In the simplest terms, Google Tag Manager is a free tool from Google that lets digital marketers set up and manage marketing tags (snippets of code or tracking pixels) on their website or app without having to modify the website code. This allows marketers to manage website code without having to call in help from a web developer. It’s also particularly useful for marketers with lots of tags to manage, as all of the code is stored in one place.
Google’s tagline for Tag Manager is that it ‘helps make tag management simple, easy and reliable by allowing marketers and webmasters to deploy website tags all in one place.’
However, while any marketer can use Tag Manager without needing a web developer, you do need to have some technical knowledge to use this tool. This can easily be self-taught or learned on a course, but without a reasonable understanding of how to set up tags, triggers and variables, you’ll be lost in the Tag Manager platform. In addition, if you want to use Google Tag Manager for event tracking, you’ll need to know what Google Analytics Events are, how they work and what you can use them for.
If you don’t already know how to use these tools, putting in a bit of time to learn is definitely beneficial for any digital marketer. Tag Manager gives you the opportunity to customise the data that is sent to Analytics, which lets you create more accurate reports on the things that matter most on your website and to your business. We’ve listed some of the most effective things to use Google Tag Manager for below.
1. Tracking Downloads
Many businesses create valuable pieces of information for visitors to download to provide them with more information that will ultimately move them further through the stages of the buying funnel to conversion. For these businesses, when a visitor downloads the document, this is a valuable action for them and so it can be considered a micro-conversion. However, Google Analytics isn’t configured to track file downloads. This is one of the simplest things to track in Google Tag Manager using one of the platform’s built-in variables: Click URL. This means that when set up correctly, the user will click on the link to download and the trigger will fire, sending the data to Google Analytics.
2. Tracking Outbound Clicks
Like tracking file downloads, some web owners may want to track when a user clicks on an outbound link on their page. The Google Tag Manager set up for this is similar to tracking a download, however, it is slightly more complicated. Rather than using a built-in variable on Tag Manager, you have to create an Auto Event Variable that will populate the website hostname of the link that has been clicked.
Auto Event Variables allow you to access data points about an interaction as it happens. As someone is clicking a link, Tag Manager can be configured to grab the hostname of the link that was just clicked, checking that the hostname isn’t the hostname of the current website, and as such, tracking that as an outbound click.
The key here to reduce confusion when it comes to reporting is to name the links in a methodical way. In most cases, you don’t need to see the whole URL that was clicked; it’s more useful to track which domains your users are clicking on most often. This can easily be done by sending the hostname to Analytics so that your report shows how many people clicked through to Brand A, Brand B, Brand C etc.
3. Measuring Scroll Depth
According to Neil Patel, ‘Lots of content is powerful and compelling. Big landing pages can mean big conversions.’ As the advantages of long landing pages have been widely discussed, it makes sense that the average landing page is getting longer. However, it’s important that the content on the page is engaging and matches searcher intent. Measuring scroll depth can help you check that users are interested and engaged in your content. This is one of the built-in variables inside Google Tag Manager so it is relatively easy to configure. For more information, check out this article on How to Track Scroll Depth with Google Tag Manager.
4. Monitoring Dwell Time
Dwell time can provide more insight than scroll depth as it gives an indication of how long users actually spend on your pages. While you may think this is included in the ‘Time on Page’ statistics on Google Analytics, this can be inaccurate as it doesn’t count visitors that ‘bounce’. In Google Analytics, a bounce occurs if a user visits one page on the site and doesn’t complete any action or navigate to another page – even if that user spends a long time reading and digesting the information, for example, on a particularly insightful blog. This is a good-quality session and should be monitored.
This is known as Dwell Time and this can be measured using an HTML tag in Google Tag Manager that deploys the setTimeout method to trigger an interaction after a predetermined amount of time. You can set that timeframe to be whatever makes the most sense for your business and website.
For more information on Google Tag Manager or for general digital marketing advice, get in touch with the team at Digital Squad, a leading Digital Marketing Agency in Hong Kong and the SEO Specialists Hong Kong.