10 Top Google Tag Manager Tips

If you’ve read the Omni Insight blog before, you’ll likely know that I’m a huge fan of Google Tag Manager. You see, because of who I am as a person, I don’t like to inconvenience people or ask them to do things that I could probably do – so I love sending a developer one line of code and saying: “Install this and then I can set up all the tracking myself!”

Google Tag Manager allows me to tweak and troubleshoot any mistakes on my own, without clogging our web department’s support inbox.

Through setting up and managing all my client’s accounts and containers, I have learned a few things that I wish I knew when I was first starting out, so I’ve decided to share with you 10 tips that have made my GTM life easier.

10 Things I’ve learned that helped me master Google Tag Manager

1 – Use Plug-Ins (if you can)

Yes, I know. It’s probably not best practice, but if you need to track anything from the Data Layer it is 1000x easier to install the Thomas Geiger GTM Plug-In if you can – it does ALL the hard work for you, pulling the Data Layer through automatically. All you have to do is paste in the container code and set up your triggers & tags in GTM.

2 – Stop Googling Which Key-Value Pairs You Need

The thing is, no two websites are coded exactly the same, so no matter how many times you Google “Which key-value pair do I need to point to in order to track conversion value??” every article will give you a different answer because every website is set up differently.

The best way to figure out which key-value you need is to head into ‘Preview Mode’ and start clicking around!

What do you want to track exactly? Do that action on your website and take note of which values fill into your Data Layer. Then take that information, set up your trigger, and head back into ‘Preview Mode’ to make sure the event you’re tracking triggers properly.

It takes a little more time to get your head around but it’s worth it and it will help you understand how to troubleshoot problems on your own.

3 – Know your Analytics Labels

One of the handy things about Google Tag Manager is that you can track actions in your Google Analytics account – but if you’ve never done it before it’s hard to know what ‘tag configuration’ to use to get it present logically in your Analytics. So:

Tag Type: Universal Analytics
Track Type: Event (This means the results will show in the “Events” section of Analytics)
Action: (This is what the “Action” will be called in analytics, for example, “Click”)
Label: (This is what the action will be sub-categorised as in Analytics, for example, “Sidebar Click”, “Banner Click”)
Non-Interaction Hit: True
Google Analytics Settings: {{Google Analytics Setting}} (I have mine set as a variable that I can autofill it.)

4 – Don’t forget your Conversion Linker.

Do it. Make it the first thing you do. Install it now. Why aren’t you using it? Do it right now.

5 – What’s that second line of tracking code for?

If you’re not able to install Google Tag Manager with the Plug-In I mentioned above, you get given a little block of code to put in the <head> of your website, but do you need it all?

The short answer is, no, you don’t! You see, the second line of code is just a little back-up in case the person visiting your website doesn’t have JavaScript running – but if they don’t have JS then the conversions don’t track properly anyway. So, if you don’t like installing anything that isn’t 100% necessary, you can leave that second line of code out.

6 – Talk it out loud

Ok, this is fairly universal advice. Sometimes, all it takes is talking through a problem out loud to help you see the solution. My desk-neighbour has no clue what I’m on about, but I find that just explaining my problem to her helps me see where I might be going wrong. (And you will not believe how many problems are solved by just remembering to hit that “Submit” button!)

7 – Facebook Pixels might take a while

GTM is fantastic, but sometimes your Facebook Pixel takes a time to pull through. If you’re setting up a new Pixel and want to track conversion events through it, I recommend installing the Pixel and then waiting a day to set up the events to make sure it’s active and Facebook is seeing it on the website.

8 – Button Click tracking is temperamental

GTM is magical and can track almost everything, but I find that ‘Button Click” tracking can be quite temperamental – especially when you consider that people can click buttons multiple times per form submission, for example.

I find it easier to track URLs, so if you do have contact with a web developer on the site, it might be easier to ask them to redirect “conversion events” to a thank-you URL and track that instead.

Smoother. Easier. Slightly more fool-proof.

9 – Try again tomorrow

You might be tired or things might just need a little time to pull through – sometimes you’ve done everything right or sometimes the thing you’re missing is so obvious and you’re container-blind and you won’t notice it until you’ve taken a break and come back to it tomorrow.

10 – Get someone else to do it for you

GTM and conversion tracking can fry your brain, especially when you’re setting up multiple triggers and tags at once – so the best advice is sometimes to come back to it later, have a snack, have a cuppa (or to hire me to do it for you).

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Chloe Rudd

Chloe Rudd

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