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Google Tag Manager FAQ: 30+ Most Common Questions About GTM

Google Tag Manager FAQ: 30+ Most Common Questions About GTM

Getting started with Google Tag Manager is a challenge. Although it’s not a rocket science, there are still plenty of questions that occur in the learning process. Just look around: forums, social networks, Q&A sites, comment sections are swarming with GTM questions asked by confused beginners.

If you also feel that way, I’ve compiled a timesaver for you, Google Tag Manager FAQ which contains more than 50 Frequently Asked Questions about GTM.

In order to make this list complete, I’ve done the following tasks:

Google Tag Manager FAQ

1. What is Google Tag Manager?

Google Tag Manager is a tool offered by Google which enables you to manage various tracking codes (marketing tags, analytics tags) and other code snippets on your website/web app/mobile app. Here a e several examples of tags that can be deployed via GTM:

  • Google Analytics tracking code (Pageview Tag)
  • Google Analytics Event
  • Facebook Pixel code
  • Google Adwords Conversion Code Snippet

Prior to the dawn of Tag Management tools, all those codes/tags had to be implemented by the IT/developers. Now, a lot of things can be done without them.

2. What Can I Do With Google Tag Manager?

With Google Tag Manager, you can track various interactions and then send captured data to 3rd party tools like Google Analytics, Google Adwords, etc. The list of interactions you can capture (but not limited to):

  • Link clicks
  • Button clicks
  • Social interactions
  • Form submissions
  • etc.

The list of tools that you can further pass the captured data to is also unlimited, to name a few:

3. What Are The Benefits of Google Tag Manager?

The main GTM benefits are:

  1. Google Tag Manager makes the tag/code deployment faster. You don’t have to wait for the IT department to implement some changes (usually), as you can publish new tags by yourself (in most cases).
  2. All tags are controlled in one place.
  3. In addition to the built-in debugging console, you can also use various browser extensions to make the testing process faster and more efficient.
  4. Its free version is feature-rich and more than enough to small/medium businesses.
  5. Growing popularity and helpful communities. The more popular GTM is, the more free/paid resources you’ll find, therefore your learning process will be faster. Explore more about GTM by joining  GTM community on Facebook.
 

4. Who Should Use Google Tag Manager?

Anyone who wants to add/remove/edit various tracking codes on their (or their client’s) website. This usually includes digital marketers, web analysts, SEOs, PPC specialists, owners of e-commerce businesses, etc.

With Google Tag Manager you’ll be much more in control of what’s being tracked/measured on a website/app.

 

5. Does GTM work only with Google Products?

No. Google Tag Manager plays well with a lot of platforms/tools. It offers a wide range of predefined tag templates (like Google Analytics,  Google Adwords, etc.) and, additionally, you can add custom codes with help of Custom HTML tag.

A good example would be Facebook Pixel. Even though there’s no ready-made temple for it, you can still easily implement it with Custom HTML.

 

 

6. Is Google Tag Manager Free?

GTM has both Free and Premium plan. A free plan is more than enough to small and medium businesses. Large enterprises can benefit from a paid Google Tag Manager 360 option. You can compare both pricing plans here.

 

7. Is There An Alternative to Google Tag Manager?

Yes, there is. And, actually, more than one:

Installation

8. How To Install Google Tag Manager?

After you create a Google Tag Manager account and container, you’ll get two codes.

Google tag manager installation guide

Ask developer (or, if you have access, do it by yourself) to place them to website’s source code. The first code (surrounded by <script> and </script>) should be added to the <head> part of the website, while the second (<noscript></noscript>) should be added right after the opening <body> tag of a website.

If you’re using a popular content management system, chances are that there’s an existing Google Tag Manager plugin which makes the installation a bit easier + might give you some additional (and useful) settings.

9. How to install Google Tag Manager on a WordPress Site?

There are two ways how to do that:

  • By adding container codes directly into the website’s source code.
  • Or by using a plugin.

As for the 1st option, go to your WordPress Admin panel, navigate to Appearance > Editor and edit the Header.php file. 

Wordpress appearance menu

Second option is to use a plugin. But not just any plugin, the GTM4WP plugin, also known as GTM plugin by DuracellTomi.

  • Go to the plugin page on WordPress.org
  • Download the plugin in a .zip file
  • Unpack the downloaded file
  • Upload it to your WordPress installation using an FTP client into wp-content/plugins
  • Go to your WordPress admin panel
  • Enable the plugin under Plugins / Installed plugins
  • Follow the instructions in the plugin itself.

