January 8, 2020
Google Tag Manager Tutorial + Free E-Book for Beginners
Updated: January 8th, 2020. Google Tag Manager is an amazing tool. I’ve been running this blog for more than two years now and 98% of all blog posts are about GTM. It has saved me, my colleagues and my clients so much time that I can’t even imagine how I could live now without it.
Need to add a particular tracking pixel to a website? Not a problem! Want to track submissions of a newly created form? Consider it done. All thanks to a thing called Tag Management.
Instead of waiting (for days) for a busy developer to add those tracking codes you could do this by yourself (well, in many cases). Even though you will not replace developers 100% (and, in fact, you never should), with Google Tag Manager you (and your team) will become much agiler implementing new marketing campaigns and/or web analytics tracking.
But where should you start? Tag Manager looks like a tank that requires some very specific knowledge and your regular driver’s license won’t help much here. Just like any other tool, GTM has its own learning curve. That’s why I decided to create this Google Tag Manager tutorial, the first step towards new knowledge and becoming more independent + have more control over your analytics/marketing tracking codes.
Ready? Let’s start. If you have some questions about GTM, feel free to post a comment.
Table of Contents of this Google Tag Manager tutorial
- The Pre-Tag-Management world
- What is Google Tag Manager?
- 5 reasons to start using Google Tag Manager:
- How does Google Tag Manager work?
- Create a Google Tag Manager account
- How to Install Google Tag Manager?
- How to check if Google Tag Manager is working?
- Creating your first tag
- Testing with Preview and Debug mode
- Publishing the Container
- So what’s next?
- Google Tag Manager Migration Tips
- What should you learn next?
- Frequently asked questions
Before we continue: The Pre-Tag-Management World
It can be Hotjar, Google Analytics, or some other tool, but they all ask you to add their code (tag) to your site. When a visitor lands on your website, that tracking code is also loaded, therefore, a visitor is tracked.
Adding that one tag to a site isn’t big of a deal. You just ask a developer and he does that (sometimes on the same day, sometimes over the course of several days, but still reasonable because this has to be done only once).
However, not everything is so perfect. Out of the box, GA offers plenty of metrics but to make really good and thoughtful decisions you need to track much more: interactions (e.g. clicks, form submissions), sales, etc.
This means more tracking codes must be added to a website. And usually, this is not just a “one-time project”. You need to constantly add new tracking codes and modify/remove the current ones.
That’s where the developer becomes a bottle-neck. Since he is working on his own tasks/projects, marketing/analytics tasks often are a B priority, therefore you and your team have to wait. And wait a bit more. And more.
If there was a way to add those tracking tags faster…
That’s where the GTM (or any other tag management system) saves the day and this Google Tag Manager tutorial will show you how.
What is Google Tag Manager?
Google Tag Manager is a tag management solution that acts as a middleman between a website (or a mobile app) and 3rd party tracking tools. All you need to do is to add your tracking codes to GTM and then configure rules when they should fire (on page load, click, form submission, etc.).
Imagine that Tag Manager is a Toolbox, where you keep all your tools: a ruler (Google Analytics), a hammer (Google Ads), etc.
Google Tag Manager also lets you test your tracking tags to make sure they are triggered when you load a page or click a particular button. Another great benefit: you can change your tags and the way they work without actually changing the source code of your website (which you may not be able to do because of slow-release cycles or busy schedule of developers) – instead you just edit tags in GTM user interface and publish changes with a click of a button.
Google Tag Manager vs Google Analytics
Many beginners confuse Google Analytics with Tag Manager by asking which one should they use now. The answer is actually both. These two tools do not replace each other, they work together. Google Analytics is a tool that collects visitor data and displays it in various reports, while Google Tag Manager is a data transportation method. It catches website interactions and sends the data over to Google Analytics or any other tracking tool.
If you still feel confused about the relationship between Google Analytics and GTM, read this guide: GA vs GTM – what’s the difference?
As I have mentioned before, Google Analytics is not the only tag compatible with Google Tag Manager. Other examples include:
- Google Ads Conversion Tag and Remarketing Tag.
