October 11, 2022
11 Reasons Why You Should Use Google Tag Manager
Updated: October 11th, 2022
Let me guess how you landed on this page: you heard people around you talking about this tool called Google Tag Manager (GTM). You keep noticing this name more and more often in forums, various events, etc. Some say it will help you track website visitors much easier, while others promise that you won’t need developers anymore. You’ll be able to install tracking codes/pixels all by yourself.
In this article, I’ll explain why you should use Google Tag Manager and what it’s good for. In plain English.
Why use Google Tag Manager?
Here’s a quick summary. If you’re interested in learning about a particular reason, just click it.
- Fast deployment of tracking codes
- All tags are managed in one place
- Testing tools
- Reusable container templates (recipes)
- It’s free
- Simple (kind of) event tracking
- Tag templates
- Versions, workspaces, and environments
- User permissions
- The growing popularity and Friendly/Helpful Community
What is Google Tag Manager?
Before we dive deeper into why you should use Google Tag Manager, let me give you a quick overview of the tool itself.
Google Tag Manager is free software from Google that allows you to install various types of code (tags) to your website. Good examples of tags are Google Analytics tracking codes, Google Analytics event codes, Google Ads conversion scripts, and remarketing tags. There are many more types of code that can be added to your website using GTM, including custom codes.
Some people confuse Google Tag Manager with Google Analytics, asking which one they should use. The answer is that they should use both. In my other blog post, I explain the differences between Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. So if you’re new to it, definitely check it out.
Before GTM, GA tracking codes had to be hard-coded, usually by a web developer on each page. Having hundreds of events is very difficult when it comes to maintaining/updating them. But Google Tag Manager solves this problem because all your tags are stored in one place, your GTM account.
Imagine Google Tag Manager like 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 tags to ensure they are triggered when you load the right 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 the busy schedule of developers) – instead, you just edit tags in GTM user interface and publish changes with a click of a button.
Google Analytics is not the only tag compatible with Google Tag Manager. Other examples include:
- Google Ads Conversion Tag
- Google Ads Remarketing Tag
- Facebook Pixel code
- Crazyegg tracking code
If you’re interested in learning more about GTM, feel free to download the free guide by entering your email address in the form below.
Reasons why you should use Google Tag Manager
#1. Fast deployment of tracking codes
Let’s take a step back and remember the classic way of how tracking codes used to be managed:
- A marketer (analyst or anyone else) decides to start using a new marketing platform to track user behavior.
- He/she gets a tracking code 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 and send emails back and forth with the developer to get those codes installed. This can take even more than several weeks.
What if I said that you could avoid the developer (in most cases) and implement those tracking codes by yourself? With Google Tag Manager, this dream comes true.
Every tracking code is called a tag, and you can manage them via the GTM interface.
Google Tag Manager speeds up many processes. New tags can be added rapidly, and many do not require code changes to the website. This is a great tool for marketers because it can speed up launch time by testing each change themselves and deploying when ready.
And that’s exactly why I put this reason as the #1 item in the list of reasons you should use Google Tag Manager. But it’s not the last.
#2. All tags are managed in one place
Thanks to GTM, this process is made easier: all tags are controlled in one place.
#3. Testing tools
Troubleshooting and correcting tag errors is simplified via Google Tag Manager Preview and Debug mode, which 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 GTM debugging solutions, you’re ensuring your tags work before you publish them to the live site.
#4. Reusable container templates (recipes)
Another awesome reason why you should use Google Tag Manager is the possibility to export all tags, triggers, and variables into a single file (which can be imported later). What does it mean? You can create your templates with commonly used tracking codes/settings.
This is especially useful for agencies who have to implement standard Google Analytics events repeatedly, e.g. page view tracking, outbound link clicks, etc.
This feature is so popular that my library of Free GTM Recipes (templates) is one of the most visited sections of this blog. Go ahead, click this link, download any template you like, follow the instructions, and start tracking in minutes.
#5. It’s free
Nothing much to add here. Just like Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager is free. Although there’s a premium version of it in Google Analytics 360 Suite, the free version is more than enough for a lot of businesses (small and medium).
#6. Simple (kind of) event tracking
Once you enable certain triggers in Google Tag Manager, they will start automatically listening to particular interactions on a web page. There is still some setup required, but it is relatively easy to do. You can use those interactions to fire tracking codes, e.g. Google Analytics Event Tag.
Basic events that you can track (by default) in GTM 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 scroll depth, and more.
Why is this important? Well, it empowers you to gain insight into what actions users take on your website. Are they engaging with the content? Are they filling in your forms? You can then use these events to create goals specific to your business needs in Google Analytics.
#7. Tag templates
GTM has many built-in tags for Google Analytics, Google Ads conversions, and more. This allows a marketer with little or no coding knowledge to customize tags without implementing complicated code or asking for a developer’s help.
#8. Versions, workspaces, and environments
Whenever you publish a change to a container (where your tracking codes are stored), GTM creates a new version. If at any time you need to restore to a previous (or any other existing) version, you can do really easily.
Accidentally published changes to a live site, although some tags were still incomplete? Not a problem. Just head over to the Versions page and publish a previous version. That’s an easy way to solve all Ooops… moments.
As for the other two features (workspaces and environments), they are great for enterprises with multiple teams that can make changes to the website, companies working with outside vendors, or projects that can span weeks or months.
Environments enable you to control your tag manager installation across live/production websites or apps, and their development/staging counterparts. This tag manager feature lets you publish your tags to different environments, for example, a testing server, so you don’t affect or change your live version when publishing.
Workspaces enable several team members to work in the same Google Tag Manager container without overwriting each other’s changes. After their job is done, changes in both workspaces are merged into one essence.
Google automatically scans all tracking scripts added with Custom HTML tags in GTM accounts and pauses if they match a known malware domain, IP address, or URL. Additionally, you can control who has access to your GTM accounts and can revoke access at any time.
You can also set up Allowlists or Blocklists by adding some commands to the data layer on your website. This allows developers to control what kind of tags/variables can by used by others on a website.
#10. User permissions
Google Tag Manager allows you to give account access to multiple people with different levels of viewing, editing, and publishing privileges. This feature provides convenience for agencies wanting to give multiple employees access or needing to share access with clients while ensuring only certain individuals have master control.
You can choose from the following permission levels.
- No Access
#11. The growing popularity and Friendly/Helpful Community
Google is known for launching and killing a lot of products, like Google Glasses, RSS Reader, etc. But it looks like Google Tag Manager isn’t going away anytime soon: it’s very popular, and the number of free and paid GTM resources is also constantly increasing.
What does it mean? Well, the more people use GTM, the more blog posts, tutorials, and other types of content will be available. To name a few:
- The Ultimate list of 90+ GTM Resources
- The Library of Google Tag Manager Recipes
- Google Tag Manager tutorial
If you’re interested in learning more, here are some additional resources for you to continue:
Final thoughts on why you should use Google Tag Manager
I hope it helped you decide to start using GTM or convince someone else to do it. In my opinion, starting to use Google Tag Manager is a no-brainer. It’s a relatively easy-to-use solution to control tracking codes in one place.
If you want to track more complex stuff, you’ll need to invest some time to learn (there are free and paid options). But from my experience, learning was really fun, interesting, and engaging.