May 10, 2020
Top 22 Google Tag Manager Extensions and Tools for Fast and Efficient Work
Updated: May 10th, 2020. A lot of new things have happened in the industry since the first time when I published this blog post (back in early 2017). Almost three years have passed and a lot of new tools were developed (or discovered). The time has come for the 5th version of this list.
If you’re using Google Tag Manager as often as I do, you’re probably looking for new ways to improve your performance, catch bugs faster and deliver the final result without much hassle. If my guess was right, you’ll enjoy these 22 Google Tag Manager extensions and tools (and not all of them are just for Google Chrome). And the best part – they’re all free! So do not hesitate and give them a shot.
All Google Tag Manager Extensions are displayed in no particular order.
- Tag Assistant (Legacy) + Tag Assistant Companion
- Data Slayer
- Data Layer Sifter
- Da Vinci Tools
- GTM Sonar
- dataLayer Inspector+
- GTM Variable Builder
- Data Layer Checker
- Copy CSS Selector
- GTM Tools
- GTM Copy Paste
- customTask Builder
- GTM Debug
- GTM Spy
- GA Debugger
- Redirect Path
- Facebook Pixel Helper
- Twitter Pixel Helper
- UET Tag Helper
The Tag Assistant Chrome extension is a very useful tool in testing and debugging your implementation. Not only does it help with troubleshooting of Google Tag Manager, but also Google Ads, Analytics, DoubleClick, and other tools can be easily verified.
One of the most powerful features within the extension is recordings. This allows you to “record” a browsing session and produce a report on all of the hits being sent through and even how they will potentially show up within Google Analytics. By the way, you can find my guide on this extension here.
However, as you have already noticed, the name of the extension contains the word “Legacy”. Eventually, this extension will be deprecated. So if that happens, then you can use a lighter version of the extension, and it is called Tag Assistant Companion. Even though it does not have Legacy’s debugging features, it will still enhance your GTM’s preview and debug mode.
Another entry in this list of Google Tag Manager Extensions, Dataslayer, adds a panel to Chrome Developer Tools that monitor tag management data layers and displays changes in an easy-to-read, user-friendly format.
Not only does it support Google Tag Manager, but it also plays well with Tealium.
This Google Tag Manager extension helps you find DOM elements and their values within the Data Layer fast. GTM dataLayer Sifter can be used to search a particular event in the Data Layer for a DOM element to be used in Google Tag Manager.
If this is still difficult to comprehend, here is a sample use case of what you can achieve with DL Sifter:
If you wish to track Form Field values, you need to define the element’s “path” on the website. This might be really time-consuming, but with the help of Data Layer Sifter, this can be achieved much easier.
You can learn more about Data Layer Sifter in this video tutorial.
Update: It looks like this plugin is no longer available as it returns a 404 error in the Chrome Store. However, I’ll still keep this here for a while (because maybe that’s a temporary issue).
This extension is for advanced users. WASP gives you a visual representation of the tags firing on your site and the correlation between them.
Clicking any of the tags provides deep technical insight into what’s happening behind the curtain. WASP’s functionality allows you to peer into the Google Tag Manager data layer which eases the troubleshooting of Google Tag Manager and Universal Analytics implementations.
WASP also supports Omniture, SiteCatalyst, DoubleClick, and any other platforms you may be implementing.
Da Vinci Tools brings handy enhancements, bug fixes and hacks directly into the Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager interfaces. To name a few:
- Focus on the same report when switching view in Google Analytics
- Set default page in GTM interface (instead of Overview)
- Ability to turn all GTM built-in vars on/off at once
- Ability to copy values from GTM Preview and Debug Mode’s Data Layer Tab and many many other enhancements.
And I’m just scratching the surface here! Many more enhancements are waiting for you.
Created by Simo Ahava, this extension lets you debug clicks and form submissions easier. When enabled, it prevents links from redirecting you to another page and form submissions from refreshing/redirecting you to another page.
Why prevent the default action of click or form submission? Simple, for debugging reasons it’s better if you stay on the same page. Halting the default action prevents links from working, thus you can easily check what happens on a website and what data can be used for tracking purposes.
This is one of my new favorites. What I like about it, is that the extension (by Adswerve) can inject your GTM container on a site, logs what data was pushed to dataLayer, runs diagnostics for most common issues, and offers a bunch of other features. I’m also giving a closer look at this extension in my Intermediate GTM course.
Another extension to help you easier debug what’s happening in the Data Layer. But unlike Data Slayer or Data Layer Inspector, this plugin enables you to check the Data Layer without having to use the browser console.
Which one is better, you ask? Well, it’s up to you. Try all 3 and see which one fits your needs the best. My personal favorite is Data Layer Inspector because it also offers a bunch of other features, like injecting GTM container.
But if you don’t need the Swiss army knife and just want to debug the Data Layer, maybe Data Layer Checker could be your choice.
We’re halfway through. 10 Google Tag Manager Extensions down, 10 to go! There are some gems waiting for you so don’t go away and continue reading.
If you’re regularly working with Matches CSS Selector operator in Google Tag Manager, then this extension is for you. Why is it useful? If you struggle with CSS Selectors or just want to save time, Copy CSS Selector will do the work for you. Just right-click the website element you wish to track, hit Copy CSS Selector, and paste the selector in your Google Tag Manager Trigger.
If you don’t know what CSS Selectors are, read this Simo Ahava’s guide. They are especially useful (but not limited to) when you want to track clicks of a particular website element that has no ID and shares the same CSS Class as several other elements.
