The importance of GTM for marketing best practice

Alongside Google Analytics 4 onboarding and increasing focus on user privacy for websites and apps, we’ve been mentioning Google Tag Manager and its significance to our clients’ reporting and insight generation output more than ever. Despite being used by around half of all websites and holding a 99.6% ‘market share’1 for tag management platforms, the efficiencies and benefits it can deliver for businesses’ marketing efforts is still remarkably overlooked.

Here, our Digital Implementation Specialist, Marcelo Scatena, takes things from the top…

What is Google Tag Manager?

Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a tag management solution that allows you to manage all tracking in your website without the need for editing your code. This simplifies the process of adding, editing or deleting any tracking elements from any services you may use, including Google Analytics 4, Google Ads, Campaign Manager, Display And Video, Facebook, LinkedIn, Hotjar, Taboola, Pinterest, Infinity, and many others. It also offers a more streamlined process for testing, QA and deployment of any tracking code or pixel, as well as a seamless way of collaborating between IT and marketing teams. This can be very profitable to a company since it reduces the amount of time needed for any of the previously mentioned tasks.

Think of GTM as a motherboard to which you can connect different platforms and send data where it needs to be sent. It allows you to manipulate the data to ensure you’re not over tracking and over reporting, both of which can be huge issues, and have systems in place to allow your website to be compliant with ever-changing rules and regulations towards user consent.

Advantages of using Google Tag Manager

Centralised tag management: Using GTM allows you to manage all your marketing and analytics tags in one place. It simplifies the process of adding, updating, and maintaining tags across your website without needing to access the source code every time.

Ease of implementation: With GTM’s user-friendly interface, you can add and configure tags through the platform itself, eliminating the need for manual code editing. This makes it accessible to marketers and analysts, eliminating the reliance on developers for tag implementation or testing.

Version control and debugging: GTM provides version control, allowing you to review and roll back changes. It also offers debugging tools to test and troubleshoot tags before deploying them, ensuring accurate tracking and minimising errors.

Enhanced performance: By loading tags asynchronously, GTM helps improve website performance and page load times, as tags will not block the loading of the page content.

Flexibility and customisation: GTM offers a range of built-in tags, triggers, and variables, allowing customisation and flexibility to implement various tracking and marketing functionalities based on user interactions, URLs, forms, and more.

Integration with Google services: Seamlessly integrates with various Google services such as Google Analytics and Google Ads, and with other third-party tools, making it easier to deploy and manage these services.

Integration with other services: Other Marketing and Analytics services such as Facebook, Hotjar and other third-party tools, can also be easily implemented through GTM.

Data layer implementation: Allows the creation and utilisation of a data layer, providing a structured way to pass data between the website and tags, improving data accuracy and consistency.

Collaboration: GTM facilitates collaboration among team members by providing user permissions and allowing multiple users to work on the same container simultaneously.

On top of the advantages, GTM offers many ways to enhance your tracking. These features might need a little more knowledge of how to implement and test them but offer significant advantages on reporting and conversion once in place.

With several platforms having executed their abolition of third-party cookies and with it looming on the horizon for many others, including Google, taking advantage of Google’s robust modelling system by implementing ways to better utilise the data we do have access to is paramount for a more holistic view of your business.

Consent Mode

In a previous blog post, we wrote about the growing importance of Consent Mode. What GTM can offer in this regard is integration with several Consent Management Platforms to ensure your tracking is compliant with your country guidelines for Cookie Consent. It also has an Advanced implementation of Consent Mode that adjusts tag behaviours to respect the user’s consent status while also being able to offer data for Google Marketing Platforms for modelling purposes, resulting in better reporting and conversion uplift.

Enhanced conversions

Enhanced conversions allow conversion tags to capture a customer’s provided hashed data, which is then sent to advertisers and matched against Google’s logged-in data if available. This leads to more accurate conversion reporting and search and video conversion uplift.

Server-side tagging

Implementing server-side tagging through GTM has several potential advantages, including reduced page load time, enhanced privacy and security, better handling of sensitive information, control over data being sent to third-party services, and others.

What solutions do Space & Time offer?

If you’ve never used GTM before, S&T can support you in all the best practices to create an account and container, and set up all relevant tracking for your business. If you already have a GTM container implemented on your website, we have an audit system in place to identify whether your current GTM account conforms to best practice in all possible areas, including its set up, GA4 integration, all Google Marketing Platforms and other marketing services implementation, its structure and best use of its various elements (Tags, Triggers, Variables, Folders), implementation of either Basic or Advanced Consent Mode and of Enhanced Conversions.

Beyond that, we have extensive knowhow in setting up tracking for a wide range of website types, and can consult on what you should and should not be tracking.

We offer different types of packages tailored for each client’s specific needs, ranging from auditing, recommendations, yearly retainers and more. Get in touch with [email protected] to discover how we can help streamline your tracking needs and allow you to take ownership of your data.