How can data-driven marketers easily manage paid advertising, eCommerce, CRM and other tracking data from multiple platforms across a web site? How can they pump user interaction data back to these different platforms all at the same time?  And the million-dollar question – how can they do it without having to get IT and the web people involved at every single stage? The answer is easy. Google Tag Manager is a free tool that will give any marketer superpowers that seemed impossible to obtain just a few years ago.

Most tracking data used by marketers and digital advertisers is managed through tags or little pieces of code (usually JavaScript) that are fired when something happens on a web site. Google Tag Manager is a free tag management platform that makes it easy to keep track of them all.

You sign up for a free account and then add a single piece of javascript code to every page of a web site. Once that is done the marketing team will have the ability to add every tracking tag they need to a site through Google Tag Manager without having to touch the HTML ever again. Trackers from systems like Google Analytics, Facebook, LinkedIn, Hotjar, ad servers, CRMs, you name it can be added easily.

When and where a tag is fired is based on rules. Basically “If this happens here, load my tag.” Some tracking tags need to be loaded on every page. Other tags should only fire when a user goes to a specific page or does something like click a specific button. These rules are easy to establish and there is no need to know HTML, CSS or JavaScript.

GTM gives marketers capabilities that go far beyond just firing a tag. For example, setting up Google Analytics events based on user behavior is painless. That means you can record when a user clicks on a link to a page off-site, downloads a non-trackable item like a PDF, reaches specific pages that indicate a conversion or interacts with any number of elements like buttons or videos.

Tracking many of those things used to require adding custom JavaScript code to the site. That meant getting the web team involved. No more.

Finally, GTM can interact with eCommerce and form data. This is interesting because it allows marketers like us to push transaction data to all of our different systems at once. For example, we use it to push ecommerce transaction data into different platforms so we can see how ads directly lead to sales. If a user clicks on a Facebook ad and then adds items to a shopping cart, we can see it in Facebook’s advertising platform and Google Analytics. If they don’t purchase these items, the user can be added to a list for retargeting. When they complete the purchase, we see what they bought, how many of each item and ultimately how much money was made. It’s might not be the ability to fly or see through walls, but in the world of digital marketing, this is certainly a superpower.

And it isn’t just limited to ecommerce. The same principals can let us record things like scheduled appointments, phone calls, and other user activity.  Finally, data from the CRM (Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, etc) and marketing automation solution (HubSpot, Pardot) can be married across different platforms including Google Analytics. This allows us to leverage first-party data to see who is using a web site, how they use it and then target audiences based on specific behaviors.

Google Tag Manager is an amazing free tool that has helped transform our efforts by saving us time and money and allowing us to do things that were not possible before.

Want to learn more about the fun things we do with martech platforms and data? Get in touch!