Tracking traffic to your website can be a complicated process if you are just getting started. There seems to be too many options, too many confusing words, and little information on what the differences between options are.
Don’t worry. Today’s guide is a beginner’s introduction to Google Tag Manager. Google Tag Manager, or GTM, is Google’s solution to traffic tracking with tags, otherwise known as pixels, scripts, or tracking codes. At the basic level, GTM allows you to install, manage, and track multiple pixels you have on your website.
In this guide, you’ll gain an understanding of GTM fundamentals. We’ll also go over how to create two important tags: Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel.
For many out there already doing some sort of tracking for their website, it's likely that they currently have too many individual tags running at the same time. Tags, pixels, scripts, or tracking codes are blurbs of code that collect information about users who visit your website.
However, when the bloated code for each tag adds up, your site’s performance and speed take the biggest toll. Managing these tags is also very difficult, since you probably need to test the tags, update them, and hope they don’t break your website entirely.
Fortunately, there is a solution to all of the above concerns. Even better: its free! Google Tag Manager is Google’s free tag management system that enables you to manage all the tags on your website without any coding!
GTM allows you to maintain a list of tags for site analytics, conversion tracking, remarketing, and more. Because of its effective, accurate, and efficient user experience, GTM has been adopted at large both the marketing and analytics communities. Some benefits of GTM include:
Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics are completely different tools. Google Tag Manager is a tag management system where you can add and update different scripts and pixels to track any behaviors on a specific website and then send those behaviors to different tracking tools, including Google Analytics which then saves that data.
Google Analytics is just one of the tracking tools Google Tag Manager can be integrated with. It can also be integrated with other third-party tracking tools such as comScore, CrazyEgg, Segment, LinkedIn Insight, etc.
The first thing you need to do is set up a Google Tag Manager account. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth setup:
Step #1: Visit the Google Tag Manager website and click the “Start for Free” button.
Next, you’ll need to enter your account name, country, your website URL, and where you’d like to use your Google tag (Web, iOS, Android, AMP).
When you’re done, hit the ‘Create’ button.
Step #2: Next, you’ll be shown Google Tag Manager’s Terms of Service agreement. Accept the terms and click the ‘Yes’ button.
Step #3: Next, you’ll be given be given two codes: one needs to be copied and pasted high in the <head> tag of your page and the other code needs to be pasted immediately after the opening <body> tag.
Once you’ve done that, click ‘Ok’.
Pro Tip: If you use WordPress, then we highly recommend you install the free ‘Insert Headers and Footers’ plugin. This plugin lets you insert codes (including Google tag) to your site’s header and footer without the need to edit your theme files.
Step #4: Now that your account is setup, you’d want to set up your first tag.
From your Google Tag Manager dashboard, click the ‘Add a New Tag’ button. Then click anywhere in the ‘Tag Configuration’ box.
Here you’ll be shown all the available tag types, including Google tags (Google Analytics, Google Ads, etc.), custom tags (Custom HTML, Custom Image, etc.), and third-party tags (CrazyEgg, LinkedIn Insight, Bing Ads, etc.)
In this example, we’ll focus on tracking our tag in Google Analytics.
Step #5: In the next step, select ‘Google Analytics – Universal Analytics’ as the tag type. In the new window, select ‘Page View’ as the track type from the drop-down options and then click on ‘Select Settings Variable’ -> ‘New Variable’.
Here, you need to enter your Google Analytics Tracking ID. Once you’ve done that, hit the ‘Save’ button.
Next, click anywhere on the Triggering box and choose a trigger. We chose ‘All Pages’ as the variable because it will allow us to track page views for all pages on our website.
Once you’re done, hit the ‘Save’ button and rename the tag.
Step #6: Click the ‘Submit’ button and you’ll be taken to the ‘Submission Configuration’ page. You’ll see two options on top: ‘Publish and Create Version’ and ‘Create Version’.
We chose ‘Publish and create Version’ because we were ready to publish our tag to all the pages on our site. Next, give a version name and description to keep your tags organized. Once you’ve done that, click the ‘Publish’ button.
When you’re done, you’ll be taken to the ‘Versions’ tab where you can see the version changes, activity history, etc. Now click the ‘Workspace’ tab on top. You’ll notice that Workspace changes are back to zero which means you’ve successfully created your first tag in Google Tag Manager.
Pro Tip: Once the tag is published, make sure you install a free Chrome extension called Google Tag Assistant. Once it’s installed, you can visit any page on your website to see if the tags you inserted are firing correctly.
Now that you’ve integrated Google Analytics with Google Tag Manager, let’s install Facebook Pixel using Google Tag Manager. The best part about Facebook Pixel integration with Google Tag Manager is that you don’t have to manually set it up as you did with Google Analytics above. Facebook will do that work for you.
Just follow these steps to ensure a smooth and hassle-free integration:
Step #1: Login to your Facebook account and head over to Facebook Ads Manager.
From here, navigate to All Tools -> Events Manager -> Partner Integrations.
Step #2: Here, you will notice various integration options from five different categories. Scroll down until you find Google Tag Manager under Tag Management.
Click the ‘Google Tag Manager’ option.
Facebook will open a new window where you will be prompted to select the Facebook Pixel you want to track (in case you have multiple pixels setup on Facebook) and connect your Google Tag Manager account.
Verify and confirm the settings, and you’re all set. Visit a few pages on your website and see if the tag is firing correctly.
As you can imagine, Google Tag Manager can be used for a lot more than just tracking your web traffic in Google Analytics and implementing your Facebook pixel. This guide was an attempt to familiarize you with the tool and to help you get started by installing two of the most necessary tags on your website.
Try setting up other tags (Twitter Analytics, LinkedIn Insight, etc.) using Google Tag Manager and make the whole process of tracking traffic and conversions on your website smoother and more efficient. Through using tags, you can acquire important data that is relevant to your business and your customers’ habits. This will allow you to make actionable insights in the future that will enable you to take your business to the next level. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. We also offer a number of services for which Google Tags Manager is an integral component, so if you would like to know how Google Tags Manager can benefit your individual business, feel free to reach out or schedule one of our free consultations!