July 3, 2018
99 Things You Can Do with Google Tag Manager
Ah… Good old clickbait. Add a huge number to the title of the popular topic and you’re good to go. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that #54 will shock you and you won’t believe what is in the #72!
Just kidding. All the entries in the list are definitely worth checking out. Pinky promise.
Unless you lived under a rock for the last 5 years, you probably have heard at least something about Google Tag Manager. But if that name still does not ring a bell, here’s a quick introduction: GTM is a free software from Google that allows you to install various types of code (tags) to your website, like Google Analytics tracking code, Google Analytics event codes, Google Ads conversion scripts, etc.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg as there are many more things you can do with Google Tag Manager. Interested in increasing page load speed, implementing remarketing codes, tracking clicks or form submissions? Well, you’re in the right place because you’re about to see 99 Google Tag Manager use cases (and that number will definitely keep growing in the future).
Before we continue
This blog post assumes that you have at least some basic knowledge of Google Tag Manager. If you consider yourself being a total stranger in this territory, read this: 11 reasons why you should use Google Tag Manager.
Good to go? Let’s continue!
Google Tag Manager Use Cases
I’ve compiled a whole bunch of various articles, blog posts, resources explaining one or another GTM technique that you can apply in your analytics/marketing stack. The list is definitely not finite, therefore if you notice that I missed (or intentionally skipped) something, let me know in the comments or via any other channel you can possibly find me on (Twitter, Linkedin, etc.).
I’ll be more than happy to add that resource.
All items in the list are split into the following categories:
- Getting started
- Sales, ecommerce, conversions, remarketing
- Cookies and privacy
- Browser-related, navigation
- Additional user data
- Data quality
- Chats, comments
Usually, every GTM journey starts with the installation and basic tracking. Since there are different entities that can be tracked, naturally, there are different solutions for them.
#2. Track page views of a single-page website or web application.
#3. Track Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). Keep in mind that AMPs have a lot of tracking limitations compared to a regular website but there are still some things you can do with GTM and Simo explains them.
#5. Easily install various 3rd-party tools by using built-in tag templates. Google Tag Manager features a powerful tag template system to help simplify publishing of tracking codes and eliminate errors. In addition to the templates for Google tags such as Analytics, AdWords, and DoubleClick, templates for a growing list of certified vendors are also supported.
#6. Track button clicks. Interested in tracking Add to cart, Buy, or other buttons? Then this tutorial is just what you need.
#7. Track clicks of social buttons (e.g. Tweet). Unfortunately, some buttons cannot be tracked with default click triggers because they are embedded by using an *evil* technology called iFrame 🙂 Luckily, sometimes it’s possible to use custom solutions. Also, you might be interested in how to track 3rd party sharing plugins, like AddThis.
#8. Track contact links (emails (mailto🙂 and phone numbers (tel:)).
#9. Track file downloads, e.g. PDFs.
#11. Track affiliate link clicks. If you are doing affiliate marketing on your website, you might want to track which affiliate links are clicked the most.
#13. Track form submissions. A comprehensive guide with 6 GTM form tracking techniques. Many different types of forms = many different form tracking methods.
#14. Track form abandonment. Keep in mind that not all forms are supported by this solution so make sure you read the requirements carefully.
#16. Form field timing tracking. Track how long does it take your users to fill out a particular form field.
#17. Form submission timing tracking. Track how long does it take your users to submit a form.
#18. Pre-fill form fields. This technique is especially useful if you want is the traffic source of your form submissions (and you’ll see that data in CRM or another list where all your form submissions are stored).
#19. Track checkboxes
Sales, ecommerce, conversions, remarketing
#22. Track affiliate sales. If you run your own affiliate program, you can do that via Google Analytics. Of course, keep in mind that the more recommended way is to use specialized tools but if you want to get started quickly, this might be a solution for you.
#28. Track video players like Youtube, Vimeo, JW player, Wistia, generic HTML5 players, etc.
Cookies and privacy
#31. Configure cookie consent banners. Since this topic is still hot in the web space, there is a whole bunch of solutions. Choose whatever you find suitable for your needs and implement it right away:
- Cookiebot. Also, make sure you read this guide on how to improve Cookiebot’s solution.
- A solution created by Portent
#32. Easier management of tags in order to be GDPR compliant. Once you implement the cookie consent mechanism via GTM, you can update all your tags to respect visitor’s preferences. Has a visitor declined from being tracked for marketing purposes? Then with GTM, you can automatically block Facebook pixel and other related marketing tags from firing.
#34. Count pageviews in a cookie. You can fire a particular tag on just, say, the 3rd page view.
