What Is Google Tag Manager and Why Is It Beneficial?


When managing a website, it’s absolutely critical to use data as a guide for all digital marketing efforts to reach the desired results. However, Google Analytics doesn’t capture a finely detailed level of information out of the box. With the help of Google Tag Manager, a web marketer can construct variables, tags and triggers that will secure significant information, allowing for a deeper level of understanding of user journeys and intent.

To create custom tracking the old-fashioned way, a developer would have to write these variables, tags and triggers, adding or editing them directly within the source code of the site. This could become an overwhelming undertaking for even an experienced dev. GTM provides marketers with the ability to implement these changes themselves, also offering the ability to test and troubleshoot before pushing the changes live. Even better, the source code never has to be altered.

Components of Google Tag Manager

While working with tag manager is relatively straightforward, it is important to have an understanding of the main concepts within the platform.


A container literally contains all of the tags within a website. To get started with GTM, you’ll have to apply the container to the website by adding code snippets to the <head> and <body> of the website. These snippets need to be added directly to the source code or via a plugin. After the container is in place, marketers can add, edit, remove and disable tags through Google Tag Manager.


Although data layers are technically optional, if GTM is being used to track specific events, a data layer will be needed. These JavaScript objects preserve the information tags need separately from the remainder of the site’s code. This means tags won’t have to search through HTML to find triggering information, which also enhances site speed.


With GTM, a developer no longer adds pieces of code directly to websites, mobile apps or AMP sites. Instead, tags are created within the GTM platform that places this code into the sites and apps. The tags are configured, tested and published, firing based upon the associated triggers to capture the data and information necessary to understand the way users navigate a website or application.


When adding tags to a website, they must be in place to track specific actions. Tags can transmit data when triggered by events such as file downloads, form submissions, outbound link clicks, phone number clicks, video plays, scroll depth, etc. These triggers relay the tagged action to Google Analytics, letting marketers know when a user completes the desired action. With this powerful information, marketers can determine if and when the users are interacting with important site content.


Variables consist of the values that triggers require to know when they should or should not fire. Google Tag Manager offers a wide array of built-in variables that assist a marketer in defining and filtering the data sent to Google Analytics. In addition, marketers can create user-generated variables. One of the most commonly created custom variables within GTM is the Google Analytics property ID variable. By creating this variable, a marketer will not have to enter the GA-ID every time they create a new tag and trigger. They can instead assign the GA-ID variable so the data will be correctly transferred to the Google Analytics platform.

What are the pros of GTM?

  1. Minimizes dependence on developers

  2. Tracks mobile apps and AMP sites

  3. Offers increased level of flexibility

  4. Provides version control

  5. Makes debugging simple

  6. Transmits data directly to Google Analytics

  7. Increases security through user permissions

  8. Enable multiple team members to work in the same container

  9. Allows for organization of related tags and triggers

  10. It’s free!

If you still don’t understand the benefits of using Tag Manager in addition to Google Analytics, think of it this way: Google Analytics is like a limited basic cable package. You get some things that you might want to see, like the news, PBS or ABC. But you can’t watch the big game or check out that popular new show everyone else is talking about. Google Tag Manager is the expanded package you add on so you can get everything you want to see – the only difference is, it’s free!

Interested in applying Google Tag Manager to your website but need some help? Contact blue chair digital today!