- Facebook Pixel code
- Crazyegg tag
- Inspectlet tracking code
5 Reasons to Start Using Google Tag Manager now
There are many benefits of using Google Tag Manager but I’d like to point out, in my opinion, the most important ones.
REASON #1. Fast Deployment of Tracking Codes
Once again, let’s remember the classic way of how tracking codes are managed:
- A marketer (analyst, or anyone else) decides to start using a new marketing platform to track user behavior.
- He/she gets a tag and sends it to a developer.
- The developer says he’s busy and will do that next week.
- What if you need to track additional events? In that case, you’ll need to write a detailed task, send emails back-and-forth with the developer in order to get those codes installed. This takes even more time.
In many cases, Tag Manager gets rid of this hassle and allows it to make the process much more effective.
Google Tag Manager speeds up many processes. Changes and new tags (read: “tracking codes”) can be created rapidly and a lot of them do not require code changes on the website. This is great for marketers because it can really speed up launch time.
In fact, Bounteous have published a short case study where their client experienced a 600% improvement in tag implementation time.
REASON #2. All Tags Are Controlled in a Single Place, your GTM account
I’ve seen many cases when due to a human error some codes were missed, therefore this caused inaccuracy in data collection.
Thanks to Tag Manager, this process is made easier: all tags are controlled in one place.
REASON #3. Built-in and 3rd Party Testing Tools
Troubleshooting and correcting tag errors is simplified via Tag Manager’s Preview and Debug mode that shows which tags are fired on a page and which are not. It also includes information about triggers that fire tags and data contained within tracking tags.
Why is it important? With Google Tag Manager debugging solutions, you’re making sure that your tags work before you publish them to the live site. Also, let’s not forget other useful browser extensions such as Tag Assistant, Data Layer Inspector, etc. I’ve listed a lot more of them in a blog post called Top Google Tag Manager Extensions for Chrome.
Still not convinced? Continue reading this Google Tag Manager tutorial and I’ll show you the goldmine.
REASON #4. Simple (kind of) event tracking
Once you enable a certain trigger in Tag Manager, it will start automatically listening to particular website interactions. There is still some setup required, but it is relatively straightforward to do. You can use those interactions to fire tracking codes, e.g. GA Event Tag.
Basic events that you can track (by default) in Google Tag Manager are based on:
But wait, there’s more! Thanks to the growing community of GTM users and enthusiasts, the number of auto-event tracking functions constantly increases. You can also add custom features that record things such as new comments, video players and much more.
Why is this important? Well, it enables you to gain insight into what actions users take on your website. Are they engaging with the content? Are they filling out your forms? You can then use these events to create goals specific to your business in GA (or any other tool of your choice, of course).
Just keep in mind, that more complex events still might require a developer’s input. Although Google Tag Manager gives you some superpowers, it doesn’t make you almighty.
REASON #5. Ready-made Tag templates
Google Tag Manager comes with a number of important built-in tags for classic and Universal Analytics, Google Ads conversions, remarketing, and more. This allows a marketer with little or no coding knowledge to customize tags, without implementing a complicated code or asking for a developer’s help.
Currently, there is a whole bunch of templates at your disposal and the number is expected to grow in the future.
If you still have some doubts about whether you should start using Google Tag Manager, here are some additional posts tailored to you:
BONUS REASON. A very active Google Tag Manager Community ready to help you
If you get stuck and can’t figure out why one thing or another does not work in Google Tag Manager, join our community on Facebook to get help. I’ve founded this group in January 2018 and at the end of 2019 it has more than 14 000 members. The group is very active and constantly growing. So don’t be shy and feel free to ask all things GTM. I, Simo Ahava, or anyone else will definitely try to help you.
If you’re not a fan of Facebook, there’s is also a GTM community on Reddit (although I have to admit that I participate there not as often as on FB).
This Google Tag Manager tutorial is a long one. If you’re in a hurry, feel free to bookmark it and come back later.
How Does Google Tag Manager Work?
