Ever tried building a campaign, and needed tracking tags placed on all of your websites, but your web developer wasn’t exactly responsive?
Do you want to be able to update your analytics code, or rotate a tracking pixel out for a new campaign without relying on one person to install the tracking info?
We certainly did, so we integrated Google Tag Manager into our websites. Before, we would manually enter the tags into our website footer and upload- not exactly tedious, but left a lot of room for improvement and relied solely on a web developer to make changes and upload. This frees up our web devs time for more important matters, and allows analysts to continue working.
With Google Tag Manager in place, now any one of our analysts can install / maintain tags present throughout any of our sites, all from one source.
You can get rolling in under 15 minutes, and we’ll explain how.
Setting it up
Signing up for and installing Google Tag Manager on your sites is pretty straightforward. Just sign into your Google account and head over to https://www.google.com/tagmanager/ and click on either Sign In or Sign up now:
Once you’re signed in, you’re brought to the main interface of Google Tag Manager. Before you create any containers, go ahead and click on users to in
A key benefit to using Google Tag Manager is the ability to allow multiple users to create, maintain, and publish tags. While here, invite which users you want to have access, and set their permissions:
Once finished, you’ll set up a tag container to hold your tags. Navigate back to the overview, click “New Container” and enter the info:
It will then generate a code snippet for you to drop into your websites header or footer- any file that is loaded throughout the website will work. I used the footer.php file- Just make sure you place the tag within the <body> section, then save and upload to your website:
Once you have the code snippet installed, you can start creating tag drafts. For an easy demonstration, I quickly set up our Universal Analytics account. In the top-right corner, click NEW->TAG. From there, it will ask you to fill in the necessary details:
One cool feature you may notice is on the right-hand side, there’s a box for FIRING RULES. These allow you to set up where this tag will appear based on a variety of parameters. We’ve been hard at work on our Express Quickstarts for small business, so if we wanted to have a custom tracking tag that only appears on the landing page, we could use the URL slug at the end of the address:
Using this rule, the tag manager will now only inject the tracking code if the URL contains the specified phrase- useful for per-page tracking.
Once you’ve made your tag, it’s important to remember to always publish your changes once ready. Click CREATE VERSION in the top right corner:
This will advance the version number and store the last revision. From here, you’re able to preview your changes, and publish the current container Once you hit publish, the container will go live and changes will show up on your website.
Your changes are now live and functioning on your site! Do mind that if you manually added your tracking codes before, you’ll need to remove them to keep them from firing twice and skewing your data.
There are a number of ways to use the custom tags and rules system to rig your website with different triggers. The system supports not only Google services, but custom HTML/1×1 pixel image tags as well, so you can use any service with this. There are other features, but we’ll touch on those later.
Of course, you don’t have to use all these advanced features; you can simply use it as a clean interface to store all of your analytics information and tracking codes.
I suggest diving in and playing around – The system is powerful and flexible enough to experiment with and revert if you don’t like the results, so get creative!
Readers- have you implemented Google Tag Manager? What creative ways have you used it?
About the Author
You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.
You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.