Wondering if Google Tag Manager is right for your blog? Learn what GTM does and how it can help bloggers learn more about their users.
Bloggers looking to add an additional layer of tracking beyond Google Analytics may wish to consider using Google Tag Manager (GTM). GTM is a free webtool. It is designed to help developers, bloggers, and site owners dig and drill down a bit further. This allows for a better understanding of how and where users are interacting with their site.
What is Google Tag Manager?
When manually entering tracking code, WordPress requests that it be placed in the ‘head' section of your CSS. This requires you to go into WordPress, and sometimes add a header and footer plug-in to ensure you're putting the tracking code in the correct place within your HTML. While it's doable, it can be cumbersome, especially if you notice later on that the code is broken somewhere and you need to troubleshoot exactly where and how to fix it.
Using GTM allows you to manage all of your marketing tags and pixels in one central location outside of your blog. When you check the HTML of your site when plugging tags into the ‘head' section, you'll often see a large list of different tags; one for each individual third-party tools.
GTM creates a snippet based on all of your individual third-party tool tags and acts as a bucket and holds them in one place. This allows you to add and remove tags from one location rather than having to go in and out of your HTML to manipulate the tags.
What Does GTM Do?
Google Tag Manager allows for interaction-based tracking without the need for coding–all done within the Google Tag Manager dashboard. What is particularly helpful is that Google Tag Manager keeps track of each version you've implemented. This way, in the event that something goes wrong, you can double back and implement a prior version. It is a great tool for handling marketing tags and makes maintaining and editing them faster.
Within Google Tag Manager you can preview your site before it goes live to see all of your tags. You are also able to create specific variables to allow certain tags to show up on specific pages. Google Tag Manager is truly customizable and gives you more overall control. You can even drill down and deploy a tag depending upon a particular action your user takes.
How Does GTM Work?
For example, a trigger can be something like scrolling to a certain part of your site or clicking ‘add to cart' on your e-commerce page. There you are better able to see where and how your users are interacting with your site.
Google Analytics in Conjunction with GTM
For best results, use Google Tag Manager alongside Google Analytics (GA). Both work together to give you a comprehensive look at what is going on behind the scenes. Google Analytics collects data about visitors to your site. It provides reports that help you analyze that data in a variety of ways. Google Tag Manager collects the physical activity that is taking place on your site. GTM captures interactions users initiate within the site pages. GTM then reports those interactions to Google Analytics where you can further analyze it against other reports that GA allows you to run.
Do Bloggers Need to Know How to Use Google Tag Manager?
Many of the larger, established blogs have marketing teams that perform custom tracking for the site. Because Google Tag Manager is a free and useful tool for site owners, it may be worth taking the time to learn. Having a better idea of specific actions users initiate on your blog, can help you tailor your site and your content. This helps you ensure you're offering the best user experience. It also allows you to take advantage of all potential income-generating opportunities.
There are several free introductory tutorials that offer step-by-step instructions on how to set up GTM including this one from Google. They explain how to use it and when and why you might want to implement GTM. This free tool is inherently valuable. Bloggers who wish to take their sites to the next level may find it a useful resource.
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