After you’ve successfully installed and enabled the plugin, go to Settings > Google Tag Manager, enter your Google Tag Manager container ID and set up other options.

10. What if my Content Management System does not allow to place codes in <head>?

Don’t worry, this is not the end of the world. Actually, GTM <script> code can be placed anywhere on the website. The higher you put it in the website’s source code, the sooner it will load, therefore your web tracking will be more precise. But if your CMS allows placing all codes only at in the <body> tag, that is still fine.

The most important thing is that you must not place the <noscript> code in the <head> of a website. All other variations are allowed (e.g. both codes can be placed right after the opening <body> tag or both codes before the closing </body> tag).

 

11. Can Google Tag Manager be installed only on Websites?

No, GTM also supports Android, iOS mobile apps, and AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages).

AMP container

 

12. CanI Use the same GTM container on multiple websites?

Yes, you can and there is nothing wrong with that. You’ll just have to be more careful with setting up triggers because sometimes you might want to fire a particular tag only on a website A but not on the website B.

 

13. How Can I test if Google Tag Manager is Working?

There are several ways how to do that:

  • In GTM, enable Preview and Debug mode, after that, go to the website and refresh it. If the Preview and Debug console appeared, that’s a good sign.
  • Use Google Tag Assistant.
    • After you install the extension, click the Tag Assistant icon in your browser.
    • Enable the Tag Assistant and refresh your browser.
    • Look at the status of the Google Tag Manager container. If you get yellow or red, there are problems with your installation. Click the icon to further reveal what the problem is.

GTM + Developers

14. Do I need developers after I start using Google Tag Manager?

It depends on what are your goals. Even though a lot of new opportunities open to digital marketers after they start using GTM, sometimes developer’s help is still necessary.

Also, usually, developer’s input is needed to implement Google Analytics Standard or Enhanced Ecommerce tracking.

Additionally, if you found some custom JavaScript code online, it is a good practice to show it to a developer before deployment. Chances are that a professional coder will notice something harmful that might break the website or cause some other troubles.

 

15. Will GTM make me independent from IT/Developers?

Again, it depends on what are your goals. If you plan just to track regular Google Analytics pageviews, clicks,  button clicks tracking and other basic interactions, you’ll be fine without developer’s input.

The more advanced your measurement plan is, the more likely you’ll need to cooperate with developers.

One thing to remember: developers are not your enemies. Be in touch with them, and, if needed, ask them to push some valuable data to the Data Layer (it is also explained in this blog post).

Tags, Triggers, and variables

16. What is a tag?

tag is a piece of code that usually sends information to a third party, such as Google Analytics. Tags are often provided by analytics, marketing, and support providers to help you integrate their products into your website or mobile app.

With Google Tag Manager, developers no longer need to maintain each of these JavaScript snippets in website’s source code. Instead, you specify the tags that you want to fire, and when you want them to fire, from within the Google Tag Manager user interface.

Here are several examples of a tag:

  • Google Analytics pageview tag
  • Google Adwords conversion tag
  • Facebook Pixel tracking code

17. What is a Tag Template?

Google Tag Manager features a powerful tag template system to help simplify publishing of tracking codes and eliminate errors. Instead of writing your own code, you can use tag templates in Google Tag Manager which offer a bunch of predefined fields with settings. This approach is much more user-friendly.

 

If you cannot find a tag template, do not worry, use Custom HTML tag instead.

18. What is a Trigger?

A trigger is a condition that evaluates whether the tag should fire or not. All tag firing in Google Tag Manager is event-driven. Anytime an event is registered by Tag Manager, triggers from the container are evaluated and tags are fired accordingly. No tag can be fired unless an event occurs.

An event can be a page view, a click on a button, a form submission, any custom event that you define, etc. Tag Manager has many built-in event types. Some of them are

  • Page view
  • Click
  • Form submission
  • Custom event

19. What is a variable?

Technically speaking, variables are name-value pairs for which the value is populated during runtime. For example, the predefined variable named URL has been defined such that its value is the current page URL.

Simply put, a variable is usually a piece of information which can be used in a tag, a trigger, and even in other variables.

In tags, variables are used to capture dynamic values (e.g. passing the transaction value and products purchased to a conversion tracking tag).

In triggers, they are used to define filters that specify when a particular trigger should be executed (e.g. to execute a pageview trigger when the Page URL contains example.com/index.html).

20. Where can I insert Variables?

GTM developers have made it clear to understand where variables can or cannot be used in their interface (so you don’t have to guess). If there’s a button with a LEGO brick next to it, then you’re covered! Go ahead and insert variables.

