What Is Google Tag Manager, and How Do You Use It?

What Is Google Tag Manager, and How Do You Use It?

If you manage a website, you’re likely familiar with Google’s suite of tools that are designed to optimize your website, both for you and for your users. However, the number of tools and the breadth of their capabilities can overwhelm the best of us.

Google Tag Manager is one of the newer tools to Google’s Analytics suite and can be extremely powerful when used properly. Below, we dive into what Google Tag Manager is, and when and how to use it.

What is Google Tag Manager?

Tags are snippets of JavaScript code that gather data and send it to third-party websites. Google Tag Manager (often referred to as GTM) is a tag management tool provided by Google for free.

It allows the user to set up and manage different types of analytics and marketing tags. Before Google Tag Manager, adding a tag to your website meant that you had to work with a developer to hardcode it in your site’s code. GTM allows you to add tags to your site easily without a developer.

Google Tag Manager Features

Google Tag Manager’s functionality can be broken into three buckets:

  • Tag: A snippet of code (usually Javascript) that you want to add to a page
  • Trigger: Settings that allow you to say when and where on your site you want a tag to be executed.
  • Variables: Manage what tag and trigger information you would like to be stored

GTM is free and works both for websites and mobile apps. It included enhanced security features such as two-factor authentication. If you are a small or medium business, the free settings in GTM are more than enough for your tag management purposes. Large business or corporations may benefit from using Google Tag Manager 360.

When it’s useful

Google Tag Manager it’s useful when you want to have the best insights on tag tracking as it gives you full control over all tags. The interface allows you to add, remove, or test tags with only a few clicks.

For non-developers, the lack of GTM can boost yearly website maintenance costs and make your company dependent on web developers for any code-related task.

How to effectively set up Google Tag Manager

If you follow these simple tips, you can make Google Tag Manager effective quickly:

  • After creating an account, create a container, which will hold all the tags for your website. After you create a container, you’ll be able to add tags from third-party tools that you need for your site. You should have one container per website that you manage.
  • When creating a tag, you’ll be prompted to select the type of tag that you want to add. You’ll have the option to choose between templated third-party tags, or you can set up custom HTML or image tags.
  • After filling in the necessary tag details, you can set triggers to define when the tag is going to fire. You can choose between different trigger types, including page view, clicks, and user engagement. If you only want your tag to fire in certain instances, select the trigger and enter the necessary information. If you want your tag to fire on all pages, use the preset “All Pages” trigger.
  • Once your tag and triggers are set up and ready to go, create a descriptive name for your tag and manually publish it. Your tag will appear immediately on your site.


Google Tag Manager doesn’t replace Google Analytics. They can both work separately, but the two solutions complement each other as GTM gives Google Analytics more accurate data.

Still feeling overwhelmed about GTM? Reach out to the SEO team at Volume Nine today – we’re here to help!