How to Use Google Tag Manager
Understanding how to use Google Tag Manager can actually make one’s life easier.
Tags are small pieces of code added to web pages that allow a business to track certain activities that occur within a web page separate from the web page traffic itself, such as form fills, ebook downloads, newsletter sign-up, etc.
Therefore understanding how to use Google Tag Manager can actually make one’s life easier.
If you do not have a Google Tag Manager, please read “How to Guide – Google Tag Manager” before continuing with this article.
Every analytic tool on planet earth has its own lingo. If you have never used a specific tool before, not understanding this lingo can make it difficult. Google Tag Manager is no different.
There are three specific terms that one needs to fully understand when working with Google Tag Manager.
Each of these categories make up an essential aspect of the Google Tag Manager system.
Tags – As covered above are small pieces of code. This code is used by marketing platforms and analytics systems to integrate with sites and even mobile applications.
Google Analytics uses these tags to track user interaction with a website or app. The Tag Manager acts as an interface to make it easier to control the different tags within a website. Google Tag Manager obviously uses all Google tags, but works with a number of third-party tags as well (Supported Tags).
Triggers – A trigger is a small piece of code built into a specific page that tracks events. Events are user interactions with content that can be measured independently from a web-page or load screen.
Thus when an action is taken or accomplished (click on a link, clicks on other elements, a specific time met, or a form is submitted etc) this is a trigger and the Google Tag Manager collects the information of what happened.
Whenever one of the events happens it triggers the tag, but you can apply filters to only gather the information you want.
Variables – A variable relates to both Triggers and Tags. I’ll be completely honest, there is a lot of technical information that goes into setting up variables.
I’ll try to keep this as basic as possible. When dealing with triggers the variable determines when the tag should actually fire and when dealing with tags it tells the tag exactly what information to gather. That is the simplicity of it.
How to Create a Tag
There is a lot that Google Tag Manager can do, but its most basic function is creating tags. Once you have set up a few tags the process becomes easier and you can do it easily.
For now, we are going to walk you through a step by step process of how to set up a Page Views tag.
In the container you will see a “New Tag” field. Click on the add new tag link. And it will take you to this window.
In the upper left hand corner there is a place to name the tag. Ensure the name is something that will easily identify exactly what the tag is doing.
There are two options to pick here. Tag configuration or Triggering. Click on the Tag Configuration box. This will take you to the next section.
Once you have done that it will bring you back to this:
Which will open up this screen for you to use.
So click the save button in the upper right corner. It will tell you that you haven’t picked a firing yet, that is ok. Just save the tag.
Now in the left handle panel of Google Tag Manager you will see a variables tab. Click it.
It will open up this section:
Now let’s go back to the tag that we saved. It will be under the tags tab.
What we are going to do now is uncheck that box “Enable overriding setting in this tag”.
Now we have created our first tag and have it configured. We now need to handle the Trigger.
Press the save button and you have everything set.
Before this tag will actually start collecting information you will need to publish it, but before you publish a tag, you should always ensure that everything is working properly.
In the main overview window of Google Tag Manager you will see a preview button:
Once this has been tested and works, just hit the submit button and everything is good to go!
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