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Getting Started with Google Tag Manager


So you made the jump! You’ve decided you want to use Google Tag Manager. Great choice! Where do you get started, you ask? Don’t worry, GTM is a vast world of possibilities so let’s start at the beginning (cue Julie Andrews).

Setup Your First GTM Account and Container

When you sign up for Google Tag Manager for the first time is going to prompt you to name your account. This is your overarching labeling system. You can create multiple accounts if you wish. For instance, if you are an agency, an account may be a client, or it could be your agency depending on how you’d like to organize your GTM account. I personally, set my accounts up according to clients as some clients have multiple sites and it’s easier for me to segment my client sites as containers and labeled by accounts. But you can really set this up however you’d like.

The next thing it will prompt you is to setup a container. Think of containers as the house where all your tags, triggers and variables are going to live. You will most likely want to label the container as the website or application that the container is going to live on. But it’s really, again, up to you and however you’d like to organize your setup. At the end of the day these are just labeling systems. Next it will ask you where you will be using the container and prompt you to pick a type. At this point there are four options; Web, iOS, Android, and AMP (accelerated mobile pages). Select which application you will be placing the container on and click create.

Place the Container Snippet on Your Site.

Google will then prompt you to agree to a Terms of Service agreement, which you should read. We all read these very closely. Once you agree to the terms, you will be prompted to the main interface of the site with a popup with javascript code. This will be the code that you should place on your website. This implementation is a little different depending on the type of website you have. If you have a wordpress site, there are some handy plugins to help this process, I always prefer though to put this in the actual code to avoid issues down the road.

If you do choose the manual route, copy and paste the top snippet into the head of your website code as high up as possible. Paste the bottom snippet right under the opening tag. In WordPress, you can find this file labeled as header.php in the appearance editor:

Now it’s time to set up the container for success. We will cover, tags, triggers and variables in another post but there are a few functionality things you can setup to make your life and tagging experience better, so let’s do them.

Configure Your Variable Setup.

Navigate to variables. When you first create a container, the variable section is a little bare. The default configuration only gives you a few options as variables. As you will soon learn, this gives you not a lot to work off of when creating triggers. You can, however, change the initial configuration so that you have a lot more variable options to work with. .

Click configure underneath Built-In Variables. You will see a lot of checkboxes open checkboxes. Scroll down to the sections Clicks and Forms, check every available box and you should see your Built-In Variables starting to grow. There are plenty of other variables that you can check as well (including creating your own) but we will go over that in a follow-up post.

Create a Constant User-Defined Variable for your Google Analytics Tracking ID

While, we are already in the variables section, if you plan to use GTM for Google Analytics implementation, it makes sense to create a User-Defined Constant Variable which is your UA tracking number. This way you can use it over and over again without having to navigate back and forth to your GA and copying and pasting every time. Click on the button NEW under User-Defined variables:

Name your variable and select Constant from the variable type sidebar

Find your tracking number in Google Analytics in your admin portal under the Property column.

Paste your UA Tracking ID into the blank field under value.

You will be using this tracking code plenty, so it’s best to get this out of the way now. Check out the post: Google Analytics in Google Tag Manager for implementation help.

Create a Basic Click Trigger.

Finally we just need to do two more things for our initial setup. Navigate over to triggers and select a click trigger. Name your trigger Basic Click Trigger or something of the sorts

Have the trigger fire on all clicks. This will allow for click events to be picked up in the preview/debug mode. Later when you start to tag analytics events, this basic click trigger will be very helpful to determine click variables for specific clicks (i.e. button clicks, text clicks, product clicks, etc)

Create a Basic Form Trigger.

Similarly to a basic click trigger, you will most likely want to track form submissions on your site. This will allow opportunity for you capture valuable lead generation data. Create a basic form submission trigger.

Select all forms and you’re good to go:

You’re Done but Just Beginning!

Alright!! That’s the initial Tag Manager Pro setup. This setup will significantly speed up your process as you start tagging down the road. It will also allow you to grab some rich data as you start building tags for your analytics platforms. We will cover how to use this implementation for success in a followup post but for now. Good taggings!


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