Have you got a tracking tag for your Google Analytics, your Google AdWords conversions, your Bing advertising account, your Google AdSense, your DoubleClick floodlight counter, your DoubleClick floodlight sales, your Google display network remarketing, your call tracking…? The list is literally endless.
Historically, managing multiple tracking tags like these for even a small website can be a hugely time-absorbing head-ache. Not only are they a nightmare to manage but they can also make a website slow and clunky. Incorrectly placed tags can distort your reporting figures or even create missed opportunities.
The team over at Google have this month released a (free!) product that helps you to manage all of these tags in one simple, easy to use interface. Ideal for those who aren’t expert coders, it gives power to those of us who are less code savvy but still expert marketers. Gone are the days you’ll need to start manually adding tags to individual pages of your website. Google’s Tag Manager takes care of that for you.
Essentially the Tag Manager spits you out a single tag, called a ‘Container Snippet’, for you to implement site-wide on your website. You then enter all your tags into the Tag Manager – at this point you can create rules to say when a particular tag needs to fire (e.g. on all pages, on pages containing “thank-you” or a specific URL). The container snippet will then fire all of your other tags exactly when necessary. For example you can set your AdWords conversion tags to only fire on particular pages or URLs containing “checkout-complete”. The possibilities are endless.
There are pre-sets to help you add all of your Google-based tags:
- AdWords Conversion Tracking
- Google Analytics
- DoubleClick Floodlight Counter
- DoubleClick Floodlight Sales
- AdWords Remarketing
But what’s really great though, is that they also allow you to enter custom, non-Google, tags too – so literally any tag can be managed through this platform.I know here at PD we’re pleased with this function as we use call tracking for a lot of our clients.
I think the beauty of this product is that once this single, site-wide, tag is deployed to your website once, you won’t need to hassle your IT dept or webmaster in order to update or deploy new tags to your site – you can do it all through the Google Tag Manager interface. It allows those in charge of marketing initiatives to get on with them without the need for coders/developers to get involved.
It’s actually not dissimilar to the latest method of remarketing via Google AdWords which was rolled out earlier this year. That also allows you to deploy one snippet of remarketing code site-wide and then define your remarketing lists from within the AdWords interface.
The Google Tag Manager is agency friendly too. It allows you to manage multiple accounts (for all your clients) and has user permissions and multi-account functionality. Great for those clients that take a little while to make any changes on their websites!
You can set up rules for each of your tags to determine when they fire. Here you can use all the usual Regular Expressions you’d need.
There’s a handy little preview tool which allows you to check that your site will look and behave as it should, and using the debugging tool you can see which pages are firing which tags to make sure everything is working well.
Won’t lose data
Don’t worry about losing data in the migration. All your lists will remain populated – you might lose about 30 seconds of conversions whilst you switch over but that’s it.
There are more features on the way according to the official website – AB testing tags as well as the ability to report of tag firing.
Here’s a 3 minute video showing you how easy it is to set up:
It should be made clear that this solution doesn’t reduce the number of tags necessarily; it simply helps you manage them and tidy up your site. As an added bonus the snippet executes itself asynchronously so it’s likely that it will speed up your page load times too which will obviously be good for your SEO. Win Win! The only issue you might come across is that seeing as it works asynchronously if you have tags running that run synchronously you won’t be able to run them through the tag manager. Asynchronously is the way forward so I don’t see this being much of an issue moving forward.
We’ve got this up and running for a handful of our clients and it’s doing exactly what it promises it would! Reducing time spent on fiddly tagging processes and allowing us, and our clients’ web masters, to get on with more important work! I’d be more than happy to help you out with it if you’re having and difficulties – just reply in the comments section below.