Google’s Universal Analytics platform launched to the whole wide world of analytics users today! The beta version launched to a select few back in October 2012…sadly, I was not one of them. Maybe next time…
In my research of this new functionality and some troubleshooting on how we could apply Universal Analytics across our clients’ sites, I once again stumbled across Google Tag Manager. I’d seen this last platform year, but since I’m a reasonably tech savvy marketer who can write limited HTML and edit template files, I figured I didn’t need to use it.
So why this change of heart? Why am I now waxing poetic about Google Tag Manager?
Because it doesn’t matter who you are — Tag Manager makes your life easier as a marketer, as a programmer and as a business!
Who Needs Google Tag Manager?
- Complete control
No need to corral devs to help you add tags. Want to start tracking something new? As long as you know what you want to track, you can do so in under 2 minutes.
- Centralized management
Much like an MCC for Adwords, or the Analytics Account List that displays all of the properties and profiles you manage, Google Tag Manager centralizes all of the tracking codes that you have running on every website into once nice, neat little package.
- Cleaner code
Even on the simplest e-commerce sites, you have at least 4 to 5 sets of Google tracking code — a snippet for Google Analytics, another for a specific conversion event, and as many Adwords conversion tracking codes as you have conversion opportunities (buy a product, request more information, contact us, etc.). That’s a lot of snippets cluttering up the code base.
With Google Tag Manager now you just need to enter 1 (one!) snippet under the opening body tag and you are done. All “tags” for analytics, event tracking, adwords, and more are handled by the business through the UI without messing with your code. Plus, if the business folks ever do get in hot water, you have a complete revision history in the interface, allowing you to isolate the problem and fix it quickly, and easily.
- Fewer stalkers
No one likes being stalked by me — let’s just put that out there front and center. Screw chat, sending polite emails or leaving someone a voicemail. If I need something done, like RIGHT NOW, I’ll wait at your desk until you have time to talk to me and help solve the problem. Not necessarily the most PC approach, but very effective. So devs rejoice! There’s now one fewer reason for me to stalk you.
- Greater efficiency
- Look like a rockstar
Not only will you be able to manage your client’s web presences and marketing efforts more closely, but you’ll also look like a rockstar when your clients have questions. No need to search through the code to see what’s running where, or log into Adwords, Analytics and any third-party tracking companies’ interfaces to get an answer. You can see it all in the one interface. Any quicker response times equals happier clients and more time to focus on business development.
Here’s some great information from Google on how to migrate your sites to Google Tag Manager.
And for all of you advanced users, has a great reference post on how to use macros to track analytics events with GTM.
We just started porting client sites to Google Tag Manager today, but will check back in and provide you the low down as we do more complicated implementations using macros.
Difference Between Tag Manager and UTM Tags
Now you know why you have to start using Google Tag Manager, note one important thing: Tag Manager does NOT manage your campaign-level UTM tags. You still need to create those, and keep track of them however you have in the past.
Maybe an integrated tagging platform that combines implementation of web tags and management of custom campaign tags will be phase 2, Google?