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Google Tag Manager for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide For 2024

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Google Tag Manager for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide For 2024

Read time 9 min read

Understand your Google Analytics + test your SEO in 60 seconds! Diib easily syncs with Google Analytics and then uses the power of big data to help you quickly and easily increase your traffic and rankings. We’ll even let you know if you already deserve to rank higher for certain keywords. As seen in Entrepreneur!


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Google Tag Manager is one of the most talked-about tools in digital marketing, but what exactly is it, and why should you care? In this ultimate guide, we’ll break down the jargon, explore the benefits, and help you take control of your website data with GTM. Whether you’re new to website analytics or looking to level up your tracking, this guide is for you.

What Is Google Tag Manager?

It’s a free tool that acts as your website’s central hub for all your tracking codes. Instead of cluttering up your website’s code with multiple snippets, you neatly store them within GTM. This makes adding, editing, or even removing these tags incredibly easy.

Why GTM Is a Must-Have for Your Website

You might be thinking, “Why should I bother with this? My website works fine as it is.” Fair enough. But GTM makes them work better. Here are five ways GTM can elevate your online presence:

1. Take Control of Your Tracking Codes

No more relying on developers to add or modify tags. With GTM’s user-friendly interface, you can update your tracking codes yourself.

2. Boost Your Website’s Performance

A slow website can scare away customers. GTM optimizes how your tags load, ensuring they don’t slow down your website. This means happier visitors who are more likely to stick around and explore.

3. Gain Invaluable Customer Insights

GTM integrates seamlessly with Google Analytics and other analytics tools. This means you can collect detailed data on visitor behavior, which helps you understand what’s working on your site and what needs improvement. It’s like having a magnifying glass for your website traffic.

4. Optimize Your Marketing Campaigns

GTM lets you track the success of your marketing campaigns. You’ll see which ads are driving traffic and conversions, so you can invest your marketing budget wisely.

5. Make Smarter Decisions

GTM gives you the data to make effective decisions about your website and marketing strategies. By understanding how visitors interact with your site, you can refine your content, improve the user experience, and ultimately increase your bottom line.

In short, Google Tag Manager can help you take your website to the next level. It’s user-friendly, free, and packed with features that will streamline your website management, enhance your analytics, and optimize your marketing efforts.

How to Get Google Tag Manager on Your Website

You understand what Google Tag Manager (GTM) is and why it matters. Now, let’s get it working on your site. Think of this as laying the groundwork for better tracking and insights.

Set Up Your GTM Account

First, create a free Google Tag Manager account. Visit the Google Tag Manager website and sign up with your Google account. It’s quick and simple.

After you sign in, create a “container” for your website. This container will house all your tracking codes. Name it something clear and easy to remember, like “Your Website Name – GTM.”

Install the GTM Code

Next, install GTM. GTM will give you two snippets of code:

  • Head Code: This code goes in the <head> section of your website’s HTML.
  • Body Code: This code goes right after the opening <body> tag of your website’s HTML.

How you add the code depends on your website platform:

  • If you built your website on WordPress, use a plugin. Many great GTM plugins automatically add the code to your site’s header and body sections.
  • Shopify users can usually install GTM through their theme settings or a Shopify App Store app.
  • If you have a custom website, ask your web developer to add the GTM code snippets to the right places in your site’s HTML.

Don’t worry if you aren’t familiar with HTML or website code. The process is usually easy. Many online resources and tutorials can help.

Check Your Installation

After you add the GTM code to your website, verify it works correctly. GTM offers a preview mode so you can see if your tags fire as expected.

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With GTM successfully installed, you can add tags, set up triggers, and use data to improve your website and marketing.

Google Tag Manager Best Practices

After installing Google Tag Manager (GTM) on your website, practice the following tips so you get the most out of this tool.

Organize Your Data

Your website’s data, such as product details, customer data, or page types, provides a complete picture of your online business. A data layer helps organize this information, making it accessible to GTM. This organized data ensures that GTM captures the right information and sends accurate data to your analytics tools.

Organize your data if you run an eCommerce or Shopify store. It helps you track which products customers view, add to their carts, or purchase. This information helps make sense of your sales funnel, measure the effectiveness of your marketing, and personalize your customer’s experience.

Keep Your GTM Workspace Tidy

As you add more tags to GTM, it’s important to keep things organized. This makes managing your tags and troubleshooting easier. Here are a few tips:

Name Tags, Triggers, and Variables Clearly

Use names that tell you what each item does. For example, instead of “Tag 1,” name it “Google Analytics – Purchase Event.”

Use Folders

Group similar tags together. You could create folders for different tag types (analytics, marketing, etc.) or different website sections.

Document your Work

Add notes to your tags, triggers, and variables. Explain their purpose and any changes you make. This will help if you need to troubleshoot or make changes later.

Test Everything Before Going Live

Before publishing changes in GTM, test your tags. This ensures they work correctly and collect the data you need. GTM’s Preview and Debug mode is a great tool for this. It shows you which tags fire on each page of your website and the data they collect. Test different user interactions to verify that your tags work as expected.

Remember, testing is an ongoing process. As you add new tags or change your website, retest your GTM configuration to make sure everything still works.

Advanced Google Tag Manager Features

Custom HTML Tags

Do you want to track something specific on your website that isn’t covered by the standard tags? Custom HTML tags let you track unique interactions or events important to your business. Add your snippets of code to your website to track clicks on specific buttons, measure how far visitors scroll down a page, or send data to a different analytics platform.

While this feature is great, use it with caution and ensure any custom code you add is secure and won’t slow down your website.

Custom Templates

Custom templates are like pre-made recipes for tracking specific actions on your website. The GTM community creates these templates, and you can easily import and customize them to fit your website.

For instance, find a custom template to track form submissions. Import it, adjust it if needed, and start tracking. This feature helps you implement advanced tracking without writing any code yourself.

As you become more familiar with Google Tag Manager, explore these advanced features to expand your tracking and gain deeper insights into your website’s performance.

Start Using Google Tag Manager Today

Ready to try Google Tag Manager? Create a free account and explore its features. Experiment with different tags, triggers, and variables. Google Tag Manager is an effective tool that can transform your website into a data powerhouse. With a little effort and guidance, you’ll uncover valuable insights and achieve impressive results.

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Daniel Urmann

Author Bio:

Daniel Urmann is the co-founder of Diib.com. Over the past 17 years Daniel has helped thousands of business grow online through SEO, social media, and paid advertising. Today, Diib helps over 150,000 business globally grow online with their SaaS offerings. Daniel’s interest include SMB analytics, big data, predictive analytics, enterprise and SMB search engine optimization (SEO), CRO optimization, social media advertising, A/B testing, programatic and geo-targeting, PPC, and e-commerce. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) focused in Finance and E-commerce from Cornell University – S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management.


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