What is Google Tag Manger and why should I use it?


What is Google Tag Manager?

Updated 1 May 2020

You’ll likely have heard of Google Analytics and its benefits but not everybody has heard of Google Tag Manager (‘GTM’); even fewer use it for their own site. However, if you’re trying to improve visitor engagement and all-around improve your website performance, then Tag Manager is an important tool. Before we get into all the ways it can help benefit your site, let’s first take a look at exactly what Google Tag Manager is.

What is Google Tag Manager?

To put it in basic terms, it’s like a box where you can store all of your website’s tracking codes; that is, codes (or tags) you set up to track certain actions or visitor behaviours on your site. When they’re all in one place, it’s easy to change, add or remove any of the tags that you’re using to measure the success and use of your website. You’ll be able to see all of your individual tracking codes in one place and it’s a way to keep on top of what is sometimes a complicated aspect of maintaining your website.

Why should I use it?

It’s free!

We’re going to get to some more of the real advantages later on but first, let’s just outline one pretty big reason why it’s at least worth considering integrating Google Tag Manager into your website: it’s free.

So, what have you got to lose?

Now, there is a premium version available and there is a cost for using that but fear not, the free version is more than enough for most small and medium-sized businesses. In any case, if you’re so taken with the free version and you’ve learned what it can do and how beneficial it is, then at least you’ll know that it might be worth your money investing in the Google Tag Manager 360 option.

Give it a go risk-free and cost-free; you’ll likely find that it was worth your time and effort.

It’s simple to use

Some people naturally recoil with all things tech but even if you don’t have a wealth of tech knowledge, you’ll still likely find that there’s very little that’s scary about Google Tag Manager.

As with everything, there’s a little bit of a learning curve but nothing overly complicated. If you’ve managed other areas of your website, then you’ll find that you can pick it up pretty quickly.

You can track more data on your website

One of the primary advantages of using GTM is that it allows you to track more.

The more you track, the better your website will be: you’ll know what’s working, what isn’t, and so on.

For example, you’ll be able to track website clicks relating to purchase links that point towards third-party websites or for form completions. You’ll find plenty of use if you’re hosting videos on your website too as GTM can tell you how many people are watching your video content and for how long.

It can even tell you the scroll behaviour of your visitors, too; for example, how far down the page they are going? Do they get bored and hit the X button before they get to your website’s good stuff? Then you’ll know that you need to bump that info up to a higher position.

It’s secure

It’s never been more important to stay on top of your website’s security. These are dangerous cybercrime times after all.

In order to keep your data secure and to build trust with your website visitors, you need to be doing all you can to make sure that nothing untoward is happening behind the scenes without your knowledge. Most Google products are pretty hot when it comes to security and GTM is no different.

Any tags you add will automatically be scanned by the software to ensure that there’s nothing sinister going on. The manager also allows you to give and revoke access to other parties as and when needed, so you can also be in full control.

Make sure things are working as intended on your site

Everyone knows that there’s nothing worse than putting in a lot of time and effort to improve your website only to find that, after you’ve hit the launch button, all you’ve done is created chaos.

The website or sections of it may not work as you intended.

When you’re dealing with tags, there’s plenty of potential for things to go slightly askew, however, the boffins of Google were thoughtful enough to think ahead and give us a way out of this problem.

Google Tag Manager allows you to check for any problems before you execute the plan. It’ll both ensure that you don’t do any harm to your site, and also prevent your visitors from seeing the site in the transition phase.

Version control of any changes you make

You never quite know what will happen to your website as you make changes. You might make a few changes but then, after a few days, realise that things were better as they were previously.

Instead of having to undo all the changes you made, you can simply revert to an older version. GTM comes with version control as standard. Every time you make changes, a new copy is made, and the old one stays there intact.

It comes with ‘pre-loaded’ tags

We said earlier that GTM was useful for people with minimal experience and to further that claim, we point to the presence of existing tags that are built-in to the platform. Rather than adding all of them yourself, the manager comes with many of the big hitters that every website needs already loaded. It’ll all be ready to go.

Easy to manage

Ultimately, the main benefit of Google Tag Manager is that it’s good for the performance and health of your website and to maintain that health, GTM is easy for you to manage.

While you could do many of the things that the GTM does by using other means, having everything in one place and easily changeable makes everything much more straightforward.

Give it a go; you’ll soon find that you’re benefiting from the advantages outlined above as well as many others, and all without too much fuss or stress.

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