Tracking your website data is one of the best ways to improve your digital marketing and maximize your website’s success. With tools like Google Analytics, you can see how people find your website, how they interact with it, where they’re converting, and much more. Tags — snippets of code that extract data from your site and send it to tools such as Google Analytics — make this possible.
Managing these tags, however, can be challenging, especially if you have a lot of them. With a tool called Google Tag Manager, you can make your tag management easier and more efficient. Getting started with the tool, though, comes with a bit of a learning curve and time commitment.
At this point, you may be wondering, “Should I set up Google Tag Manager?” In this post, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of using the tool and help you answer that question. Our library of FREE guides can help you plan your next digital marketing campaign with ease.
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What is Google Tag Manager?
Google Tag Manager is a free tool from Google that helps you create and manage tags for your website. Tags are snippets of code that pull information about your website and send it to a program where you can access it.
You can use tags to send information to Google tools such as Google Analytics and Google Ads as well as tools from third parties. Without a tag manager, you’ll need to modify your website’s code manually to add tags. Google Tag Manager allows you to manage your tags using an interface, and it codes the tags and adds them to your website for you.
The benefits of Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager can be beneficial for businesses and websites of all types and sizes. Why use Google Tag Manager? Here are some of the top benefits.
You can manage your tags without technical knowledge
One of the main benefits of Google Tag Manager is that you can manage your tags even if you don’t know how to alter your code manually. This means your marketing team can manage tags themselves and doesn’t need to rely on a web developer.
It can prevent tags from slowing down your page speed
Having too many tags on a page that fire simultaneously can slow down your page’s load speed. Google Tag Manager can help prevent this by causing your tags to load more efficiently. If tags fire at the same time, one slow tag can delay the rest.
With Google Tag Manager, tags fire asynchronously by default, so they can fire whenever they are ready without slowing down the rest of the page. In Google Tag Manager, you can also choose the order in which your tags fire.
It works for standard websites, AMP sites, and mobile apps
In addition to standard websites, Google Tag Manager works for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) sites – a type of site optimized for mobile devices – and mobile apps. With Google Tag Manager, you can update your app’s tags without releasing a new version of your app.
It lets you customize your data tracking
Google Tag Manager makes it much easier to customize the data you track for your website. You can easily track custom events and test out new data collection methods.
It works with many data tools
In addition to tools from Google like Google Analytics and Google Ads, Google Tag Manager works with a long list of third-party tools, including Adobe Analytics, Salesforce, Twitter, and more. With Google Tag Manager, all your code for these tools is in one place.
It checks for errors before adding a tag
In preview and debug mode, Google Tag Manager checks your tags for errors before you make them live. With this feature, you can also see all the tags that are firing on a page.
The drawbacks of Google Tag Manager
There are some drawbacks to Google Tag Manager, so it might not be ideal or necessary for every website.
It comes with a learning curve
While Google Tag Manager significantly reduces the technical knowledge needed to manage tags, it still has a bit of a learning curve. You’ll need to learn a little about how tags work and take some time to learn how to use the tool. If you don’t use it very often, you might need a refresher each time you go to use it.
The initial setup still requires some technical knowledge
During the Google Tag Manager setup process, you need to remove any existing tags and add the Google Tag Manager container code snippet to each page. You’ll need someone with development knowledge to complete these steps, and the process can take a long time for large sites with lots of tags.
More advanced uses may require technical knowledge
Google Tag Manager makes it much easier for non-developers to manage their website’s tags, and you can use most of the tool’s features without too much technical know-how. If you want to access advanced functionality, such as creating complex custom tracking mechanisms, you’ll need some web development skills. If you want the benefits of Google Tag Manager but are worried about some of these challenges, consider working with a professional digital marketing agency like WebFX.
Through our web analytics services, we can help you set up tracking for your website and get more out of your data. WebFX is a marketing and design industry leader.
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Should I set up Google Tag Manager?
When deciding if you should set up Google Tag Manager, ask yourself these questions. Your answers will help you determine if Google Tag Manager is right for you.
Do you use a lot of tags or frequently add new tags?
Google Tag Manager can save you a lot of time if you work with tags a lot. If you use many different tags or frequently add and test out new tags, it may be worth using Google Tag Manager.
If you don’t change your tags much or only use one or two tags, though, the Google Tag Manager setup process and learning how to use the tool may not be worthwhile for you.
Does manually adding tags create challenges for you?
Do you find yourself struggling with adding tags, spending lots of time on it, or waiting long periods for your web developer to add new tags? Then, Google Tag Manager may be right for you!
However, if you have the technical know-how to add tags to your website and don’t spend too much of your time on it, you may be able to get by without Google Tag Manager. Before deciding to go Tag Manager-free though, consider, that Google Tag Manager can help you reduce errors. It has a preview and debug mode that lets you check for issues before making a new tag live.
If you have a web developer on staff who adds tags for you, you may be asking yourself, “Why use Google Tag Manager when my web developer can handle it?” Keep in mind that using Google Tag Manager can save your web development team time and allow them to focus on larger, more complex projects. With Google Tag Manager, your marketing team can handle tagging themselves, even if they have limited web development knowledge.
Do you want to customize the data you track?
Google Tag Manager also makes it easier to customize your tags so that you can track different kinds of data in new ways. This is helpful for testing out new features and getting more personalized insights from your data.
Think about whether your business could benefit from customizing your website data tracking. Google Tag Manager enables you to start customizing your tagging or saving significant amounts of time doing so.
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So, should you set up Google Tag Manager? Review the pros and cons and ask yourself the questions listed above. Then, decide for yourself if it’s right for your website!
Remember, since it’s a free tool, you can always try it out and switch back if it doesn’t work for you. If you want to learn more about how Google Tag Manager and web analytics works, check out our free analytics resources. For help setting up analytics for your website, consider our web analytics services.