Take the plunge – Switch to Google Tag Manager!

In Search Technology, SEO Strategyby Louis Venter

Recently, the thing that really hit home for me was that we could have our hands on so much more useful info from our websites if we simply made the effort and switched to Google Tag Manager. I’ve set up event firing in the past, labelled up checkout forms and submit buttons with arduous code snippets and then shied away from it due to just how much effort it took to get right.

When recently faced with a new project on a tight timeline where I didn’t know what goals I was going to need to track,  I requested a Google Tag Manager container to be put on the site, leaving me to work out and deploy the goals down the line.

The freedom it brings you (as an agency, as a marketer or client side) is quite enlightening. It just removes that whole burden of needing to deal with multiple people to get bits of the site labelled up, and as a result you find yourself focussing more on what information you actually want to track without worrying about the implementation. As a result, I actually defined and put into place a lot more tracking that I normally would have and in a  shorter amount of time! The results – very pleasing stats and graphs for the client just a short while later!

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Just do it!

Google Tag manager has been around for over a year now and yet I see very few implementations of it. Third party tag management software has existed for years; however, it has mostly remained in the domain of the corporates with larger budgets. Like many others, I’ve just not needed to switch to a tag management solution as my analytic code was running just fine. If I did need a tracking change it was just easier to drop in more code. Trust me – take the plunge and put it in place.

  • It’s free
  • It’s easy
  • You don’t have to go all-out
  • It’s inspiring – gives you the space to quickly try new things

The challenges

There aren’t many. There are a few things to look out for, of course. In my first case I did mess up the site bounce rate initially as I was firing too many rules but that was perhaps due to being overly keen with the tracking. Once you have worked out the basic management of the tags then a simple traditional installation is a 5 minute walk in the park.

If you have a more complex analytics situation then you will also be more likely to understand all the formatting and variables that the more advanced features of Tag Manager offer you. Features such as passing custom variable values will take a bit more working out; however, having been around for a good little while now there are a lot of help articles and videos out there for you to look at.  Here are a couple:

Don’t forget

Of course you should all already be using the ‘Tag Assistant’ chrome extension.

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It’s a stand-alone tool that has been invaluable just to check that the existing analytics code is firing properly. It goes hand in hand of course with Google Tag Manager and you can quickly check that at least your basic tracking is in place and working. In fact, it was inspecting my sites with Tag Assistant that led me to discover just how badly implemented and outdated my tracking code was across our client sites, and the quickest and easiest way of cleaning this up was to make the switch – Do it!

About the Author

Louis Venter

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