Switching to Google Tag Manager to handle marketing pixels

Daniel GüntherBy Daniel Günther 1 Jahr agoNo Comments
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Managing all individual Online Marketing Pixels on our websites through a Pixel Manager like Google Tag Manager (“GTM”) has become a great solution for us. We have been using the free GTM in all of our 19 shopping portals since May 2015, and so far we have no reason to look back. In this article I will quickly demonstrate the benefits and provide a basic introduction of GTM. Implementing Tracking Pixels like the popular Google Universal Analytics pixel often leads to solutions which potentially clutter up your code. Since we were using many other pixels as well (Facebook, Criteo or Bing, to name just a few), we developed in our application a system to simplify the handling. Over time, though, maintaining them got increasingly painful. We were also looking for a solution to involve our marketing team more directly into the process of handling the pixels. So we came up with the idea to introduce a Manager for Online Marketing Pixels. The free GTM has been an easy choice for us and it paid off nicely so far.

How does GTM work?

You implement the GTM snippet like any normal tracking pixel on your site. The Google Tag Manager container is nothing else than javascript which works together with Google Tag Manager account. After implementing the GTM snippet, you can start migrating all your existing individual tracking pixels from your site into the online account of Google Tag Manager. Since this website is easy to understand and therefore open to “non-techie” users, it gives your developers more time to focus on the „real“ work, while Marketing can add, modify, update, delete or publish tracking pixels. Adding pixels to GTM is simply done by pasting the javascript code of the pixel into a text field, inserting some placeholder variables, clicking on „save“ and then another link to “publish” it to production. Sometimes it’s even easier since GTM provides a set of standard templates for common tracking pixels (for (obvious?) reasons it excludes Facebook pixels though, but you can use the custom template for that). Introducing a Tag Manager like GTM is actually similar to start using a Content Management System (CMS). The difference though is, that instead of managing articles or product details for your website, a Tag Manager helps you organizing all the different tracking pixels on your site for you. All the logic, for example for where the pixel shall be fired or how its variables are going to be filled, is being moves to the cloud, accessible through the Tag Manager’s website. Tag manager Screenshot of the GTM Web Interface On the screenshot you can see the user interface of Google Tag Manager. You can see sections called „Tags“, „Triggers“ and „Variables“ on the main page.

Triggers

Triggers are sets of rules which you can define to decide when a specific pixel („tag“) needs to be „fired“. E.g. Pageview tracking pixels will be fired on „pageview“. Or Conversion Pixels will be fired on Pageview, when the url contains the string „checkoutpage“ (GTM supports regular expressions). Triggers can be named, configured separately and then associated to single or multiple tags at your convenience.

Variables

If you implement a conversion pixel on your checkout page, you probably want to send the sum of the sale with that tracking pixel. You just create a variable dataLayer and fill it dynamically with the details of the order. Everything in the JS object can be accessed through the Javascript Container of GTM. You just need to map the name of the variable in dataLayer with a newly created variable on GTM web interface (“Variables” section). Once you did that you can use the actual value of that variable in all your tracking pixels: In your JavaScript: Example of using a variable called „someVariable“ inside a custom snippet:  

Templates

GTM provides easy to use templates for a lot of tags, e.g. Google AdWords Conversion Tracking, AdWords Remarketing and Google Analytics. tag manager 2 Templates GTM provides as of September 2015

Versioning & Permissions

GTM keeps also track of all your changes using a versioning system and allows different kinds of permissions based on accounts („view“, „edit“, „delete“, „publish“). Permissions help you to separate different user groups, e.g. your marketing team has permission to change pixels but only your IT admins have the right to publish those changes after review. Have fun using GTM!

Links

GTM – http://tagmanager.google.com/ Features – http://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.de/en/de/tagmanager/pdfs/google-tag-manager-technical-factsheet.pdf Google Tag Manager Hilfe (DE) – https://support.google.com/tagmanager?hl=de#topic=3002579 Google Tag Manager Hilfe (EN) – https://support.google.com/tagmanager?hl=en#topic=3441530 GTM for Developers – https://developers.google.com/tag-manager/ Great Blog about GTM – http://www.simoahava.com/tag/google-tag-manager/  
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Daniel Günther
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 Daniel Günther

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Daniel Günther joined Visual Meta in 2012. He plays a important role in the Frontend team, working on bigger projects like AdZeile, user account area or partner dashboard and mentoring new colleagues. Also he is always open for a good kicker or table tennis match.

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