Using Google Tag Manager (GTM) for Actionable Insights

by Brian Toomey, JB Analytics CEO

Google Tag Manager (GTM)

Implementing Google Tag Manager (GTM) is the recommended first step in building any best-in-class analytics ecosystem for your website. It provides a simple, extendable, and easy-to-manage means for implementing a range of analytics tools.

These tools include Google Analytics, conversion tracking for social media advertising, heat mapping, scroll tracking, and session recording platforms and much more.

Code Placement

What it is

Two short snippets of code, provided by Google when you’ve created a GTM account, must be inserted into the code of your website in order to integrate GTM. This sometimes requires some input from your developers (although often we can take care of that too). The beauty is that once GTM is in place, we can do a whole lot without taking up development resources

Why it matters

Incorrect placement means that recording will be less reliable. Data transfer for custom variables may also be impacted. 

What to do

  • The GTM snippet should be placed in two parts as follows:
    • 1. Head section
    • 2. Body section: As high in the body section as possible
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Tag Management & Organization

What it is

Implementing GTM means using it as the hub for integrating a range of different data tools. This, as the name implies, is done via HTML “tags” such as <title> and <script>. Ensuring your tags are set up correctly, well-organized, and that changes are tested and notated is necessary for good implementation.

Why it matters

A cleaner, audited tag ecosystem will be more maintainable into the future and significantly easier to troubleshoot and extend. 

What to do

  • If you have not been using GTM, set it up and implement.
  • If you have been using GTM already, audit, update, and pause tags as needed to more accurately reflect current ecosystem and needs.
  • Key questions to ask around tags:
    • Which tags should we move into the GTM ecosystem?
    • Can we remove old or legacy tags or scripts to improve speed and/or organization issues?
    • Where are existing tags broken or not functioning properly?
    • Are there any tags that are now injected both via the hard code and via GTM?
      • NOTE: Bounce Rate can be a good flag for improper implementation of Google Analytics pageview implementation. Anything below about 20% is rarely a true reading, and thus low numbers can imply that Google Analytics pageview information is being sent more than once. 

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