For very beginners, there are three concepts to understand: tags, triggers, and variables.
A tag is a piece of code that must be fired on a website under certain circumstances. It can be a tracking code, some piece of code that changes the text or a particular website element, or even code which changes the color of the browser’s address bar, you name it. When you create a tag, you basically instruct Tag Manager to “do this”, “do that”, “track page views of this visitor”, “track this click and send to Google Analytics” etc.
A trigger is a condition when a tag must fire. Should a tag fire on all page views? Or maybe on certain clicks? How about successful form submissions? All of these examples are triggers. When a particular condition (or a set of conditions) is met, a trigger is activated and all the tags (linked to it) are dispatched.
A variable is the final member of this trinity. Variables are little helpers that can be used in tags, triggers, or even in other variables. A variable can:
- hold a single piece of data (like page URL, website domain, product ID, ta ext of a link, etc.)
- hold a set of data/settings (GA settings variable contains multiple settings related to GA, like Tracking ID, Display Advertising settings, etc.)
- be a complex function (but this one is too advanced for beginners, therefore, let’s skip it, at least for now), etc.
The best way to understand the relationship among tags, triggers, and variables in Google Tag Manager is to take a look at an example (see the image below).
- Google Ads Conversion Tag is a tag. With it, you instruct the Google Tag Manager to do what? Track a conversion.
- When must this tag be fired? The answer is On a Thank You Page (a.k.a. order confirmation page). This condition is our trigger.
- Now, we need to use some additional information in order to send more precise data to Google Ads and to make our trigger actually work.
- With Google Ads conversion tag we can send Order Total which is a variable. Whenever a successful purchase is complete, G Ads tag will fetch the value of the variable Order Total and send it over to Google’s servers. Variables are things that makes Google Tag Manager tracking dynamic.
- In the trigger, we need to precisely instruct Google Tag Manager when to fire. Saying on a Thank You page is comprehensible for a human. But in Tag Manager, we need to be more specific. What is a Thank You page? The answer: it’s the page of which Page URL contains “/purchase-successful/” (P.S. this is just an example). In this case, Page URL is a variable and we have instructed GTM to constantly check Page URL when the page loads. If a variable (URL) contains “/purchase-successful/”, the trigger will be activated.
So as you can see, variables can be used in both Tags and Triggers. You can also use them in other variables but you’ll learn that in the future (not in this guide).
Create a Google Tag Manager Account
To get started, first let’s create a GTM account. Go to Google Tag Manager official website and click the main call-to-action in order to create a new GTM account.
Just like with any other Google’s product, you will use the same Google account for Tag Manager. So if you’re already on Gmail (Google Ads, Google Analytics, etc.) you will be automatically logged in to Google Tag Manager. If not, create a Google account first (I will not show that procedure, so you’re on your own here 🙂 ).
Once you log in, you’ll be asked to create a new GTM account and a new container.
In the Account Name field, enter the name of the business (e.g. your company’s business or your client’s business). If you are an agency, it is a better practice to ask your client to create a GTM account and then share the access with you.
In the Container Setup section enter the name of your website (it can be a domain (e.g. example.com) or just a name (e.g. My website). In this e-book we will cover Web tracking, thus choose Web as the target platform.
Google Tag Manager account works the same as GA account, usually, it’s for a company/business/client, while a container is usually for a website or application. A single container can contain many tags, triggers, and variables.
However, if there are several websites that belong to a single business and their structure is very similar (plus, their tracking implementation is similar), feel free to use one container on multiple websites.
How to Install Google Tag Manager?
After you create a container, you’ll get two codes that need to be added to a website. Hand over these two snippets to a developer and ask him/her to carefully follow the instructions (the first code should be added somewhere in the <head> of a website, while the second should be added right after the opening <body> tag).
Thanks to this code (implemented on a page), all the tags will be fired when they are configured to do so.
If you want to learn more about the proper installation, read this guide on how to install Google Tag Manager on a website.
If you’re using a popular content management system, like WordPress, chances are that there is a ready-made GTM plugin that eases the installation process + adds some additional benefits.
