Google Tag Manager – One Code To Rule Them All

by Ryan Cruz July 18th, 2014 

One Code to Rule Them All

Photo by: I_Believe_ under cc

Obviously, I'm a fan of LOTR, but thanks to Google Tag Manager, there's an easier way to manage your website tags and mobile applications for free. In fact, I can't remember the last time I didn't use it or recommend it.

Here's just a few reasons why I love using it:

  • It's easy to implement and use (if you don't know how to set it up, this article will show you how to do it in less than 15 mins)
  • It can save us a lot of time – Addition of new codes, removal of old ones, updates can be done quickly on the tag manager account instead of manually updating webpages
  • It works with Google and Non-Google codes and tags – Most of the tracking codes, scripts from third parties works with Google Tag Manager
  • It's user friendly, yet it has tons of powerful features – You can use tag manager to track events, form submits, setup dynamic remarketing and more

5 Steps On How To Implement Google Tag Manager in Less Than 15 Mins

1.Create a Google Tag Manager Account

In order to get started, you need to sign up for a Google Tag Manager account (It's free). Simply visit this link (http://www.google.com/tagmanager) and sign up using your gmail or google account.

Setup an Account

  • Setup an account and setup a container – choose Web Pages if you want to use Google tag manager for your website properties. I usually just enter the website URL in the container name for easier naming convention.
  • For the domains, you'll want to add subdomains, non www urls and www urls if you haven't configured URL canonicalization. For the time zone settings, use the correct time zone that is similar to your other Google accounts (usually your local time zone setting).

Setup a Container

  • Accept the terms of service and you'll be able to get the Google Tag Manager Code that needs to be installed in all pages of your site.

Ready to be installed

2. Install Google Tag Manager Code on All Pages of the Site

Send this code to your web developer and tell them to add this code to all pages of your website, including thank you pages, checkout pages, cart pages, etc. Place this code immediately after the opening <body> tag.

<head>
…..
….
</head>
<body>
<Google tag manager code here>
….


</body>

  • Save these changes and check if you've installed the Tag Manager code correctly.

2 ways to check if you've installed the codes on your website properly

1.Right click on your webpage and check view-source (Ctrl-F to find the tag manager code added to the source code of the webpage)
2. Use Tag Assistant (by Google) to check if code has been installed – Install this extension in your Google chrome browser.

3. Create Tags and Rules

Now that you've installed the tag manager code on your website and webpages, you'll need to add tags and create rules. Tags would contain the specific codes that you want to be added on your website.

If you only want to run specific tracking codes or scripts on some pages of your site, then you can specify them using rules.

Google has made it a lot easier for you to implement new tags. Login to your Google Tag Manager account and navigate to the Container Draft option on the sidebar. Choose tags to create your first Tag.

Create new tag

I usually add a Google Analytics Tag, Adwords Remarketing Tag, Adwords Conversion Tracking Code, and a Custom HTML Tag (third party tracking scripts) in most of the accounts I work with.

GA Tag

  • Add Rules to control where you would like your tags to work
    • For Google Analytics, you might want the Google Analytics Tag to fire on All Pages, this is the same with your Adwords Remarketing code.All Pages
    • For Adwords Conversion tracking, you only want it to work on your checkout or thank you pages. (see example Rule below)

Thank you page

Save all your tags (we're almost done!)

4. Publish Your Tags

After creating your tags and rules, there's still one thing left to do before Tag manager works, you'll need to publish your tag versions.

Simply go to Overview, click Create Version then Publish.

Publish Tags

Check your site with Google Tag Assistant and you should now be able to see that the tags are now live!

Tags installed

5. Preview and Debug

This final step is entirely optional, but it's very useful especially if you are trying to troubleshoot things and check if your settings are working properly.

Click Preview and Debug

preview and debug

Domain confirmation

A preview confirmation will popup and click the domain that you would like to test.

A new window redirecting to your domain will open, but if you scroll down to the bottom, a debug window will open which will show you the status of your tags.

sep debug
And as we can see, the remarketing tag, custom HTML tag, and Universal analytics tag all fired properly (The rule is set to all pages), while the Adwords Conversion tracking did not fire because the rule is set to fire only in the conversion url of the form submit.

If you've followed this article, congratulations in setting up your first Google Tag Manager installation. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments section below.

What's Next

This is just the tip of the iceberg for Google Tag Manager, in my next blog post, I'll write about advance uses for Google Tag Manager.

Ryan Cruz

Ryan is a PPC Specialist at Search Engine People, Inc and has been working in traffic generation, conversion optimization, and internet marketing for almost 8 years. Ryan focuses on driving digital performance on all the PPC accounts he handles. He's also into photography and juicing!

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