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Introducing Google Tag Manager

Have you ever needed to make a tiny change to your Google Analytics tracking code, but your IT team told you it would be 6 weeks until the next code refresh? What if you could just log into a tool, make the change, and have it go live immediately – without IT involvement? Now you can.

Google Tag Manager

Google announced the launch of Google Tag Manager this morning at the eMetrics conference in Boston. Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a free tool that lets you manage the marketing and measurement tags for your web site in one place. This means no more scattering scripts across your pages and waiting on IT to track them down.

LunaMetrics is proud to be one of the first approved GTM specialists, and we’ve been test driving this new tool for a couple months now.

GTM will help make it easier to maintain and update multiple tracking and marketing tags across your site. For example, you can include your Google Analytics tracking code, AdWords conversion tracking and remarketing tags, DoubleClick Floodlight Counter and Sales tags, and even your own custom tags – all in one location.

The difference is that instead of including all of the various tags throughout the page of your site, you include them in GTM. Now you only have one tag – the standard GTM container script – to put on every page of your site. Using the GTM interface, you set up rules and conditions on when to fire each individual tag. For example, you would set a rule to fire your Google Analytics tag on every page of the site.

Although you can’t yet use GTM for testing tags (Google Content Experiments, Optimizely, etc.), that is a “coming soon” feature. You can find out more details about how GTM works, how to set it up and common questions on the Google Tag Manager help center.

Let us know

Will you be using Google Tag Manager? What questions do you have about it? Let us know – the comments are yours!

 

Jim Gianoglio

About Jim Gianoglio

Jim Gianoglio is a Senior Digital Analyst at LunaMetrics. He works with implementation and analysis of Google Analytics, and spearheads the LunaMetrics Google Analytics seminars across the country. Want to see him in action? He'll be leading some of our upcomingGoogle Analytics trainings. Before succumbing to the siren song of analytics, he led the SEO campaigns of Fortune 500 companies in the insurance, retail and CPG industries. Things you didn’t know about Jim: he has biked from Pittsburgh to Washington DC, photographs weddings, and roasts his own coffee beans.

http://www.lunametrics.com/blog/2012/10/01/google-tag-manager/

13 Responses to “Introducing Google Tag Manager”

Amin Shawki says:

Great article about Google Tag Manager! We’re excited for this new marketing tool as well. The problem we noticed is the hassle it can be spending a lot of time searching for those tags in your website’s code, especially as a marketer. So we created a tool that finds tags in your website’s code and generates a report of all tag locations for you. TagInspector.com will save web marketers so much time automatically pulling tag locations and sending a report directly to inboxes; definitely worth a look.

Mike Belasco says:

Hi Jim,
Why can’t you use it for testing tags yet, specifically Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer?

Thanks
Mike

Maggie says:

@Mike
According to Google docs: Custom HTML can be used to include any tag that doesn’t make visible changes to the page and doesn’t need to be fired synchronously or in a specific order. For example, tags with ‘document.write’ functionality built into the snippet and A/B testing tags should not be used.
Hope this feature is added soon.

Thanks Maggie – you beat me to it!

Basically, if you have an A/B testing script in GTM, you currently can’t control the order in which in fires. So it might happen that your page loads, all your other scripts run, then your A/B testing script runs which potentially changes the page to version A/B/n. So from a user experience, you see one page, then quickly it reloads a different version. From a GA perspective, you’d get 2 pageviews out of it, and the whole thing would be a mess.

Amir R says:

I am using GTM and was wondering if and how it is possible to run an A/B test with Google’s content experiment tool at the same time.

Thanks,
Amir

Hi Amir -

Unfortunately that’s not possible at this time. It has to do with the order in which the tags contained in GTM fire. You can’t currently control the order, so your GA tag could potentially fire before the Content Experiments tag (bad mojo).

Tom says:

But couldn’t this happen without GTM, too? Let’s say I put my Optimizely code before GTM – then I know the script will start loading before GTM but as browsers load several ressources in parallel it’s not necessarily finished loading before the scripts in GTM… or do I get something wrong? No JS expert :)

@Tom -

Interesting question! In theory, if you place Optimizely (or Content Experiments) code above the GTM script, it would work. I’ve not tried this myself, so I encourage you to test it out before you implement it in production.

I do not even understand how I ended up right here, however I thought this submit was once good. I don’t know who you are but definitely you are going to a well-known blogger should you aren’t already. Cheers!

Chris Madden says:

@Jim: thanks for the article, very helpful. Any update on using GTM for A/B testing? Does VWO’s ability to choose synchronous or asynchronous code help here? Thanks again!

@Chris – still no support for A/B testing, although it’s “coming soon.” Choosing sync or async in VWO wouldn’t necessarily make it work in GTM. It’s more to do with the fact that GTM is async – all tags start firing at the same time. There are ways to hack and work around that to fire tags in a specific order, but it’s certainly not supported or documented (try at your own risk, if you will).

Any update on whether GTM supports A/B testing yet?

If not, can I safely use GTM and just manually install code (such as Optimizely code) for A/B testing to individual pages?

@Stephen -

Still no word on when GTM will support A/B testing tags. But you can include those manually on the page, like you asked.