What is Google Tag Manager and Why Should You Use it?

A Brief Intro to Google Tag Manager (GTM)

To everyone who doesn’t know, Google Tag Manager is a free tool that permits you to deploy and manage marketing tags (pieces of code or tracking pixels) on your website or mobile app without modifying the source code. Tags are pieces of information added to a site to gather data that would be sent to third parties, and it could be used for several purposes. To illustrate, details from one data source, your website, is shared with another data source, analytics, through Google Tag Manager. Sites usually have quite a few tags, and the amount of code needed to create them can be quite overwhelming. GTM is very useful since it simplifies the process, especially if you have tons of tags to deal with since all of the code is kept in one place. A significant advantage of GTM is that marketers can handle the system independently without depending on web developers to do it for them. It may sound easy, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. 

 Is Google Tag Manager user-friendly?

Google describes GTM as “Google Tag Manager helps make tag management easy, simple, and reputable by permitting marketers and webmasters to release site tags all in one place.” While the advantage of GTM is that any marketer can use it without requiring the help of a web developer, the truth is that it only lessens the dependence on web developers but does not entirely remove it. Unfortunately, GTM is not as straightforward to use if you don’t have at least some basic knowledge or training. Adequate knowledge on how to set up tags, variables, and triggers are needed. Moreover, you need to know how Facebook tracking pixels work if you’re considering dropping in Facebook pixels. Consequently, you’ll still need help to add the container code to each page of your website. 

Suppose you wish to set up event tracking in GTM. In that case, it’s crucial that you have some basic knowledge on what ‘events’ are, what data you can trace with events, how Google Analytics works, what the reports look like, and what you denominate your categories, actions, and labels. While it is not difficult to manage multiple tags in GTM, there is still a learning curve. It’s important to remember that there are three main parts to GTM:

Tags: pieces of Javascript or tracking pixels

Triggers: This directs the GTM how or when to fire a tag

Variables: These are additional data that the GTM may need for the tag and the trigger to work


Tags are pieces of code or tracking pixels that are added to a website to gather data that would be sent to third parties, and it could be used for several purposes. It could be used to conduct surveys, monitor form submissions, remarketing, monitor file downloads, etc. These tags notify GTM on what to do. Some examples of common tags within GTM are Adwords Remarketing Code, Facebook pixels, Google Analytics Universal tracking code, Adwords Conversion Tracking code, and Heatmap tracking code (Hotjar, CrazyEgg, Bing Ads, etc.). You can even add your custom code if there’s a tag that doesn’t have a template in GTM.



 Each tag is created to serve a particular purpose. For example, you have a tag that informs you when someone downloads a file. This event is known as a trigger. All tags must have at least one trigger assigned to it. Otherwise, it won’t do anything. Triggers inform GTM when to do what you want it to do. 


Variables are additional details that GTM may need to ensure that your tag and trigger will work. Tags depend on triggers, while triggers depend on variables. The trigger evaluates the value contained in the variables to ascertain whether or not it should fire. The tag will only fire if the variable meets the trigger’s conditions by comparing the value of the variable to the value specified in the trigger. The most basic constant variable that can be created in GTM is the Google Analytics UA number (the tracking ID number). If you want to start managing tags on your own, then you must understand the basic aspects of GTM. 

Difference between Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics?

Google Tag Manager is a vastly different tool employed just for keeping and managing third-party code. There are no reports or analyses in GTM.

On the other hand, Google Analytics is used for actual reporting and analysis. Analytics manages all conversion tracking goals or filters. Additionally, all reporting (e-commerce sales, time on page, engagement reports, conversion reports, custom sections, bounce rate, etc.) are performed in Google Analytics.

Advantages of Google Tag Manager

  1. Marketers can add or make changes to their tags on their own without relying on web developers since GTM helps avoid touching the source code
  2. It has a preview and debug mode, making it easier to check what’s working or it before it goes live
  3. It works even with non-Google items.
  4. It shows what tags are firing on the page
  5. All third-party code is stored in one location
  6. It may help your website load much faster, depending upon the number of tags you are using.
  7. You have the flexibility to mess around and appraise almost anything you want.
  8. Data that is sent to analytics can be tailored
  9. You can track PDF downloads, outbound link clicks, or promotion tracking, etc. 


Disadvantages of Google Tag Manager

1. Even for the standard setup, technical knowledge is required.

Check out the guide from Google on how to set up Google Tag Manager. Once you’re done with the “Quick Start Guide,” it takes you to a designer guide, which will not make sense if you’re a first time user.


2. You will need to invest time. 

If you’re not an experienced designer, you will need to exert considerable time and effort to learn more about how it works. 


3. Allocate a specific time to address troubleshooting issues.

When establishing tags, triggers, and variables, many mistakes occur, especially if you’re not generally in Tag Manager. You’ll need a designer who understands how the website was developed for more complex tags. 


Here are some examples of what can be tracked in GTM: Shopping cart destination, All exit link clicks, Scroll Tracking, Events (link clicks, PDF downloads, contribute to haul click, get rid of from cart click), Type Abandonment, and Video view tracking.

 GTM has a lot to offer, and everything discussed in this article has barely scratched the surface of what can be done in GTM. Nevertheless, learning in-depth on how it works and how to use it can be quite overwhelming. Check out other resources so that you’ll know how to get the most out of GTM. 

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