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What is Google Tag Manager and how can I use it Effectively?

Author's avatar By Robert Jones 07 Feb, 2017
Essential Essential topic

Our new guide shows you how to set up and optimise your tag management system

Today, marketers have a wealth of potential tools to manage their digital marketing as shown by the Smart Insights infographic wheel of digital marketing technologies organised around the RACE planning framework.

Yet this presents a challenge, since the number of tags on any one web page has increased, in some extreme cases into double-digits, the need for a more effective way to manage them has emerged.

This amazing array of tools and products will generally have one thing in common –they all need to be installed using a JavaScript tag, a simple pixel, or most likely both.

A Tag Management System is a method of replacing a multitude of tags with a single tag that effectively acts as a beacon for all.

The system has come about through the innovation of such tools and products and the need to quickly install them without waiting for long IT development cycles.

What is a Tag Management System?

A service to enable the addition and modification of digital analytics and technology tags across multiple websites pages using a single “container tag” which includes multiple tags from different services.

Google Tag Manager is a Tag management system which is gaining popularity.

The main benefits of Google Tag Manager include:

  • It simplifies tagging process and removes multiple tags for multiple tag implementation on side - one code instead of lots of multiple codes, making life easier.
  • It also hands the power marketing rather than having to rely on developers.

Google Analytics expert Matt Trimmer has produced a guide highlighting the power of Google Tag Manager for marketers available as part of Smart Insights Expert membership.

The guide acts as a briefing for the opportunities from managing tags covering what they are, what they do, why they need to be managed.

Although there are alternative Tag Management systems which we reference in section 6, our focus is the Google Tag Manager, due to its popularity and functionality. Google Tag Manager like Google Analytics has become ubiquitous because of its price, quality and ease of use. Google Tag Manager can be installed on websites (the major use case) and also in apps iOS, Android, Firebase and AMPs), but this guide focuses on website tags and the management of those website tags.

The guide is practical, so that it balances explanations of the business benefits of tag management and gives practical guidance on setup and implementation relevant for marketers working for clients and agencies alike. Google has its own thorough, technical documentation which is excellent, although it can become out-of-date, and is limited since it doesn’t advise which options are needed most often. The guide also contains common use cases.

Our expert member Google Tag Manager guide is available for immediate download here.

Author's avatar

By Robert Jones

Robert Jones is a specialist in CRO, UX Research, insight and digital Marketing. He is CRO Analyst at Enjoy Digital. He has a Psychology Masters of Research, has run large digital marketing campaigns to build research panels and worked in insight roles for Vision Critical, ASDA and WhatUsersDo. He also managed all of Smart Insights member resources and published several guides including "How to conduct Persona Research" as well as contributing over 100 blog posts to the Smart Insights blog. When he isn’t working on marketing campaigns he is most likely eating authentic Italian food or planning his next short trip. You can connect with Robert on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.

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Google Tag Manager

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