Improve Your Reporting with Google Tag Manager

By Ilia Jones | September 2021


Tags are used on websites to perform a variety of functions. These code snippets extract and send data to different platforms, such as the tag used for Google Analytics. This tag sends website visitor data to Google Analytics so that you can get reports of website activity. 

With tags used on most web pages, managing them all can be a bit of a headache. That's where Google Tag Manager comes in. Rather than working with each tag manually, Google Tag Manager makes it easy to manage them all in one place.  

What is Google Tag Manager?

Google Tag Manager is one of many tools Google offers to help businesses, from website indexing to ad grants for nonprofits. Just as your website might use a Content Management System or CMS to manage content and formatting, Google Tag Manager acts as a Tag Management System. It provides a single interface where you can track and manage all of the tags used across your website. 

Of course, for this to work, you need to embed the Google Tag Manager code into each of your web pages. 

Why Use Google Tag Manager?

Manual tag management can be fiddly, time-consuming, and suck up IT resources. With Google Tag Manager, your IT and web developer staff can focus on doing more meaningful work on your website, such as publishing new content

With an easy-to-use management system, you are also less likely to run into errors. Typos, copy/paste errors, or other very human mistakes are all too possible when you are manually managing your tags. 

With more control over your tags, it's easier to tie them to your marketing and business objectives. With tag manager, it's easier to create and track tags that are related to specific marketing efforts or campaigns. 

Get Started with Google Tag Manager

Getting started with Google Tag Manager is simple (and free!). All you have to do is set up an account. 

1. Set Up Your Google Tag Manager Account

First, go to the Google Tag Manager website and click Create an Account. Then complete the account creation form. Select your Account Name, which is likely the name of your business, and your Container Name, which is the name of your website, and click Create.  

You will also need to accept Google's Terms of Service.

2. Create Your First Google Tag Manager Container

Next, you'll be directed to embed two pieces of code onto your website. 

The first snippet of code is JavaScript that needs to go in the <Head> section of your web pages. Google recommends this be placed as high up in the <Head> section as possible. 

The second snippet is needed in case a website visitor has JavaScript disabled. This code snippet is an HTML iFrame, which needs to go in the <Body> section of each page. This will ensure that the tags still operate as they should without JavaScript. 

Once both code snippets are embedded into your website, it's time to start playing with tags. 

3. Add a Google Analytics Tag

When it comes to working with tags in Google Tag Manager, there are three terms that are essential to understand:

  • Tag: This refers to the code snippet used by your website to integrate with marketing and analytics platforms. 
  • Trigger: The code snippets wait on your website for specific events that tell them to perform their task. These events are triggers.
  • Variable: A variable may relate to a tag or trigger. They allow you to further define and refine what a tag does or how it reacts to a trigger. 

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's add a tag!

First, from the Google Tag Manager dashboard, select Add a New Tag. You'll have to give your tag a name, and it's vital to be specific so that it will be easier to manage your tags as they multiply. 

Then, select the tag type. There are several options available. We recommend working with the featured tag types before digging into the template gallery or working with custom tags. 

Next, select your variable and your trigger. The options for both of these will vary depending on the tag type you selected. 

4. Adding a Google Analytics Tag to Your Website

When you're done making your selections, click save and your tag will appear on your dashboard. But in order for the tag to be active on your website, you must first publish it.

Click the Submit button on the upper right side of the screen, name and version your tag, and then click Publish. The tag is now active on your website.  

Increased Accuracy for Data-Driven Decisions 

Using Google Analytics Tags on your website can help you capture more—and more accurate—data. This data means that you can make marketing and web design decisions based on real-life user experiences and traffic. 



Topics: Nonprofit Help

Websites for Nonprofits