Development, Marketing

Google Tag Manager as a Marketing Tool

To update a script or pixel on your marketing website, are you forced to fire off an email to your digital agency/IT team with a request for the relevant updates, or are you using the right tools to get the job done quickly and efficiently?

The Two-Minute Rule

If something takes you less than two minutes to do, you should just do it.

Following the Two-Minute Rule allows you to get stuff done right there and then, instead of taking up brain space and having to track items on your to-do list. To update a script or pixel on your marketing site, do you have to fire off an email to your digital agency with a request for the relevant updates, add a to-do item to verify when completed, and then wait (much longer than two minutes) for a reply? If so, you’re not reaping the benefits of Google Tag Manager (GTM).

Google Tag Manager (GTM)

Google Tag Manager (GTM) is JavaScript that you can use to dynamically load content onto your site. The content is broadly defined as “tags” (script elements, code snippets, and images). Since it is a Google product, its feature set is extensive. You can think of it as a single hard-coded script element that can be used to pull in other pieces of code and images on defined pages at defined events.

Getting Started

You’ll want to set up a GTM account and include the GTM script on all your pages. If you’re using WordPress, this is easy to do with Google Tag Manager for WordPress. Once you have GTM installed, you can start adding scripts on the fly.

There are several parts to adding a script:

  1. Create a Tag
  2. Add a Trigger
  3. Preview
  4. Publish

Creating a Tag

There are 50+ ready to go tags from Google Analytics to Google Optimize to AdRoll to HotJar. If your tag is not listed, you can add custom scripts or images.

Adding a Trigger

Triggers control when a tag is included on a page. The simplest trigger – available by default – is the All Pages – Page View trigger. Custom triggers include page views of specific pages, clicks on elements using CSS selectors, scroll depth, etc.

Previewing

Click on the preview link and visit your site. This will automatically open a panel where you can see whether your tags are being added and triggered.

Publishing

Once you’re satisfied that everything is working the way you want, publish your changes. GTM keeps track of things with versions. This makes it easy to roll back and understand what is live.

Another feature that helps with publishing is workspaces. When you’re working on a new change, that change is in draft mode. Workspaces allows you test multiple possible changes by putting each one in a different workspace. This is generally only helpful on large teams.

[Bonus Tip] Chrome Extension

Another tool to help you with the publishing of tags is the Chrome extension. It’s an easy way to verify the tags on a page.

Summary

There’s a lot more to GTM. You can use variables and multiple environments if you want to test your changes in a staging environment.

The entire workflow can seem overwhelming. Remember, the end goal is the freedom to manage your own pixels and scripts, so the learning the ins and outs will be well worth it.

However, for more complicated scenarios—and to strategize about the general approach to use—you’ll still want to rely on the marketing expertise of your digital agency. Those discussions will feel much more fulfilling and valuable than, “Please update my HotJar id from 12345 to 7890.”

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