Google Tag Manager: Video and Q&A

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 | 2:33 PM

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Have you ever struggled with implementing new marketing and measurement tools on your website? For many people, deploying data collection “tags” (like conversion tracking, remarketing, audience reporting and analytics) can take weeks or months. Worse, the tag implementation is often incorrect, meaning you’re missing out on valuable information about your site and its users.

It doesn’t need to be difficult. We recently held a webinar to introduce users to Google Tag Manager, a free tool that helps marketers and IT departments manage their marketing and measurement tags quickly and easily. Watch the video here to learn more about:
  • Overall benefits and features of using Google Tag Manager
  • A quick demonstration of how to deploy a new tracking tag
  • Tips for getting your company started with Google Tag Manager



In addition to this webinar, we’ll be hosting a technical webinar in January to help new users through the nuts and bolts of installing Google Tag Manager (with lots of concrete examples). Stay tuned -- we’ll share registration information in a future blog post, or you can check back on the Learn with Google webinar site.

Read on for responses to some of the top questions we received during the webinar.

Questions and Answers

Where can I find out more about the core concepts described in the webinar?

To learn more about the Google Tag Manager management interface, please visit our Help Center -- you may want to start with our Before you Begin article. There you can find more information about key concepts like Tags, Rules, and Macros. For developers interested in how to implement Google Tag Manager, please visit our developer documentation. Or if you’d like help with implementation, you can contact one of our Partners. You can also ask questions (and find responses to questions from others) on the Google Tag Manager product forum.

What happens to historical data if we move to Google Tag Manager?

All of your historical data should be preserved when you move to Google Tag Manager. Google Tag Manager only changes the way that tags are deployed and managed on your site, it does not change the way data is collected.

How would you migrate a tag?

Follow these steps to migrate tags -- whether it’s a single tag or all the tags on your site. If you’re just getting started, take a look at our Before you Begin article.
  • Create a Google Tag Manager Account and a Container associated with that account.
  • Install that Container code snippet on every page of your website (so that it appears immediately after the opening <body> tag). The container should be empty.
  • Map your site - thinking about what data you want to collect, what events you want to track, and which tags you want to use to track that data. You should think about where your current tags are implemented, but now is a great time to rethink your overall data collection goals and start fresh.
  • (Optional) If you would like to make use of the Data Layer functionality, create a data layer on the pages where you wish to pass information or fire tags
  • Create Tags, Rules and Macros within the Google Tag Manager interface according to the map you just created. Make sure to apply the correct Rules to your Tags to make sure they fire in the right place.
  • Test the changes you’ve made in Google Tag Manager using debug and preview mode.
  • Then push a version of your site live that has removed the hard-coded tags from within the page. At this time, also Publish your changes using the Publishing feature of Google Tag Manager, which pushes the changes live to the site.
For more precise details on these steps, read our developer documents about migration.

Can you add tags to events or buttons?

Definitely! In order to use Google Tag Manager to fire tags on events and buttons, follow these steps (for more detail, read our developer document on event handlers):
  • On your page, proactively add the dataLayer.push({ ‘event’: ‘myEventName’}) to the event handlers for all events and buttons you might want to track.
  • Create a new rule where “event equals myEventName”.
  • Associate this rule with any tag you’d like to fire when the specified event happens.
Can hard-coded tags and tag manager co-exist? Do I have to remove my other tracking tags?

We strongly recommend that you completely migrate all your tags, so you can take advantage of the benefits of managing and updating those tags within Google Tag Manager. However, if a full migration seems too hard, you can use Google Tag Manager in parallel with hard-coded tags. Some of our users use Google Tag Manager to only manage adding new tags.

If you choose to do a partial migration to Google Tag Manager, you need to be very careful to make sure you don’t accidentally start double-counting your tags. If you decided to deploy a tag via Google Tag Manager, make sure that you don’t have a version of the same tag firing on the same page.

Can you build your own custom tag templates? And how do I become a recognized Tag Vendor within Google Tag Manager?

Custom Tag templates within Google Tag Manager allow you to copy/paste any HTML or Image tags directly into Google Tag Manager and fire it based on your predefined rules and macros. To turn it into a template, use the {{macro_name}} syntax to populate the tag code with dynamic values. We will also do a syntax check to ensure that when you copy your 3rd party tag, it will fire as intended.

If you’re interested in having your tag added to the list of predefined templates, apply to become a Tag Vendor within Google Tag Manager by completing this interest form.

How does this work with Google Analytics? How do you do things like track pageview and track event within Google Analytics?

Google Tag Manager is a convenient way to correctly deploy Google Analytics across your site. To use Google Analytics within Google Tag Manager, simply create a Tag with the Google Analytics tag template. You can select the “Track Type” as either a pageview, an event, or a transaction.

Make sure you have some version of the Google Analytics tag firing across all pages on your site. A good way to do this would be to have a basic tag firing on all pages, but blocking on pages where your more customized tags are firing (like the thank you page where you’d be firing a specialized transaction tag type).

Can the Google Tag Manager snippet be placed in How about in my footer?

The recommended best practice is to have the Google Tag Manager snippet at the top of the to maximize data collection, but some clients may find it easier to implement the Container snippet elsewhere in the in the page, like the footer.

Do not place the Google Tag Manager snippet in (for the IT folks: this is because there is an iframe in the <;noscript> case, which can have unpredictable results in some browsers).

No matter where you install the container snippet, you will need to make sure that this snippet of code is on every page of their site. Google Tag Manager will still work if you only deploy it on part of your site, but Google Tag Manager’s rule based system will only work on pages where the snippet is deployed. For more details, read our developer documents.

Does Google Tag Manager replace Doubleclick Floodlight?

No, Google Tag Manager does not replace Floodlight -- they are complementary. Floodlight is a conversion pixel for DoubleClick products (Floodlight tags can now be deployed within Google Tag Manager), and Google Tag Manager is a tag management system or “container tag” for multiple tagging technologies. Floodlight has previously been used by some users as a container tag as well, but moving forward, Google Tag Manager is a way to deploy all tracking technology.

You also have the ability to pass custom floodlight variables through Google Tag Manager into Floodlight, through the Data Layer. For more information, please review the material in the Developers Guide.

We hope this webinar and this blog post will help you as you get started with Google Tag Manager, and we look forward to seeing you at our technical webinar in January. (Registration details coming soon).