For example, in WordPress, there is an awesome plugin GTM4WP (by Duracell Tomi). Not only will it help you easily install Google Tag Manager, but also you can get some additional data from it, like page author, page tags, etc. Later, this data can be turned into GTM variables and used in tags and triggers.
Feeling tired? If yes, bookmark this Google Tag Manager tutorial for beginners and come back any time later when you’re ready to dive into the world of tag management.
How to check if Google Tag Manager is working?
After the GTM code was implemented on a page, you need to make sure whether it was actually properly installed. There are several options you can choose from (all of them are explained in detail here):
- Right-click on your website’s background -> choose View page source and find that code (by looking for gtm.js)
- Enable preview and debug mode and see whether it appears on the screen. Click the Preview button in the top right corner of GTM interface, then go to the website (refresh it) and check whether a GTM preview and debug panel appeared at the bottom of the screen.
- Use Tag Assistant extension and check whether GTM is displayed once you enable it.
The tips above are the main ones you could try right now. I have a longer (and more detailed) list here.
Creating Your First Tag in Google Tag Manager
Usually, the first tag that marketers/web analysts install with Google Tag Manager is the Google Analytics Pageview tag. This is equivalent to the procedure where GA asks you to add their tracking code snippet to all pages of a website.
In this case, we’ll add GA tracking to all pages with the help of Google Tag Manager.
In Google Tag Manager, go to Tags and click New.
A window will slide in from the right. It consists of two parts, Tag Configuration and Triggering. Click anywhere on Tag Configuration block and choose Google Analytics – Universal Analytics tag type.
Leave Page view as a Track Type and then in GA Settings Variable drop-down choose New Variable. You’re about to create your first variable.
GA Settings Variable is a great time-saver. What you will learn in the future is that in each Google Analytics tag you’ll need to separately set various settings, like GA tracking ID (UA-XXXXXX-XX), cross-domain settings, custom dimensions, etc.
The more GA tags you have, the more inconvenience it will cause. Imagine a situation when you suddenly have to do a single change in 40 tags, that’s 40 manual changes! Thanks to GA Settings Variable, you can assign it to multiple tags and when you need to change some configuration, you need to do this only once (because all the tags are using the settings variable).
Anyway, back to our GA Settings Variable. For starters, we need to insert the tracking ID of our Google Analytics account (because Tag Manager must know to which GA account should it send the data).
Go to your GA account > Admin > Tracking Info (on a Property level) > Tracking Code and then copy the Tracking ID. Not the entire code, but just the ID.
Go back to the Google Tag Manager interface and paste the ID in a GA Settings Variable. Since GDPR is already present, we also need to anonymize visitor’s IP address (because according to this regulation, IP address is considered as personal data).
In GA settings variable, go to More Settings > Fields to Set and enter anonymizeIp, set it to true. This parameter will change the last digit of the IP address to 0 (e.g. 18.104.22.168 -> 22.214.171.124).
P.S. Don’t forget to update your GA filters (which exclude internal traffic) accordingly.
Save the variable and you’ll be brought back to the editing mode of the Google Analytics Tag.
Tag configuration part is complete, now let’s set the trigger. In the Triggering section, click anywhere on that white block and choose the trigger, All Pages.
This condition means that the Google Analytics Page View tag will fire on all pages where Google Tag Manager container code is installed.
Save the tag
That’s it! Save the tag. This is all you need to do with basic GA implementation. If someone asks you to install the standard tracking with GA, that is all you need to do, create a Page View tag. It is an equivalent of adding that GA tracking code (which is provided in the Admin section of GA property) to the website’s source code.
By completing these steps we’ve instructed Google Tag Manager:
- to track website visitors with GA (that’s a tag)
- to fire that tag on all pages (that’s a trigger)
- to send the data to a particular Google Analytics account (GA Tracking ID was inserted in a Google Analytics settings variable)
Testing with Preview Mode
Before we publish these changes and start tracking all the visitors, first we need to make sure that everything is configured properly. That’s where GTM Preview and Debug (P&D) mode becomes very useful (in fact, this is one of my favorite features in Google Tag Manager).
