Using Tags in Google Tag Manager

You finally got a handle on Google Analytics and now we are tossing Google Tag Manager into the mix...question mark, exclamation point, etc., etc. ?!

I like to start where I started with my own journey in Google Tag Manager, and that would be - what’s the difference? Google Analytics does exactly what it says, providing reporting about activity on your website. Google Tag Manager, on the other hand, fires a tracking code based on rules you defined for that particular tag, kind of like an automation rule in your Email Marketing strategy.

google tag manager

Is Google Tag Manager easy to use? This might not be a great answer - sorry, everyone, but it’s really not simple! You do need some technical knowledge and understanding of what the tags do and how to use them, so this is a general knowledge-esque tip to hopefully spark your interest in diving into Google Tag Manager.

This article is focused on using tags, so I won’t get into variables, triggers, and all of the other fun stuff you’ll have to get a handle on when you finish here. 

What are tags?

Tags are snippets of code or “tracking pixels” (hopefully you’ve heard of this before) that tell Google Tag Manager what to do. The most common examples are:

  • Google Analytics
  • Ad Words
  • Heatmaps (Hotjar, Crazyegg, etc.)
  • Facebook pixel
  • Custom HTML


So how can these tags be tracked in Google Tag Manager...the good stuff!

Remember when I said you finally got an understanding of Google Analytics? That’s great! Because we can send our tag data directly into Google Analytics.

To name just a few of the somewhat endless opportunities for data collection... tracking PDF downloads, outbound link clicks, button clicks, trigger data collection based on position of scroll on your website...really, it’s endless!

Let’s go through a specific scenario - let’s say on your donation form you really want to understand your users' behavior beyond only knowing if they’ve submitted the form or not. You can use GTM (that’s the hipper also Google search friendly shorthand of Google Tag Manager) to track if users scroll down past the first section of your donation form and then bounce off the page, or click on your $50 donation option but then quickly change their mind and pick $10 instead. 

GTM is another tool to keep in (I’m going to say it..) your toolbox that can help you better understand your visitors and help guide your marketing and web strategies through user data.


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