GTM Variable and brick button

By the way, you’re not limited to inserting just one variable. If you need, go ahead and add two or five! Whatever makes sense to you! Also, here are a couple of examples where variables won’t work:

1. Tag Firing Priority (in tag’s Advanced Settings section)

Tag firing priority

2. Trigger conditions. You cannot create a condition where one variable (chosen in the first drop-down list) equals (or contains, etc.) to another variable.

Variable in Trigger

 

Event Tracking

You have passed more than 50% of the Google Tag Manager FAQ, congratulations! If you feel exhausted, feel free to bookmark this page and come back any time later.

21. What Interactions can I track with Google Tag Manager?

Actually, there are plenty of them. As for GTM’s default functionality, you can track many. Few of them are

  • Link and element (e.g. image) clicks
  • Page Loads

GTM + Google Analytics

22. Do I have to migrate all hardcoded tags to gtm?

In case you didn’t know, a hardcoded tag is a code snippet added directly to website’s source code, without a tag management system.

So if you had been using a hardcoded Google Analytics tracking codes and are now considering to start using Google Tag Manager, you are not obliged to migrate all GA codes, but it is highly recommended to do so.

 

23. How is Google Tag Manager Different from Google Analytics?

Google Tag Manager is a free software from Google that allows you to deploy various types of code (tags) to your website. A good example of a tag would be Google Analytics tracking code, Google Analytics event codes, Adwords conversion script and remarketing tags. There are many more types of code that can be added to your website using GTM, including custom codes.

Google Tag Manager does not replace Google Analytics. Instead, it helps users to easily add Google Analytics tracking codes (tags) to a website, deploy GA event code snippets and define rules, when each GA code must fire.

Prior to GTM, GA tracking codes had to be hard-coded, usually by a web developer on each individual page. Having hundreds of events is very difficult when it comes to maintaining/updating them. But Google Tag Manager solves this problem because all your tags are stored in one place – your GTM account.

Google Analytics is not the only tag compatible with Google Tag Manager. Other examples include:

  • Google Adwords Conversion Tag.
  • Google Adwords Remarketing Tag.
  • Facebook Pixel code.
  • Any other custom HTML/Javascript code.

 

24. Do I have to use Google Tag Manager if I just want to implement some basic GA tracking?

No, you don’t have to. You are free to implement Google Analytics the old way, by adding code snippets directly to website’s source code. However, keep in mind that you are losing a lot of opportunities by skipping Google Tag Manager.

 

25. Can I use the same GA Tracking ID in multiple GTM containers?

Yes, you can. This is pretty common for digital marketers because you or your client might have several different websites which are pretty different regarding their structure, CSS/HTML, etc.

So it might make sense to create several GTM containers with their own set of triggers, variables, etc. and to create Google Analytics tags with the same tracking ID. This means that all this data from different Google Tag Manager containers will be sent to the same Google Analytics property.

After all, you can create different GA views in order to analyze each website separately.

 

Learn Google Tag Manager + get help

26. How Can I learn more about Google Tag Manager?

It depends on your level of GTM knowledge. For beginners, I’d recommend:

  • Reading and following various GTM resources/blogs, just like this one 
  • Taking Digital Marketing Courses where Google Tag Manager module is included in their syllabus. In our course we teaches you step-by-step how Google Tag Manager works and how to apply it in real-life situations.

After you’ve warmed up, you should definitely follow Simo Ahava and read what he’s posting. 

27. Where can I get help regarding Google Tag manager?

 

28. How Can I become a GTM expert?

You have to start practicing it on websites, try different methods of trackings work hard and never stop learning . You should be comfortable with the basics like Pageview, Clicks and other tracking in order to become GTM pro.

 

You have read more than 2/3 of the Google Tag Manager FAQ. Keep up the good work!

Testing

Google Tag Manager offers an awesome feature and without it, I could not imagine my work, Preview and Debug mode.

Google Tag Manager Preview and Debug (P&D) mode allows you to browse a site on which your GTM container code is implemented. Sites with preview mode enabled will display a debugger pane (a.k.a. console) at the bottom of your browser screen so that you can inspect which tags fired and in what order.

Google Tag Manager Debug Mode

To enable Google Tag Manager Debug mode, click Preview button in the top right corner of your GTM interface (near Submit button).

Enable Google Tag Manager Debug Mode

After you enable P&D mode, a large orange notification banner will appear.

Google tag manager preview notification

Now, navigate to the site where the Google Tag Manager container code is implemented, refresh the page and a debug console window will appear at the bottom of your browser, showing detailed information about your tags, including their firing status and what data is being processed.