Google Tag Manager Preview mode allows you to browse a site on which your GTM container code is implemented. Sites with preview mode enabled will display a debugger pane (a.k.a. console) at the bottom of your browser screen so that you can inspect which tags fired and when.
To enable Google Tag Manager Debug mode, click the Preview button in the top right corner of your Google Tag Manager interface (near Submit button).
After you enable Preview mode, a large orange notification banner will appear.
Now, navigate to the site where the Google Tag Manager container code is implemented, refresh the page and a debug console window will appear at the bottom of your browser, showing detailed information about your tags, including their firing status and what data is being processed.
This console window will appear only on your computer as you preview the site, and is not visible to your other website visitors. So calm down, if something breaks in the container, nobody is affected (until you publish all the changes to the live environment)
Back to our GA Page View tag. Once the Preview and Debug console appears on your website, click the Page View event (on the left side of the console) and see if your GA tag has successfully fired.
Great! Before we start celebrating your first tag, we need to check whether that page view actually reached Google Analytics (Because the fact that tag fired does not mean that data was actually sent. For example, a tag may be incorrectly configured and send page views to the wrong GA account).
The best way to check if the data was actually sent to GA is Real-time (RT) reports. In Google Analytics, go to Real-time > Overview. Navigate through various pages of your website and see if all those page views are displayed in RT reports.
If the GA tag is firing but no interactions are displayed in RT reports, read this troubleshooting guide.
Another useful tool that you should definitely try (if you haven’t used it yet) is Google Tag Assistant. It is a Chrome extension that reports on various Google tracking scripts and checks if they are properly configured (like Google Ads, GA, Google Optimize, etc.).
Publishing the Google Tag Manager Container
Once you’ve finished configuring and testing tags/triggers/variables in the container, publish it (otherwise, those changes won’t go live and your visitors/users will not be tracked). Every time a container is published, a new container version of it is created. This is very useful because in the case of “oops….”, you will be able to quickly restore to one of the previous versions.
In the top right corner of the Google Tag Manager interface, click blue the SUBMIT button.
You have two options here:
- Publish all changes live to your website visitors (and automatically create a container version)
- Or just create a version. Changes won’t go live to the website visitors but you will have a saved checkpoint to which you can later restore the container (if something bad happens).
This time, we’ll choose to Publish and Create Version. Although Version Name and Version Description fields are not required, it is highly recommended to fill them out. Once your container version history grows to 10, 20 or more versions, those names, and descriptions will become very useful (when you’ll try to find out when a certain change was implemented).
Once you hit the PUBLISH button in the top right corner, your changes will go live and you will start tracking page views of visitors.
By the way, here’s yet another reminder about the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Even though it was pretty simple to implement GA tracking, you need to do additional configurations if you receive a lot of traffic from the European Union countries. First of all, you need to implement a Cookie Consent banner. And once you get consent from a visitor to use his/her personal data (because various tracking IDs are also considered as PII), then you can fire your tags (like Google Ads tags, Facebook Pixel, etc.). On a brighter side, it looks like in the nearest future we won’t have to ask a permission to set cookies for analytics purposes).
So what’s next? What should you do now?
My suggestion: start using Google Tag Manager on all new projects. The size does not matter, it might be a simple website or it might be a larger e-commerce business. Even if you don’t plan to track events and just need the basic page view tracking, still use GTM. Google Tag Manager first, then GA Page View tag. Because you never know, maybe one day you’ll suddenly need to track something that X project and you’ll be able to do that in no time (because Tag Manager will be already implemented there).
But what about those projects/websites that already have some Google Analytics or other tracking tools implemented (not via Google Tag Manager)?
There are a couple options here:
- The most recommended: migrate all the hardcoded tracking scripts from the website’s source code to Google Tag Manager. This process is not easy and will require both your and the developer’s input but in the long run, it will definitely pay off. Just think about how long were digital marketing campaigns delayed because the developer was busy with other projects/tasks. With GTM you could implement tracking much faster and you/your team would become much agiler.