Learning some basics of CSS Selectors opened new possibilities for me, so you should definitely dig in too.
Another very useful tool created by Simo Ahava. This time, it’s not a Google Tag Manager Chrome extension but a hosted web-tool that helps me audit and manage/clone GTM container. It has 3 main features:
- Container visualization (with it, you can find which container elements are heavily used or are not used at all).
- Inspect container
- Clone container. I’ve used this feature to export a part of a GTM container (because, by default, GTM exports the entire container). However, there’s a new player in the town, a Google Tag Manager Extension (for Chrome) that can help you do that even faster. Continue reading and I’ll show you what I mean.
Julian from MeasureSchool published an amazing time-saving Google Tag Manager Chrome Extension. With it, you can easily copy GTM container elements (tags/triggers/variables) and paste them to another container with a single click.
Take a look at these two videos to learn more:
There is a whole bunch of possible ways of how customTask can be applied. To name a few: remove Personally Identifiable Information from GA hits, automatically reduce the GA payload size, and many more. Since this feature is an advanced one, Simo Ahava prepared a customTask builder tool that will simplify the process.
An amazing Chrome extension developed by David Vallejo that eases the process of Google Tag Manager debugging. Among many useful features, here are the most noteworthy (in my opinion):
- Copy Data Layer pushes in a formatted way
- Ability to view Data Layer pushes of previous pages
- Filtering by GA Hit Type or GA account ID
- Simplified Enhanced Ecommerce debugging (I’ve used this GTM extension in the Enhanced Ecommerce module of my Intermediate GTM Course. A real time-saver).
These and other useful features are waiting for you in that GTM extension so definitely try it out.
Recently, I stumbled upon this Google Tag Manager Chrome extension and probably haven’t uncovered its full potential yet. However, it looks really useful and offers some handy tweaks that Google Tag Manager’s UI is lacking. The most important to me: bulk delete feature. Just tick checkboxes next to tags and then hit the Delete Button.
This free tool (no signup required) lets you check what’s inside of the GTM container of any website. This can help you with spying on the competitor or just recreate the content of the container that you lost access to. I’ve heard multiple times of situations where rogue agencies lock the client away from the container (even though that container is definitely the client’s property).
In such cases, you could just use GTM spy and export the container that is used on your own website. Then create a new GTM container and import the file that you exported via GTM Spy. Finally, ask your developers to change the container ID in your website’s source code. That way, you’ll solve this nasty issue with the agency.
Keep in mind that GTM spy has some UI/UX issues but as long as it is working (and free), I believe we can live with that.
The next 6 extensions are useful even if you’re not using Google Tag Manager. But since I am implementing (almost) everything with GTM, these tools always come in handy.
This extension lets you see what data is being passed to Google Analytics. For me, this was extremely useful while debugging Ecommerce implementation (until the GTM Debug extension was created by David Vallejo).
With it, you can view cookies set by Google Analytics, delete, modify, and even add additional cookies. This is a great tool for verifying GA trackers and any other custom cookies that may be in use.
Although you can also achieve the same result with the built-in tools of your web browser, Edit this Cookie makes the process much easier and user-friendly.
For me, this is a must-have tool when I set and read cookies with Google Tag Manager. Even though you can achieve pretty much the same result by using the browser’s built-in functionality, this extension makes the work easier.
This extension allows you to easily see all the redirects that happened between two pages. One of the most popular use cases for me: Debugging of Cross-domain tracking. One of the main requirements for GA cross-domain tracking to work is to have the destination URL decorated with the linker parameter (_ga=……).
But what if you’re configuring the cross-domain setup but the target URL never gets decorated? Two possible reasons are:
- The link was never decorated on the initial page
- Between two pages, there were multiple redirects and during one of them, the linker parameter (_ga=…) was lost
Redirect Path extension can help you identify such an issue. Just install it, navigate from page A to page B (while debugging your cross-domain setup) and then click the extension’s icon in the top right corner of your Chrome.
In the example above, there was one redirect. The kwikipedia.org URL contained the linker parameter but after the redirect (type 302) the parameter was lost. If that’s your case, contact the developer of the site and discuss how can they fix this (because it’s impossible to fix this with GTM).
The Facebook Pixel Helper is a troubleshooting tool that helps you validate your Facebook Conversion Pixel and Custom Audience Pixels. Using the tool you can verify whether the pixel is working properly, what events were fired, and spot errors in no time.
A small number will appear on the Facebook Pixel Helper icon to indicate the number of pixel events. When clicked, a panel will expand to show a detailed overview of the page’s pixels, including warnings, errors, and successes.
Similarly to Facebook Pixel Helper, Twitter Pixel Helper does the same job, but for Twitter Universal Website tag.
The third Pixel Helper in the gang. This one helps with debugging and validating Bing’s UET (Universal Event Tracking) tags. Here a quick intro video about this extension (but more or less it works in the principle as helpers of other tracking pixels).
Google Tag Manager Extensions: Final Words
All great things must come to an end, even this list. I hope you found the collection of Google Tag Manager Extensions and tools useful. Spotted something new? Give it a try! Maybe you’ll love it. Now, I just cannot live (well, work) without some of them. My everyday go-to tools at the moment are:
- Tag Assistant
- Data Layer Inspector
- Redirect Path
- GTM/GA Debug
- Da Vinci is working in the background
- GA Debugger
Did I miss some Google Tag Manager Extensions you can’t imagine your work without? Let me know in the comments below!