September 30, 2020
A Quick Guide to Bulk Actions in Google Tag Manager
Fresh from the oven. Google Tag Manager has introduced a feature I wanted for a long time, bulk actions. No more “delete one-by-one”, trying to solve this with Chrome plugins or APIs.
If you want to delete several items in the container, you can just click checkboxes next to them and then hit the delete button. It’s that simple.
P.S. bulk actions are not only related to deletion. Let me show you.
Where can you find them?
Bulk actions are available in the following lists:
- Clients (they are in the server-side containers)
By default, they are hidden but you can quickly reveal them by having at least one checkbox clicked in the list.
What bulk actions are available in the GTM UI?
In total, there are three possible bulk actions:
- Pause (immediately pauses all selected tags BUT you still need to publish the container to have these changes live)
- Move to folder (previously, you could items to the folder only in the Folders section)
But not all of them are available in every list within GTM:
- “Pause” is available only in the Tags list
- “Move to folder” is available in Tags, Triggers, Variables, Clients
- “Delete” is available in Tags, Triggers, Variables, Templates, Clients
Conflicts when you delete in bulk
If you are deleting some item that is used in another asset within the container (for example, a trigger that is used in another tag), Google Tag Manager will return a list of errors that you will need to resolve.
You have two options here:
- You can either close that window with the list of errors and then resolve every error
- Or you can click directly on the item that has an error, then fix the error (e.g. remove the trigger from a tag) and then go back to the list of errors and click the Retry button in the top right corner. The errors that have been resolved will be hidden.
In case you missed that
The feature that I’m about to show you has been around for quite some time but I still wanted to mention. Maybe some of my readers will hear about this for the first time.
You can add multiple triggers at the same time.
When you are in the tag and you click on the Triggering section, you’ll see a list of all triggers in your container. Now, hover your mouse on the trigger icon. It will change to the checkbox.
Now you can select multiple triggers and link them to a tag at the same time.
Some room for improvement
This is definitely a time saver but while playing with it, I started wanting one more thing: bulk copy/paste. Something similar to Google Ads.
I wish I could select certain items in my container, click Copy button, and then I’d like to go to another container and click Paste, CTRL + V, or CMD + V, and those items would be added there.
Yes, I understand that this is a much larger feature to develop than, for example, bulk pause, but this would definitely be a cool and useful improvement. While this is just a dream, we should continue using gtmtools.com, built-in partial export, or copy/paste Chrome extension to do the job.
This nice update will make my GTM audits a little faster. I didn’t have any issues with the bulk “move to folder” because that one was available in the Folders section. However, bulk delete and bulk pause are real time savers.
For example, you can go to the Triggers list and in that very same list, you can see how many triggers have 0 tags associated. Now, feel free to delete them with several clicks.
You can also identify which tags or variables are not used in Simo’s gtmtools.com. Once you do that, bulk delete (once again) becomes your best friend.