Google Tag Manager has evolved since it’s introduction on October 1, 2012. With the 3 year anniversary just weeks away, many businesses have yet to leverage its capabilities for analytics and marketing.
While organizations are still trying to wrap their head around exactly what Google Tag Manager (GTM) is and why they should use it, there seems to be many myths and misunderstandings floating around, which are likely contributing to the hesitance of migrating to GTM and fully realizing the benefits.
In this post we will try to debunk some of the myths surrounding GTM, as well as provide some clarity around what GTM really is.
So what is Google Tag Manager?.
GTM is a free tool that helps you simplify and streamline your web and app analytics tagging so that you can quickly implement and measure your marketing efforts. Google Tag Manager works within it’s own snippet of code that they refer to as a ‘container tag’, which you place on all pages of your website. The container tag therefore replaces all other analytics and marketing tracking codes on your site, like AdWords, Google Analytics, Floodlight, and 3rd party tags. Once you implement the Google Tag Manager container tag on your site, all updates and changes can (and should) be done right from the Google Tag Manager web application.
With GTM, something that previously might have taken weeks or months for IT to implement can now be made with a click of a button… by a marketer. Google Tag Manager is to analytics & conversion tagging what Content Management Systems (CMS) are to website content.
In a nutshell, GTM:
- Puts marketers in the driver’s seat by separating marketing related information and tags (snippets of code or vendor codes) from the website structure and functionality.
- Reduces workload on developers, allowing them to focus on other issues (like missing content or broken UI).
- Enables anyone (with access) to deploy marketing tags almost instantly, meaning a business can quickly get to market and extract valuable marketing insights about their customers.
Here are 7 GTM Myths & Misconceptions Busted:
Myth #1: GTM eliminates the need for IT
Reality: GTM reduces reliance on IT, but does not eliminate it.
- Using GTM does not remove IT from the loop completely, but rather reduces the reliance on IT to implement basic tags (e.g. AdWords conversion tags, Twitter and Facebook pixels, etc.)
- IT support will still be essential for the base GTM container installation and any advanced tracking that requires information to be provided from the back-end, such as e-commerce and User-ID.
Myth #2: GTM is not secure (You can run malicious code from GTM)
Reality: GTM is as secure as your internal security and governance procedures.
- GTM has many built-in security features that allow you to:
- Specify user access levels and restrict edit and publish permissions
- See who made changes, what was changed, and when
- Quickly restore a previous version of tagging
- “Blacklist” certain types of tags on specific pages
- GTM is a tool and as with any tool there is a chance for malicious use.
- Don’t be a fool with a tool – reduce your risks by establishing a sensible security governance framework.
Myth #3: Implementing GTM is expensive
Reality: In the long run, using GTM saves time, effort and cost
- How much time do you spend now implementing tracking code and vendor codes? How much time are you spending following up with IT and planning for when your tracking will be implemented?
- The upfront initial implementation cost of GTM may appear more than maintaining your existing structure and processes, however once implemented, the reduction in number of steps needed to add new tags and the speed with which these tags can be implemented will more than cover your implementation cost.
Myth #4: GTM is too technical for a marketer
Reality: GTM makes common types of tags easy to implement.
- Adding a standard tag (e.g. GA, AdWords, DoubleClick) is often as simple as entering a few configuration values and the URLs on which it needs to fire (If it’s “All Pages”, then it’s even easier!).
- Configuring tags, variables, and triggers in GTM is no more technical than configuring goals, filters, and views in Google Analytics.
Myth #5: You need to redesign your site to use GTM
Reality: Your existing tracking can be migrated to GTM without redesigning the site.
- To migrate to GTM, you plug the container snippet into your existing site, remove your hard-coded tags, and reconfigure them within GTM.
- But if you are already in the process of re-designing your site, use it as an opportunity to implement GTM at the same time.
Myth #6: GTM will slow a site down
Reality: GTM may actually help speed up your site.
- GTM code is asynchronous, so it loads alongside the page content.
- i.e. Your browser does not need to load GTM before loading your site
- All code in the container is “minified” so all tags will take less time to load when compared to an on-page implementation (as they are smaller in size).
Myth #7: Some of the tags I use will not work with GTM
Reality: This is only true for synchronous tags. Otherwise, any asynchronous tag can be run from GTM.
- Even if there is no template, the raw code provided by the vendor can be run from a Custom HTML tag.
Google Tag Manager (and other tag management solutions) are here to stay and will continue to grow and adapt to the growing analytics needs of organizations and marketers.
If you are still unsure about GTM, imagine how much more competitive you would be if you could adapt more quickly to the changing needs of your customers and uncover opportunities as they emerge – sounds wonderful doesn’t it?
If you want to learn more about GTM and get hands-on experience implementing Google Analytics through Google Tag Manager, take our Google Tag Manager Course this fall.
Have you busted any other GTM myths? Let us know!