Digital Marketers that want to better understand their audience, and strengthen their performance marketing strategy, need to know how to best utilise all of the data available inside Google Analytics.

Google Analytics

If you’re not familiar with Google Analytics, it can be a little daunting at first. With so much data available to dig through, it’s hard to know where to look to find the most important digital metrics.

Without knowing which sections to pay attention to, you could spend hours digging through the platform and walk away with your head spinning.

Similarly, without analysing your website traffic, it’s hard to assess the effectiveness of your current marketing strategy and know when it’s time to make a shift.

If leveraged correctly, Google Analytics can provide valuable insight into who visits your website, how they got there in the first place and what pages they spend the most time on; this is powerful data for marketers that can be used to enhance their digital marketing strategy.

Google Tag Manager

Tagging can get pretty complex. Larger websites in particular can have lots of tags or code snippets that need to be added, require updating regularly or have complex installations, but it’s not just the complexity involved, and there are several other reasons why you should use a tool to manage all your tags – and in particular Google Tag Manager.

GTM is free and future proof

Tag management systems are not a new invention – they’ve been around for a few years now – but most of them charge a fee for the use of the product. Google’s is free, which makes it very appealing.

Seasoned computer users will know how well that turned out for Microsoft, but Google won’t make that mistake. If there’s one thing they won’t do, it’s get lazy with their product. I believe they are acutely aware that marketers and business owners need a way of easily managing and updating their tags/code snippets without touching the code.

The iteration released by Google nearly two years ago is testament to that, refining the terminology so that technophobes can understand the semantics. But the fact that it’s free and future proof isn’t the only reason why GTM is the best thing since sliced bread (slight exaggeration).

Ease of use

Within reason, Google Tag Manager enables you to insert a piece of code once, without ever having to bother your web developer. This is perfect for teams with an external web developer because you are not repeatedly asking that developer to make changes. For in-house teams it also means your developer can focus on improving the website, as opposed to making changes to benefit your data, thus streamlining the process.

It also means that if you need to update any of your tags (remember what I said earlier about upgrading from Classic Analytics to Universal Analytics), you can do this yourself by updating the tag in the GTM dashboard.

Pre-defined tags

Google is well aware that the majority of websites use a similar selection of tags. This isn’t just limited to Google Analytics or Ads Conversion Pixels, but also DoubleClick, Facebook and Twitter tags.

This is perfect for marketers who aren’t familiar with code. The GTM snippet is inserted once on all pages, and all tags are inserted into pages that the rules (now known as ‘triggers’) associate with the designated tag.

Preview mode

Google Tag Manager also contains an option to test your tags before you publish them.

Data accuracy is becoming increasingly important (and increasingly difficult given the web spam issue), so being able to try out your implementation to ensure your tags are firing correctly is hugely important. This ensures it never affects your live data.