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The Shortcut to Understanding Google Tag Manager

Antonella Saravia

3 years ago



If you visit a website and no one is around, will anyone know? If they have tags on it, you betcha.

Nowadays, more websites include tracking codes that come in a Javascript tag or pixel. These tags gather data and track as you move about the page, registering your behavior the minute you clicked on the site.

Sounds important, huh?

Very much so as this data is leveraged for third-party tracking, analytics and reporting, remarketing strategies, and to measure conversions.

To help advertisers keep things in check for activity on the Google Business Ads platform, many use free software by Google to install and track the codes mentioned above. Read on to learn more about the software and its functionalities.

What is Google Tag Manager?

Google Tag Manager is a free software by Google that allows advertisers to add and update site code to manage tags on their sites. These pieces of code gather data by tracking events on the site, reduce errors, and enable advertisers to implement tags with ease.

Some examples of tags you might be familiar with are Google Analytics tracking code, event codes, Adwords conversion script, and remarketing.

To help you understand how each of these can help your bottom line, we’ve broken down each below:

  • Google Analytics tracking code: A small snippet of Javascript that runs on a viewer’s browser when they visit a page.
  • Google Analytics event codes: Code that follows a user and tracks interactions with content such as downloads, link clicks, form submissions, and video plays.
  • Adwords conversion script: This tag tracks a user’s journey after they’ve clicked on an ad and arrive at the intended site, following their behavior up until a conversion, an action assigned by the advertiser such as a purchase or sign-up.
  • Remarketing tags: This tag works for Google’s site measurement, conversion tracking, and remarketing products. It flags users who have visited your website and reach them with ads at a later time.

What are the benefits of using GTM?

Before Google Tab Managers, codes were generally implemented by a web developer on each individual page. The amount of intel that is derived is overwhelming for anyone to process.

Google Tag Manager addresses this issue as it manages all of the codes and data on your GTM account. The software empowers advertisers by allowing them to keep Google Analytics, Google Adwords, and other tools under one platform.

As a quality assurance exercise, the software will test tags to guarantee that they are working correctly when assigned to a particular button and page.

If changes need to be made to tags, they can be edited and managed without actually altering the source code of a website.

Other ways that GTM empower advertisers:

  • Depending on the number of tags on your page, GTM can play a role in loading your site faster.
  • Managing non-Google products. Examples include:
  • Testing tags
  • Allowing them to monitor third-party code is in one place
  • Viewing what’s working and what’s not before going live

What is the difference between Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics?

There is a common confusion with GTM and Google Analytics, but it’s simple really.

Google Tag Manager lets you manage tags on your website while Google Analytics is a tool that provides the results of data that go into reports. It stores and manages third-party code.

Consequently, Google Analytics is the program that leverages the collected data and provides reporting and analysis. All conversion tracking goals or filters are managed through Analytics. Reporting tasks that are managed by Google Analytics are:

  • Conversion reports, custom segments, ecommerce sales, time on page, bounce rate, engagement reports, etc…) are done in Google Analytics.

What can you track in Google Tag Manager (GTM)?


As mentioned earlier, Google Tag Managers empower advertisers by allowing them to edit tags without a developer and making the entire process of gathering information easier. Rest assured that the features will flag errors in tagging long before they put a dent in monthly reports. Furthemore, multi-user support and shared access keeps everyone in the loop.

To learn more about Google tools and other resources to leverage for better performing campaigns, follow our blog for continual updates on all things PPC.