Nowadays, modern marketers have access to more data than ever before and the pressure is on to turn this data into opportunities, especially considering that the European Union (EU)’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is about to impose much greater regulatory control over EU residents’ personal data forcing businesses to change the way they make use of their collected user data.
However, what often happens is that complex and unreliable technology interferes with a marketers’ ability to deliver customer-focused data-driven marketing solutions, and they find themselves relying heavily on the IT teams to update site analytics, remarketing or conversion tracking tags.
That’s where Google Tag Manager (GTM) comes into action.
GTM is a completely free tag management solution that helps you easily manage complicated and extremely useful tagging across your website. It eliminates entirely code-based tasks that previously required a developer and allows the marketing team to add and update their own tags, leaving the development team to focus on other tasks. It is one of the best things that’s happened to data-driven marketing as it allows you to measure almost everything and gives you access to accurate and credible data.
There are many reasons of why it’s worth investing time in implementing GTM to your site. The benefits are huge to any business, big or small. Here is a list of the top 3 quick wins you can get by using GTM. There are many more of course but these are the ones I found most useful.
1. Fast Implementation
A key benefit of using GTM is that as a marketer you can make updates and add new tags quickly and easily, without having to make changes to the code on your site. This will allow you to test and deploy each change without the help of a developer, speeding up the process and at the same time saving you time to focus on other projects rather than waiting for the IT department to help you out.
When it comes to tracking more complex user behaviour on the site, sometimes code might be needed. For example, video tracking requires small snippets of code implemented through GTM, however, with the help of various online resources, it’s easy to learn how to do this yourself. For all the basic tagging, GTM won’t require any coding experience from your side.
2. Improved Site Speed
Implementing GTM will also make your website faster, significantly decreasing the amount of time it takes your site to load. Smarter implementation results in a faster website.
Why does this matter?
Faster loading time is important for your users to quickly find what they’re looking for. Users don’t want to wait around for content to load when they could easily go somewhere else. According to recent studies, most people would wait 6-10 seconds before they abandon pages. However, page speed is also an important ranking factor, meaning that a faster site results in a higher position in SERPs.
How does GTM affect site speed?
• When you start migrating to GTM, you will have to perform a tag audit and get rid of all those old and unnecessary tags you may have implemented on your site years ago but have completely forgotten about or simply don’t find useful anymore. This way you reduce the number of tags that load on your site so your site can run faster.
• With GTM it is incredibly easy to set tags that only fire on certain pages, meaning you only fire tags when you need to. This automatically helps you spend less time loading third party resources.
• GTM allows you to send the same value over different tags through a data layer. What this means is that your tags don’t have to read the whole page to find out what they need, but can simply use the same information that’s already been made available on the data layer, resulting in a huge boost in site speed.
• Migrating to GTM means that you’d no longer need to manually include an extra bit of code on every link you want to track because of the auto-event tracking feature. Instead, you can use a single trigger/tag setup that targets all the similar links such as outbound links or PDF downloads. This results in removing huge amounts of code from your site. Less code means faster loading times for your site.
• Another big benefit for your page speed is the asynchronous loading of your tags so that they don’t slow down the sites or get in each other’s way. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, read this article to help you better understand the difference between synchronously vs asynchronously loading.
3. Built-in features
Google Tag Manager is packed with numerous features to take the hassle of website tagging. Designed with marketers in mind, many of its built-in templates make it extremely easy to adopt new marketing solutions at any time.
• Preview and debug options
Having little coding experience can make it very difficult for marketers to make sure that tags work before publishing to the live site. However, thanks to GTMs built-in debug features, your team can easily test and debug each update in the browser before publishing the change, letting you see changes in real-time without pushing those changes to the live site. Once you’ve verified that your tags are firing when you want them to fire, you can then submit changes and push them live.
• Version control
Another great feature of GTM is the built-in version control. Every time you publish a change in the container, a new version is created. What’s even better is that every new version created is archived, making it extremely easy to roll back to a previous version at any time. This is useful to keep your tags well organised and find and fix broken tags in no time.
• Built-in tags and triggers
GTM comes with all kind of important built-in tags, such as tags for Google Analytics, AdWords conversions, AdWords remarketing, LinkedIn Insights, Bing Ads Universal Event Tracking, and many more. This is extremely useful for those marketers who have little to no coding experience to be able to customise tags without the need of implementing complex code and with no help from the IT teams.
Moreover, GTM has built-in triggers as well that make it even easier to add tracking to clicks on links or elements across the site.
For many years, the standard platform marketers use to collect on-site data and track user behaviour has been Google Analytics (GA). It collects huge amounts of information such as where traffic to your site comes from, the most visited pages, or how long users spend on a web page, and much more. If you want to learn how to make the most of Google Analytics, this post on Harnessing the power of Google Analytics might be useful.
Using GTM allows you to push this data even further by tracking all kinds of extra data such as clicks on external links (like mailto clicks and social clicks) as well as clicks on downloadable content. You can also get more granular and track the number of times users play, pause and watch embedded videos on your site and how many of those users watched the entire video or only 25% of it.
In fact, you can track almost anything you can think of on your site. It is an amazing tool that requires minimal knowledge of programming and lets you create most of your tags without writing a single line of code. Its robust features and awesome customisation abilities give you access to data that can significantly help you grow your business and reach your target audience in the moments that matter.
Google Tag Manager is the data-driven marketing tool that you need to keep up with today’s global marketplace.