Google Tag Manager (GTM) allows marketers to add and update website tags and mobile applications, anywhere, anytime and at no cost without bothering the IT folks. Looking to collect the right data at the right time in a cost effective way? Hoping for a faster website load speed to enhance the user experience? Searching for a low risk tag management system? Then maybe it’s time to upgrade to GTM.
After focusing on the benefits, drawbacks, future features and functionality of Google Tag Manager in our previous blog, we will now cover the steps involved in upgrading to GTM, providing some essential top tips for avoiding risk when using the Tag Manager.
Steps to upgrade to Google Tag Manager
Step One: Define your business objectives - Before proceeding, it is imperative you understand and define:
- Macros: the data you wish to collect
- Rules: which events you wish to track
- Tags: which vendors you use to collect the data such as Google Analytics, Universal Analytics or Google AdWords.
Step Two: Begin by setting up Google Tag Manager here, followed by creating a container for each domain you wish to track.
Step Three: Upon creation, you will be provided with a code snippet. This should be placed directly after the opening tag on every page of your site, carefully adding each tag from the site into the Google Tag Manager container for tracking purposes.
Step Four: After the snippet of code has been applied to all pages of the website, it is time to refer back to the interface to define your rules for tag firing and implement the macros, as set out in step one.
Step Five: As recommended by the Google experts, creating a copy of your existing container is advised for testing purposes using the preview or debug tool. This will help ensure tags fire as expected before launch on the live site. As always, testing is critical!
Step Six: Prior to successful testing, it is time to migrate to Google Tag Manager - this involves removing all hard-coded tags from the site as you should have already added them to the container, as per step two.
Step Seven: It is now time to push GTM live. At this stage, ensure you have selected the correct version and note - rules, tags and macros will only be implemented when live. When published, data can be viewed instantly.
Top Tips to avoid risk when upgrading to Google Tag Manager (GTM)
As discussed in our previous blog, GTM is relatively new and there are some potential drawbacks at present, however our top tips will ensure you minimise potential risk.
- Although GTM was developed with marketers in mind, testing is critical to success and the average marketer may lack the required technical skills. This is where a development/staging site will come in handy. GTM offers the ability to create and utilise a separate copy test container for use on the development site to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Again due to this limited technical knowledge, it is advised that marketers do not deal with custom HTML tags, as they can be complex and are best left to the tech team. However, marketers can still deal with template tags, such as Google Analytics, Universal Analytics, Google AdWords and AdWords Remarketing, etc. As GTM is still relatively new, it is expected the list of template tags will continue to grow over the coming months widening the flexibility and level of control for marketers.
- After implementing GTM, many opt to keep tags such as Analytics on their website for a few days for comparison purposes before relying solely on GTM. This is something we recommend doing to cross-check that tags are firing correctly, etc.
- In the testing stage, the debug tool will create an iframe at the bottom displaying whether tags are firing or failing. We highly recommend utilising this tool.
Google Tag Manager is still relatively new and there is a lot to learn, however we hope the above steps will help streamline your transition and mitigate risk where possible. With GTM being free, relatively friendly to the tech-adverse, good for site performance (i.e. faster website load speeds), good for collecting data efficiently and promoting ease of migration to the next generation of Analytics, implementation has never been more attractive.
If you require help upgrading to GTM, we are more than happy to help, get in touch today!