In addition to the P&D mode, you should also try useful Chrome extensions like Google Tag Assistant.

 

29. How does the Preview and Debug mode work?

When you enable Preview and Debug mode, GTM stores a cookie in your browser. This cookie lets Google Tag Manager container snippet (which is installed on the website) recognize that you are the owner/user of the container and you wish to use debugging features.

That is why only you see the Preview and Debug mode while website visitors continue browsing your site without any interruptions. Also, you can share the link to Preview and Debug mode. After the recipient clicks the link, he/she also gets the cookie and starts seeing the Preview console.

Since the cookie is 3rd party, there’s a chance that aggressive ad blockers or other extensions (like Ghostery) which block trackers might prevent you from enabling GTM Preview and Debug mode. So if you wish to continue using GTM, you should add it as an exception in those extensions.

30. My Preview and Debug mode is not working. Why?

There are plenty of possible reasons why this happens. The most common ones are:

  • You have enabled P&D in the wrong GTM container
  • GTM account is viewed via regular browser mode and the website you’re testing is in the incognito window
  • Sometimes you need to do a hard browser refresh
  • Too strict browser extensions, like AdBlocker, Ghostery, etc.

31. Google Tag Assistant

Another useful extension which helps you be faster and more efficient is Google Tag Assistant. It is a Chrome Extension that helps you validate the tracking code on your website and troubleshoot common problems and makes the entire process much easier and faster. 

 

Other Questions

Looks like you’ve reached the last batch of Google Tag Manager FAQ. Thank you for reading! 

32. Can Adblockers or other browser extensions block Google Tag Manager?

Yes, they can. But this is not very common. Keep in mind that if an extension blocks GTM, it would have probably blocked hardcoded Google Analytics as well.

 

33. Does Google Tag manager Store any data about visitors? #GDPR

Google Tag Manager does not store any data about the visitor, it’s just a system which helps you transport the data to 3rd party tools. That transportation occurs only client-side, on his/her browser.

The only way that I can think of (regarding data storage) is that you might intentionally create Regex or Lookup tables where you map user IDs with actual user data.

That way you would be storing sensitive personally identifiable information in GTM which is against Google’s terms of use. So if you’re doing that, with or without GDPR, you’re in trouble.

 

34. What are the most common mistakes while working with Google Tag Manager?

There is a bunch of them but the most often mistake is to not using debugging tools like Tag Assistant or Data Layer Inspector. Also, poor testing.

 

35. What is a Google Tag Manager Recipe?

GTM recipe is a read-made Tag Manager container template which can be easily imported into your GTM container.

As a result, it automatically creates a set of tags, triggers, and variables which are already configured. All you need to do is enter your tracking IDs or other settings (depends on a recipe and its instructions) and you’re good to go.

 

36. How to remove Google Tag Manager?

Honestly, I did not plan to post this question, but apparently, people are looking for answers to it. In order to remove GTM from your website, you (or a developer) needs to remove the Google Tag Manager container code from all pages.

If it was added via a plugin, then remove it.  Easy as that.

(1) First you have login into your personal or official gmail account.

(2) Open Google Analytics Academy

(3) Register for Google Tag Manager Fundamentals.

(4) After complete this you will get Exam link and you need minimum 80% or above to be certified in Google Tag Manager.

(5) You will get your certification in Academy profile only. You can download it from there.

Google Tag Manager FAQ: Conclusion

The Google Tag Manager FAQ was designed for the beginners who are just taking first steps in the tag management world and may be confused by some of its parts.

This list is far from complete but I hope that the majority of frequently asked questions were answered. I’m looking forward to any feedback which can help me improve the Google Tag Manager FAQ. So if you notice anything post a comment below.

Did you find this Google Tag Manager FAQ useful? Share it with others.

 

List of Authors

Digital Marketing Head at ipsr solutions limited. Google Certified with 8+ years of extensive experience in different Digital Marketing channels i.e. SEO(search engine optimization), SEM(Search Engine Marketing), SMO(social media optimization) ORM(online reputation management), PPC(Google Adwords), Lead Generation, Adwords campaign management, Content creation, Blogging (Corporate and Personal), etc. Having a wide knowledge of employing basic and advanced SEO strategies. Responsible for planning and executing the best online strategy for all client projects. Having inscribed knowledge of Google Analytics, Google tag manager, and Facebook pixels in Tracking and analysis of running live campaigns. Passionate about exploring new tools, apps, and digital marketing trends to stay on top of the game.

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