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What is Google Tag Manager?
Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a free tool that allows you to deploy and update analytics and measurement tags (also known as tracking pixels) on your website or mobile app from a codeless, web-based user interface.
The function of Tags is to capture user behavior data and transmit it to marketing applications where it can be used to measure outcomes and drive business decision-making.
Google Tag Manager solves this challenge by providing a simple user interface that lets marketers manage the implementation, customization, deployment, and maintenance of Tags on their websites without any need for coding.
How Does Google Tag Manager (GTM) Work?
Once you set up Google Tag Manager, you’ll be able to capture user behaviors on your website and send data to third-party applications by creating and managing Tags, Triggers, and Variables.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these three components to understand its role in user behavior tracking with Tags.
A Tag is a segment of code or a tracking pixel that enables a third-party application to track specific user behaviors on your website. When a Tag is activated by its Trigger, it will execute its code by collecting the relevant data and transmitting it to the target application.
Any marketing software tool that captures user data from visitors to your website will probably require you to install and manage their Tags.
In addition to these featured Tags, Google Tag Manager provides native support for measurement Tags and tracking pixels from hundreds of different applications.
Google Analytics allows marketers to install Tags that report on specific events, such as clicks and purchases, while third-party CRO tools like Hotjar and Crazy Egg use tags to track fine-grained user behaviors, such as cursor movement and scrolling actions.
Marketers can also write custom HTML scripts that capture specific user behaviors for their own in-house applications.
Triggers are rules that determine when, where, or how a Tag will be activated. Marketers can choose to activate or “fire” a Tag at several different times, such as when a specific page is viewed, when the user clicks a specific element on the page, or when a specified user engagement event takes place.
Google Tag Manager allows you to select and customize a Trigger that will fire a specific Tag on your website.
In computer programming, a variable is a symbol representing a value that changes depending on conditions in the system. Variables in Google Tag Manager work in much the same way, and may be used in both Triggers and Tags.
In addition to five built-in variables (Event, Page Hostname, Page Path, Path URL, and Referrer), marketers can create their own user-defined variables or copy from the Community Template Gallery.
Variables in Triggers act like filters that specify extra conditions or restrictions on when a Trigger should fire.
This Trigger can be customized to fire on All Link Clicks, or just Some Link Clicks. If the latter is chosen, marketers must use either built-in or user-defined Variables to specify when the Trigger should fire.
Variables in Tags are used to capture dynamic values, often things like unique user identifiers that enable use cases like cross-device linking and User ID Remarketing.
Three Use Cases for Analytics and Measurement Tags
Tagging captures user behavior data from your website and sends it to third-party applications. Tagging supports a number of valuable use cases, including things like:
Marketers can use tags to track individual conversion events on their websites, such as when a user submits a form, watches an on-demand webinar or product demo, or downloads some gated content.
Remarketing ad campaigns specifically target users who have engaged with your brand or visited your website in the past. They’re also one of the most profitable and reliable campaign types for generating brand awareness and driving first-time sales.
Accurate targeting for your remarketing campaigns is supported by implementing the Google Ads Remarketing tags that helps Google identify and serve your ads to users that have visited your website in the past.
Conversion Rate Optimization
Capturing user behavior data with tagging can help you understand how audiences are engaging with your website and identity conversion rate optimization opportunities that drive downstream revenue.
What are the Benefits of Managing Tags with GTM?
Centralized Tag Management
Google Tag Manager provides a centralized location where you can manage Tags and tracking pixels for all of your applications.
Faster Page Loading
When you install a third-party tag, you’ll usually need to paste the code snippet above the <head> tag on your website. This ultimately means that the Tag will load on every page of your site – even on pages where it isn’t needed.
With Google Tag Manager, Variables give you more fine-grained control of when and where your Tags will be deployed, resulting in faster page loading times across your website. GTM also allows you to load Tags asynchronously, which has been shown to improve page speed in some cases.
Leveraging Google Tag Manager to Drive Marketing Results
Directive leverages Google Tag Manager as part of our Customer Generation methodology to capture user behavior data, drive remarketing campaigns, and uncover opportunities to increase conversion rates and drive revenue for our B2B SaaS clients.
Want to learn more?