#35. Fire tags accordingly to user’s traffic source. This information is stored in a cookie which replicates the old Google Analytics UTMZ cookie. With this solution, you can fire a specific tag only when a visitor completes a purchase and has landed on your page from Google’s search results.
#37. Block tracking codes from firing if a visitor has enabled “Do not track” setting in his/her browser. This is yet another thing you should keep in mind while trying to respect visitor’s privacy preferences.
#40. Track visitor’s intentions to leave a website (works on desktop browsers).
#43. SERP bounce rate. Find out how many people are jumping back to the search results right after landing on your website.
#45. Track visitor navigation (when a user/visitor navigates from page to page, reloads the page, etc.).
#49. Track Page not found errors (404) and find out where your website’s dead ends.
Alright! You’re in the middle of the list. 49 down, 50 more Google Tag Manager use cases to go. If you feel overwhelmed, bookmark this page and come back any time later!
Additional user data
#50. Fetch visitor’s local time and send it as a custom dimension to Google Analytics
#51. Fetch visitor’s weather data and also send it as a custom dimension to Google Analytics
#52. Geolocation: use visitor’s city or country in your tags and triggers
#53. Fire tags based on visitor’s device type (see the tip #4)
#54. Get visitor’s screen width (see the tip #7)
SEO-related Google Tag Manager Use cases
If you’re working on a difficult project where a developer is not available to do SEO changes, you might try using GTM. Just keep in mind that mainly Google’s crawlers support SEO changes implemented via GTM. As far as I know, other search engines don’t (at least most of them).
So if possible, try implementing these changes directly in the code of a website.
#55. Enrich search result data by adding rich snippets (schema.org) (including price, rating, etc.).
#58. Add a noindex tag
#60. Block spam referral traffic from Google Analytics. There are several techniques on how to get rid of that annoying fake traffic in your GA reports and GTM can help with one of them.
#61. Exclude internal traffic. Not all 3rd party tools have a built-in exclude internal IP address features, therefore, you could do that with help of GTM (and a little bit of help from a developer).
#62. Send duplicate Google Analytics data to other analytics tools (like Snowplow).
#64. Avoid duplicate transactions. What happens if a visitor lands on an Order Confirmation page? You track a conversion, right? What if the visitor refreshes that very same page? Or comes back later? Unfortunately, you will track that conversion once again. Follow this guide and you’ll learn how to avoid duplicate transactions/conversions.
#66. Configure cross-domain tracking. Do you own several websites which are related and visitors can navigate from one to another? Then you definitely need to implement cross-domain tracking in Google Analytics. Here’s another useful guide related to this topic.
#67. Automatically reduce the Google Analytics payload length if it exceeds the allowed limit. Yet another guide by Simo Ahava, who is the main guy solving difficult technical web analytics issues.
#70. Content personalization. Personalize your website content based on visitor’s landing page or campaign/channel they landed from.
#72. Track popups
#78. Track an average time until an event occurs (in Google Analytics)
#81. Track comments
I could not come up where to put these Google Tag Manager use cases so, honestly speaking, I put them into one pile.
#84. Install Konami code. Choose from one of the 4 options or create your own.
#85. Change Android browser’s address bar color. A minor enhancement of your website.
#86. Install ready-made analytics plugins, like Komito Analytics.
#87. Scrape DOM (document object model) and read values of particular website elements.
#89. Transfer UTM parameters from one page to another. If a visitor lands on a landing page and then the Call-to-action is offering to go to another website (like App store), in many cases GA cross-domain tracking isn’t possible. If this situation sounds familiar, check this solution.
#92. Reuse variables multiple times. What’s great about Google Tag Manager is that you can reuse the same variable multiple times in tags, triggers, other variables.
#93. Annoy email subscribers less by not showing email popups to your current email subscribers. Why would you need to ask for an email address when it is already on your list?
#97. Separate different agencies and let them work separately on the same website. This is possible thanks to Zones in GTM 360.
#98. Track AJAX requests. AJAX is still very popular among website developers, therefore, many forms or other interactive elements are based on this technology. Luckily, with GTM you can track AJAX requests and identify when a particular interaction was completed. Here is a GTM recipe to get you started faster.
Google Tag Manager Use Cases: Final Words
Even though this list of Google Tag Manager use cases is already massive, I’m more than positive that this list may grow any time soon. Maybe someone will come up with new use cases or the team behind the GTM will release some new features. It’s just a matter of time when this list will surpass the 100.
So if you are a digital marketer, web analyst, SEO, PPC specialist, you will definitely find at least several use cases applicable in your projects.
Did I miss anything? Are there any other important things you can do with Google Tag Manager that I forgot to add?