Why You Should Use Google Tag Manager

An overview of Google Tag Manager – what it is, why you should use it, and how to get started.

Why you should use Google Tag Manager
These days more and more people are adopting Google Tag Manager as their preferred way to set up site tracking. In this article, we will provide an overview of what Google Tag Manager is, why you should use it, and how to get started.

What Exactly is Google Tag Manager?

Google Tag Manager is a free tag management system that lets you manage all of your website tags from a single web interface just by adding one snippet of code to your site. But before we go further into Tag Manager, lets talk tags.

Tags are snippets of code that you add to your website to understand user behavior, monitor online advertising campaigns, or measure traffic to your site. Common marketing systems that would ask you to add tags to your site include:

  • Google Analytics – Google Analytics tags track website visitation and user engagement with items on your site like buttons, forms, and more.
  • Google AdWords – Google AdWords tags measure whether users that you are advertising at complete your intended actions, like making a purchase or requesting information.
  • Facebook Advertising – Similar to Google AdWords tags, Facebook tags assess how many users from your Facebook campaigns completed your desired on-site actions.
  • AdRoll Remarketing – Remarketing tags like those used by AdRoll place a cookie on your visitor’s browsers so that you advertise to your website visitors across the web, remaining top of mind.

Managing all these separate tags can be complicated and messy. Cue the awesomeness of Google Tag Manager! Instead of asking your developer to add website tags to your site or messing around with code yourself, you can simply hop into the visually intuitive Google Tag Manager interface and set up tags with just a few clicks. Yes, please!

Why Should You Use It?

  1. Flexibility – as stated above, the core value of Tag Manager is that you can update your website tags quickly and easily, freeing you up to work on more exciting things related to your business!
  2. Plug & Play – Tag Manager comes with a number of pre-built templates, including tags for Google Analytics, AdWords conversions, Remarketing, and other ad networks.
  3. Event Listeners – event listeners make it easy to track Google Analytics events on your site like link clicks, button clicks, and form submissions.
  4. Avoid Redundancy – over time it’s easy for sites to accrue many tags from different sources. Google Tag Manager keeps all your tags organized in one place.
  5. Versioning and Process Control – Tag Manager allows you to create snapshots of the currents state of your tags, so if anything goes awry you can always roll back to a previous version.

Examples of Tags You Can Set Up with Google Tag Manager

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Analytics Events (a couple examples include link clicks, button clicks, and video plays)
  • AdWords Conversion Pixel
  • DoubleClick Floodlight Tags
  • Google Remarketing
  • Custom HTML
  • Custom Image Tags

If those aren’t enough for you, below is a screenshot from Google Tag Manager highlighting some of the top tags you're allowed to add to your site.

Top tags allowed in Goolge Tag Manager

Who Doesn’t Need Google Tag Manager?

If you meet both of the following conditions, you can probably skip Google Tag manager:

  1. Basic Google Analytics Tracking Needs – you have a basic configuration of Google Analytics and don’t need to track any custom events, form submissions, link clicks, visitation across multiple domains.
  2. Don’t Use Tags From Multiple Vendors –you don’t do any on-site tracking outside of Google Analytics.

A basic Google Analytics installation and Google Tag Manager both require you to add one snippet of code to your site, so if you don’t plan to add any other code to your site you can probably skip Google Tag Manager. However, if you know you will end up needing to add more tags or adjust your customize your Google Analytics tag, Google Tag Manager is probably your best bet.

How Do You Install Google Tag Manager?

So now that you’re convinced that Google Tag Manager is right for you, here is a high-level overview of what you need to do to get started. In this example, we show how to create a Google Tag Manager account, install it on your site, and set up basic Google Analytics tracking.

Step 1: Create a Google Tag Manager account at

Create a Google Tag Manager account

Step 2: Grab the Google Tag Manager container code and paste it after the opening <body> tag on your site

copy Google Tag Manager container code

Step 3: Select the type of tag you want to track and fill in any relevant details.

Once you select the type of tag you want to add, Tag Manager will ask you for any relevant details associated with the tag. In the case of Google Analytics, it will ask you for your Account-ID so that it knows where to send tracking data.

Select the type of tag you want to track

Step 4: Add a firing rule to tell Google Tag Manager when the tag should fire.

Add a firing rule

Step 5: Publish your tags!

Once you create your tags, all you need to do is hit the red publish button and your tracking codes will be live.

Publish your tags

That’s it. So what are you waiting for? Start managing those tags!

About the author

  • Casey Davenport
  • Casey Davenport is an experienced internet marketer who has worked with many brands to develop successful digital analytics, search engine optimization, user experience, paid search, social media marketing, and retargeting strategies. She currently heads Digital Strategy for RocketBike Marketing out of Portsmouth, VA. When she’s not keeping up with the latest in digital trends, Casey enjoys running, reading, & eating tacos.
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