management

GTM will make it a lot easier to install, test, and deploy tracking codes on your website. The more of these tracking codes you install, the more taxing it can be on your website performance, and the more value GTM provides. 

Instead of browsers having to deploy every javascript tracking code individually, they can deploy one tracking code and still get all the benefits from the variety of tags you have installed (saving you valuable load time).

Additionally, instead of installing all of those individual tags, you can just install the one GTM code and manage everything through its interface instead of breaking into the header tag again and again.

Beyond the time saved, it’s also a big help to have one centralized place with a running tab of which tracking codes are installed.

More trigger control

Triggers are specific instances that tell GTM when to fire those specific tracking codes. 

This is where GTM starts to flex its muscles a bit.

Let’s say you want to run an experiment and only want your behavior-tracking software to fire when someone visits a certain page. Or, maybe you want to measure what happens immediately after they do something very specific like watch a video, download a PDF, or see the results from a pricing calculator.

Using triggers in GTM, you can define these specific actions to allow for the desired tracking codes to fire.

Say a visitor watches a video on your pricing page and you’re hoping they click on the CTA that says ‘Request a Quote’ right after the video ends. With GTM triggers, you can program a behavior tracking software to fire and measure whether that’s happening or not.

You can also define negative triggers. For instance, if you want a tag to fire on every page on your site except for a specific few, you can tell GTM to prevent tags from firing on those specific URLs.

Using variables for greater detail

Tags define what tracking codes will fire, triggers define when they’ll fire, and variables go a level deeper to create more specific situations when a tag will fire. 

For instance, let’s say you’ve installed a behavior-tracking software tag and programmed it to fire when someone lands on a specific page, but you’d also like to measure what happens when someone lands on a page referred by a different specific page.

In other words, you're measuring what happens when someone exhibits a specific behavior you’re attempting to encourage on your website.

You can create a ‘referrer’ variable that gives you that extra level of granularity in your reporting.

How is GTM different than Google Analytics?

GTM is a tool for installing and configuring third-party code on your website, not for analyzing the data those tags collect.

GTM is designed and built to complement Google Analytics. All of the custom events you create in GTM are visible in Google Analytics once you configure what data you want to send to Google Analytics.

Should you install Google Tag Manager on your website?

Before you ultimately decide, see if you answer yes to any of the following questions:

  • Would you like to manage third-party tracking codes on your website without touching any code?
  • Would you like to reduce the load time of your website, improving SEO performance?
  • Would you like to collect data and run experiments around specific actions people take on your website?
  • Would you like to customize the data you send to Google Analytics?
  • Are you okay with learning how to use a new tool?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, I would highly recommend leveraging Google Tag Manager. 

If you’re interested in exploring some resources to learn more about how to use GTM, here are a few great resources to check out:

As with most Google tools, there’s a bit of a learning curve involved, but don’t let that scare you. The more you learn, the more you’ll unleash the power of GTM and make marketing magic happen!

The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Free Guide:

The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization
Read the Guide
The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Free Guide:

The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Generate more traffic, leads, and sales with search engine optimization

In this free guide, you will learn:

  • What search engines are and who uses them.
  • What search engine optimization is and how it works.
  • Best practices for search engine optimization.

Topics:

Inbound Marketing
Search Engine Optimization
Reporting & Performance
Published on October 4, 2019

Recent Articles

Inbound Marketing for Construction Companies
June 11, 2022 • 11 min read
Inbound Marketing for Staffing Agencies
May 28, 2022 • 8 min read
Green Energy Inbound Marketing Strategy: The DIY Approach to Getting More Customers
May 7, 2022 • 9 min read
IMPACT+ for Teams vs. the They Ask, You Answer Mastery Program
April 15, 2022 • 7 min read
How To Grow Your Email List: 13 Savvy Tips To Try in 2022
April 7, 2022 • 9 min read
Inbound Marketing for Franchises: Attracting Your Audience
March 25, 2022 • 6 min read
3 Surefire Signs Your Content Is Hitting the Wrong Audience
March 18, 2022 • 5 min read
Inbound Marketing for Higher Education
March 11, 2022 • 9 min read
Starting a Business Blog? Features and Best Practices for Success in 2022
March 10, 2022 • 10 min read
11 Books Every Black Sales and Marketing Professional Should Read in 2022
March 5, 2022 • 10 min read
Commercial Real Estate Inbound Marketing Strategy: The Simple Way to Get More Customers
March 4, 2022 • 6 min read
Inbound Marketing for Financial Services Providers and Financial Advisors (+ examples)
February 19, 2022 • 10 min read
Inbound Marketing for IT Companies
February 11, 2022 • 11 min read
10 Reasons Why Your Website Is Not Ranking In Google
February 10, 2022 • 15 min read
Inbound Marketing for Manufacturers
February 4, 2022 • 12 min read
Inbound Marketing for Healthcare (+ Examples)
January 28, 2022 • 11 min read
How Much Does Inbound Marketing Cost in 2022?
January 24, 2022 • 12 min read
Inbound Marketing for Insurance Companies, Agencies, and Agents
January 21, 2022 • 7 min read
4 Signs Your Revenue Team Is Slowly Failing
October 23, 2021 • 9 min read
17 Examples of Inbound Marketing That Drive Sales
October 11, 2021 • 13 min read
HubSpot and Data Privacy: How to Collect Contacts the Right Way
October 4, 2021 • 4 min read
5 Key Elements of a Winning Inbound Marketing Plan
September 14, 2021 • 14 min read
The Fundamentals of Inbound Marketing
September 9, 2021 • 13 min read
Inbound Marketing Strategy: 7 Steps to Success
August 11, 2021 • 8 min read
How to Learn Inbound Marketing in 5 Easy Steps
August 4, 2021 • 7 min read