Last Fall, Google announced a brand new product that set the Online marketing world on fire (my opinion). It’s called Google Tag Manager. A rather obscure name if you know nothing about “tagging”. I know plenty. In short “tagging” is the process of adding application specific code to various areas of your website in order to track the effectiveness of online campaigns. Over the past few years, we have seen incredible improvements in digital marketing sophistication and capabilities (aka complexities). There are a plethora (and every evolving) array of tools that aid online marketers to better understand and measure the value of their efforts. Most online marketing tools rely on the addition of “tags” to your website.
The primary challenge has been the difficulty associated with adding “tags” to the various types of website platforms out there. Each has its own idiosyncrasies and nuances. The end result is a normally high cost to add the requisite tags to a website in order to properly measure the various online campaigns that have been implemented. Enter Google Tag Manager.
In the words of the folks at Google: “Google Tag Manager is a free tool that consolidates your website tags with a single snippet of code and lets you manage everything from a web interface. You can add and update your own tags, with just a few clicks, whenever you want, without bugging the IT folks or rewriting site code. It gives marketers greater flexibility, and lets webmasters focus on other important tasks.” There you have it! A no cost alternative that really contains no risk at all.
Simply log into Tag Manager and set up an account for your website. Then create a new “container”. Pretty straightforward. Google makes it sound simple. The initial setup actually is. The mind bending part is when you start to implement complex tags. For example, implementing tracking on an eCommerce Shopping Cart is not for the faint of heart. Knowledge of RegEx is required. Otherwise you’ll be wasting plenty of time.
Who is it for?
Anyone who wants to implement anything more then the basic Google Analytics tracking (there are so many other easy ways to do this). Mind you, one can implement Tag Manager with the anticipation of “tagging” other items down the road.
Can I break my site?
Nope…. Tag Manager allows you the ability to test any tagging you have implemented prior to rolling it out (There is a nifty console that is fun to play with).
I have recently been working with a client who is an optimal example of an entity that needs Google Tag Manager:
1) They don’t control their own website
2) Anything but the most rudimentary CMS changes are difficult and time consuming to operationalize
3) Their business environment includes an online store in combination with a traditional website
So there’s plenty to track… and more opportunities on the horizon.
This is really a no-brainer. If you plan on doing any long term measurement of your online efforts, allocate resources to the implementation of Google Tag Manager.