It would seem that Google has nearly cornered the market for really cool free tools that make life a lot easier for many of us in the web-marketing business. Google Analytics is something we cannot live without. Google Webmaster Tools is awesome. The Google Keyword Tool is absolutely essential. Then we have everyday tools such as Google Docs, Gmail, Calendar, Maps, Earth… the list goes on and on. It’s a Google world; we just live here. And if you’re thinking that we’re leading up to something new and amazing from Google – you are correct. Google Tag Manager has recently arrived. It’s the latest addition to Google’s arsenal of cool tools, and we’re pretty excited to have it on-hand.
Before Google Tag Manager, adding tracking elements or tags to a website was always a chore. If you weren’t familiar with the back-end of your site and had to make changes to anything, the effort usually required the assistance of your “web guy” to get anything done. And if your web guy just happened to be a hard-core gamer, you might have to wait a number of days or weeks before he got back to you on your request. By then, your new campaign was already behind any competitive effort. Fortunately, things have changed. The Google Tag Manager lets you manage all the tracking and marketing optimization tags associated with your site (or individual site pages) in a way that is incredibly simple to set up and manage.
So, how does it work? All you need to get started is an existing Google account (Gmail, etc.) and one-time access to the back-end HTML (code) for your site. Create and install a single Google tag (called a container snippet) on each of the pages of your website, and you’re set. Everything you need to get started has been made available at www.google.com/tagmanager. We highly recommend watching the Introduction to Google Tag Manager video at YouTube. Once Google Tag Manager is installed, you can update all your tracking and marketing tags from inside the Google Tag Manager interface – rather than editing website code for each new addition or change. You can also add non-Google tags through the same interface! As an added benefit, the Google Tag Manager greatly reduces the chances for errors.
What makes Google Tag Manager so great? Well, from the marketing agency perspective, we’re now able to offer our direct clients a better turn-key solution that makes it easy for them to track leads. And for the third-party marketing and advertising agencies that we serve and support, the Google Tag Manager greatly reduces the amount of back-and-forth communications between the end-client’s web developer and the agency who is communicating with them. We’re able to place a single container snippet on the pages of any client website and manage all tracking and marketing tags without having to wait for the web developer to get back to us. In short, we talk to the web developer once, install the Google Tag Manager snippet, and we’re good to go! From that point on, the account managers at the marketing or advertising agency are able to get things done quickly for their clients, the web guy can go back to gaming, and the client can receive all the information they need about their campaigns in double-quick time.
Add, update, and remove Google and non-Google tags without making changes to your HTML ever again. It’s amazing – even to us – that it took this long for somebody to put together an easy-to-use tag manager with a simple interface. Well done, Google. Well done!