- You can implement new tags with Google Tag Manager while old tags are still hardcoded (P.S. in this contest, “hardcoded” means that tracking scripts are added directly to the web site’s source code). Just make sure that you’re not tracking the same interactions with both hardcoded script and Google Tag Manager (otherwise your data in reports will be duplicated).
Google Tag Manager Migration Tips
I’ll repeat myself once again, migration to Tag Manager isn’t very easy. The larger the project is, the more resources migration will require. Bounteous (ex Lunametrics) have posted a very useful guide on this topic, but if you’re in a hurry, here’s a process in a nutshell (plus my personal tips):
- Audit all current tracking scripts hardcoded on a website (you’ll need a developer’s input as well).
- Prepare a migration plan (which tracking scripts and which tools must be migrated, what are the priorities). If the project is pretty large, I’d suggest migrating one tool at a time (nobody likes big bangs).
- Replicate all those tags in Google Tag Manager which should replace the hardcoded scripts.
- Publish all the changes in the container. A developer (at the same time) must remove hardcoded scripts.
- Start monitoring results and keep looking for anomalies (sudden increase or decrease in page views, users, bounce rate, transactions, etc.)
- If possible, have a verification period (usually, applicable to GA). It is a technique when you have both hardcoded GA and GA (via Google Tag Manager) on the same website. Hardcoded GA continues sending data to the current (original) GA property while GTM + GA is sending data to a test property.
This technique is also described in the Bounteous guide. After a while, you then check both properties and see if the data is similar. If no, dig deeper with a developer and try to identify the causes of those discrepancies. Once you reach the point when both properties have pretty similar data in their reports, ask a developer to remove hardcoded tracking (while you change the tracking ID in GTM) and start sending data via Google Tag Manager to the original GA property.
- To avoid losing some data while you and developer try to “flip the switch” (when you publish the container and a developer removes the hardcoded scripts), you can try using a “blocking trigger” technique (which, again, is also described at the end of Bounteous guide). That method is a bit more advanced if you’re very new to Tag Manager, but once you get your hands on the Data Layer and Data Layer Variable, the ice will be broken.
A quick offtopic. Did you enjoy this Google Tag Manager tutorial and found it useful? If yes, consider sharing it with your network. It would help both me and your connections who might be interested. Thanks!
What should you learn next after you read this Google Tag Manager tutorial?
The list of Google Tag Manager topics that you can learn is definitely a long one but if you’re just starting, here are my suggestions:
- Take this free Google Tag Manager Fundamentals course (in addition to what you’ve learned in this Google Tag Manager tutorial, you’ll also find out how to track link clicks, implement custom scripts, etc.)
- Data Layer
- Form tracking
- Scroll tracking
- Video tracking
- Dive even deeper into click tracking
- Virtual page view tracking (on a Single Page Website)
- E-commerce tracking with GA
The list goes on and on (I’m just scratching the surface here). In fact, if Google Tag Manager was a narrow topic, I wouldn’t have published more than 150 GTM blog posts (as of the end of 2019). But it’s totally possible to achieve, you’ll just need a lot of time, determination and will to learn.
Frequently Asked Questions about Google Tag Manager
I bet that there are still a lot of questions in your head right now. That’s totally normal! Here are the most common ones. If you have more questions (that were not answered in this guide), feel free to leave a comment below.
#1. Who should use Google Tag Manager? Anyone who wants to add/remove/edit various tracking scripts on their (or their client’s) website. This usually includes digital marketers, web analysts, SEOs, PPC specialists, owners of e-commerce businesses, etc. With Google Tag Manager you’ll be much more in control of what’s being tracked/measured on a website/app.
#2. Does Google Tag Manager work only with Google Products? No. Google Tag Manager plays well with a lot of platforms/tools. It offers a wide range of predefined tag templates (like Google Analytics, HotJar, Twitter Universal Tag, etc.) and, additionally, you can add custom codes with help of Custom HTML tag.
