Brief Introduction to Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a free tool that lets you manage and deploy tags (code snippets or tracking pixels) on your website, thereby reducing the reliance on developers and code release cycles. In addition to the website, GTM can also be used on apps as well.

Let’s look at the benefits of using Google Tag Manager (GTM):

Implementing marketing tags

The multiplication of marketing channels from AdWords to Facebook for acquisition has raised the need for implementing various marketing tags on your website. The typical process is that you gather the requirements including the code for implementing the pixels and create a ticket for your developers to work on. Once prioritized, this is a simple ticket for developers to churn out (most of the time).

Continuously updating existing tags and implementing new ones for different marketing channels and campaigns, however, can choke the dev throughput. That’s where GTM comes in! GTM enables the marketing team to manage these tags themselves and hence, turn these requests around in a timely manner. So, no more waiting for the tag to be implemented halfway through campaigns. What’s more, this unblocks the development team to focus on higher priority projects.

It’s important for the variables to be defined in your data layer. Once that’s done, tags are easy to implement and replicate. For example, if we want to implement a new Facebook tag for our product display pages (PDPs) and it needs to have details such as price and SKU, we could just replicate what we already have for a previously implemented tag such as AdWords which is using the same variables.

Having lots of tags fire on your website can slow down your page performance. GTM helps improve site speed as you can control when tags fire on the site based on a timer. For example, your customers likely do not need the live chat to fire immediately upon page load. So using the timer feature, you can figure out the sequence in which the various scripts should load, thus helping the page load faster.

Tags are typically touched by a few different people and teams. GTM changes are easy to manage through versioning.

Enhancing analytics tracking

Anyone who has worked in this space long enough knows that it is hard to get analytics tickets prioritized into a sprint unless there is a major bug in your tracking! Unfortunately, that reliance makes tracking improvements sluggish, resulting in your data being spotty while these tickets hang out in the backlog.

A huge benefit of GTM is the ability to add event tracking fairly easily. This helps you get a complete picture of the user journey in your web analytics tool such as Google Analytics. These events can include any actions that a user performs that are deemed important from a conversion standpoint.

In Google Tag Manager, you can track your ad conversions from any of these sources:


  • How deep are the users scrolling?
  • Are they proceeding to different steps in the sign-up/ checkout flow?
  • Are they clicking on a secondary call to action (CTA) button?
  • Are they watching the video on the product details page (PDP)?
  • Are they downloading the whitepaper offered on your lead gen page?
  • Are users signing up for the newsletter?


You can track when a visitor installs your app or takes action on it.


You can track when a customer calls your business through a phone number on your ads or website, including when a user clicks your phone number on your website with a mobile device.


You can track when your ad clicks result in an offline conversion, for example, when a sale occurs over the phone. To enable this tag, you need to import your conversions into Google Ads with a data file through the Google API.

This way you can track conversion actions and measure how and if your ads are driving the visitor to that conversion.


Personalization is the ability to serve relevant content to your users. By setting up tags in GTM and using Google Optimize, you can set up personalized experiences, circumventing the limitations of the free version of Google Optimize. CXL has some examples to get started.

It’s important to know that personalization may not work for all businesses so first really consider how personalization can be implemented and why would personalized content drive more conversions. Answer the following to determine if personalization is the right strategy for you:

  • Are you a business serving different geographical markets? Consider localizing the experience based on the visitor’s location and language.
  • Do you serve different types of customers? Try to segment your visitors to increase relevance.
  • Are you running multitude of acquisition campaigns promoting different offers and products? With personalization, you can align messaging on all relevant pages (not just the landing page).
  • Are you running an ecommerce site with discounts for specific campaigns? Try to apply these discounts directly on the site so visitors know the final price.
  • Getting a lot of traffic via email newsletters? Stop pestering these visitors with “subscribe” banners — they already are! Instead, maybe shift messaging to get them to refer friends.
  • Have an app or software for different platforms? Show download buttons only for the relevant platform, like App Store for iPhone users or a Windows download for PCs.

Next question to answer is are these segments big enough to justify the effort needed? All optimization efforts come with opportunity costs. If we choose to personalize to an audience, we’re forgoing other optimization opportunities.

Google Tag Manager is an extremely powerful tool. It certainly helps improve the agility of your organization and frees up developers to focus on more important projects. The versioning and timer features help manage tag updates and site performance. Finally, with a little bit of JavaScript, any marketer can create sophisticated personalization experiences, which — deployed intelligently — allow you to test more targeted, intent-based messages and site elements.

For further reading,

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