The online environment has evolved to a point where having timely access to accurate, precise, and concrete data is vital for the decision-making process. This is equally true, no matter if we are talking about a big e-commerce platform, a small blog page, or a business enterprise somewhere in between. This is where Google Tag Manager enters the picture.
After all, how users interact with the site, which elements are the most popular, what generates the most retention, and similar core metrics are all essential parameters when it comes to creating a successful growth strategy for your site or business.
As one of the most comprehensive free tools available on the market, Google Tag Manager can become an indispensable part of the online analytics management of your WordPress site.
Fast Deployment of Tags
To get the relevant data, code snippets known as tags must be injected into all pages of the website.
In the past, the process was relegated solely to the developers who had to find the necessary time to perform this task. After all, a combination of multiple tags tracking different objectives – form submissions, clicks, completed surveys, how people found the site, and what brought them there, may be needed for each page. Even extremely specific events can be tracked via tags such as initiated file downloads or items added/removed from a shopping cart.
Integrating Google Tag Manager into your WordPress site allows for the whole process of introducing, maintaining, editing, and testing tags to be performed in a straightforward and convenient way via a single dashboard.
This aspect of Google Tag Manager is extremely important for smaller businesses that employ only a couple of permanent developers or do not have a dedicated development team at all. If you are trying to implement a rather complex set of tags, however, it may be a good idea to leave it to an expert.
How To Start Using Google Tag Manager
The process is sufficiently self-explanatory but there are still a couple of tricky parts that must be taken into account:
Set up a Google Tag Manager account.
Start by opening tagmanager.google.com and then clicking on either the ‘Create Account’ button or in the middle of the page. You will be taken to the Admin section. Here, choose a name for your account. You can pick whatever you want but one core principle that you should follow throughout this process is to make everything as obvious and easy to recognize as possible.
The best practice, in this case, is to use your company’s name. Afterward, select the corresponding country. You can also choose whether you want to share data anonymously with Google.
Set Up the Container
The container is what will effectively ‘hold’ and carry all of the tags for the site and its pages. Once again, you can name it anything you want, but it is strongly recommended to simply use the site’s domain name. If everything is as clear as possible, it will decrease the chances of any accidental mistakes in the future.
Keep in mind that, in general, Google advises creating a separate container for each different domain. You can then manage all of the containers under a single Google Tag Manager account.
Select Appropriate Platform
Google Tag Manager offers you a choice between multiple platforms, including:
- Web – for desktop and mobile web pages;
- iOS – for iOS apps;
- Android – for Android apps;
- AMP – for Accelerated Mobile Pages;
- Server – a beta feature for server-side instrumentation and measurement;
Agree with the Terms and Conditions
You will be presented with the Google Tag Manager Terms of Service Agreement. You can pick the language of the text from a drop-down menu at the top of the page. When you are done reading the page, check the box at the bottom to confirm that you accept the GDPR terms (for countries where the law applies). The last step is to hit the ‘Agree’ button in the upper-right corner.
When your container is created, Google Tag Manager will display two code snippets in a pop-up window. The first one is intended to be injected into the <head> tag of the page, while the second goes in the <body> tag. The code must be distributed correctly in your WordPress site, otherwise, the tags won’t function. Arguably, the easiest method is to use a plugin specifically designed to tackle this obstacle.
The same result can also be achieved manually by adding the code snippets to the ‘funtions.php’ file located in the WordPress theme. The problem is that any changes introduced to the ‘funtions.php’ file will be gone the next time the theme is updated. To prevent this, users will need to create a child theme that will safeguard the custom modifications made to the file.
After this step, you will now have access to the dashboard section of the tool.
Creating Tags on Google Tag Manager
We can now begin creating tags. Think about which tags are most relevant to your goal. Although there is no upper limit to the number of tags that can be added, typically, it is not recommended to inflate it unnecessarily. If you already have a set of tags that you wish to import into Google Tag Manager, now would be an opportune moment to take some time to review them and remove any that are no longer needed. To create a brand new tag, click on ‘New Tag’ or ‘Add a new tag’ from the Google Tag Manager dashboard.
You will be presented with a window containing two options – ‘Tag Configuration’ and ‘Triggering.’ Select the top one. Here, we will generate our new tag. First, choose its type. There are quite a few different options, including third-party ones, and even creating your own custom HTML or Image tags.
In this guide, we are going to pick ‘Google Analytics: Universal Analytics.’ Now, select the specific type of tag that you wish to create. For example, to track when a user opens a certain page on the site, pick ‘Pageview’ from the ‘Track type’ drop-down menu.
Now, pick a setting variable for the tag. If you haven’t created a variable beforehand, you can do so from the second drop-down menu on the page. Keep in mind that in order to set up a new variable, you will need your Tracking ID. It is a code that enables Google to pinpoint your site among all the others. You can see your tracking ID by logging into your Google Analytics account and going to the ‘Admin’ tab.
Clicking on ‘Advanced Options’ allows you to adjust the tag firing priority and sequencing. When you are ready, click ‘Save’ and go back to the previous window.
In order for the tag to work as intended, we now need to give it at least one trigger. Click on the ‘Triggering’ section to do just that. Here, you can add a new trigger via the ‘plus’ button, if you don’t have any already created. Pick a name for the new trigger and then select ‘Trigger Configuration’ to access a list of trigger types.
Choose the one that best matches your needs, such as ‘Page View.’ Then, fine-tune the conditions that must occur for the trigger to activate. For example, if you wish your tag to fire when a user visits a certain page of your site, you can pick ‘Page URL’ to be equal to the specific URL of the page you are interested in tracking. These trigger conditions are called filters, and you can add multiple filters for a single tag via the ‘plus’ button. When you are done, click ‘Save’ in the upper-right corner of the window.
Publish The Tags
The created tags will not go live until the container has been published. Rather intuitively, this can be achieved via the ‘Submit’ button located in the upper-right corner of the central Google Tag Manager dashboard. In the ‘Submit’ window, there are several settings that must be adjusted
. First, select the ‘Publish and Create Version’ and then give a clear name and description of the new version. Review if the new configuration is working as expected by looking at the ‘Workspace Changes’ section. Finally, click the red ‘Publish’ button to make the changes go live.
Google Tag Manager offers a surprisingly robust set of features when it comes to managing the tags on your WordPress site considering that is available for free. While it may take some time to get used to the more intricate of its functions, you can easily deploy the tool and start receiving vital marketing and analytical information tailored to your specific needs almost immediately.