#3. Is Google Tag Manager free? GTM has both Free and Premium plan. A free plan is more than enough to small and medium businesses. Large enterprises can benefit from a paid Google Tag Manager 360 option. You can compare both pricing plans here.
#4. What if my content management system does not allow to place Google Tag Manager code in the <head>? Don’t worry, this is not the end of the world. Actually, GTM <script> code can be placed anywhere on the website. The higher you put it in the website’s source code, the sooner it will load, therefore your web tracking will be more precise. But if your CMS allows placing all codes only at in the <body> tag, that is still fine. The most important thing is that you must not place the <noscript> code in the <head> of a website. All other variations are allowed (e.g. both codes can be placed right after the opening <body> tag or both codes before the closing </body> tag).
#6. Do I still need developers after I start using Google Tag Manager? It depends on what your goals are. Even though a lot of new opportunities open to digital marketers after they start using GTM, sometimes a developer’s help is still necessary. Such interactions as video player actions, scroll tracking, element’s appearance on the screen, etc. will be pretty easy for you to track (as you get more experienced with GTM). But if you need some server-side data (which is not accessible by Google Tag Manager), for example, user ID, user’s pricing plan, you’ll need to cooperate with the developer.
#7. Can I use the same GA Tracking ID in multiple Google Tag Manager containers? Yes, you can. This is pretty common for digital marketers because you or your client might have several different websites that are pretty different regarding their structure, CSS/HTML, etc. So it might make sense to create several GTM containers with their own set of triggers, variables, etc. and to create Google Analytics tracking tags with the same tracking ID. This means that all this data from different Google Tag Manager containers will be sent to the same Google Analytics property.
#8. Where can I get help regarding Google Tag Manager?
- Google Tag Manager Community on Facebook (recommended and the most active)
- Google Tag Manager Community on Reddit
- Official community forum
- Stack Overflow
#10. Does Google Tag Manager store any data about visitors? #GDPR. Google Tag Manager does not store any data about the visitor, it’s just a system that helps you transport the data to 3rd party tools. That transportation occurs only client-side, i.e. on his/her browser.
Pssst… There are many more GTM questions I’ve answered (I just did not want to make this Google Tag Manager tutorial too long). But if you’re interested, feel free to check my Google Tag Manager FAQ.
Google Tag Manager Tutorial: Final words
GTM is one of my all-time favorite tools that has saved me a lot of time and helped me become agiler in digital marketing/web analytics. In this Google Tag Manager tutorial for beginners, you’ve learned that GTM is like a middleman between a website/app and 3rd party tools (e.g. Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook pixel).
Back in the old days (which are still continuing until this moment), all tracking codes (tags) were controlled by developers who had to add them to the website’s source code. This workflow caused several problems. To name a couple of them:
- Developers were too busy, therefore, marketers/web analysts had to wait days or even weeks to have their tracking scripts implemented.
- Multiple tracking codes meant that they were scattered across different places of the website which meant more difficulties in the maintenance of the code.
Thanks to tag management systems (like Google Tag Manager), adding, editing and removing tracking scripts have become much easier. In a single interface, marketers can control codes (read: tracking tags) of various tools, like GA, FB Pixel, etc. To make things much easier, most popular tools can be controlled with the help of tag templates which do not require coding knowledge.
Also in this Google Tag Manager tutorial, I’ve explained what tags, trigger, and variables are in GTM, what is their role and how are they connected with each other.
Tags are various pieces of code (or templates) that are activated under certain circumstances. Triggers are those conditions that activate tags. And variables are little helpers which can hold data (or some useful settings/functions) and can be inserted in tags, triggers, and even other variables.
There is still a lot of things for you to learn about GTM
But I hope that this Google Tag Manager tutorial helped you take the first step towards new possibilities in your marketing/analytics.
I usually recommend my free Google Tag Manager Fundamentals course as the next step after this guide so go ahead and sign up. There are no hidden fees or strings attached. That course is more in-depth compared to this Google Tag Manager tutorial.
As always, the comments section is at your service. If you have any questions, I’ll be glad to answer them.