Google Tag Manager vs Google Analytics

Zoe Pedersen – Head of Commercial Services

What are these things? Do you need both of them implemented on your website? What’s the difference?!

Google has always tried to assist marketers with free tools to help maximise the efforts of brands. Some of the free tools currently on offer include Analytics, Search Console (previously known as Webmaster tools), Adwords and many more. There seems to be confusion around one or the other so let’s explain what each does. 

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics (GA) is your eye glasses that help you see information clearly. GA gives you the insights to see who your customers are and what they are doing on your digital property. It gives you the measurable business insights to take action and increase your bottom line revenue...it lets you see the detail so you can make informed decisions based on real data.

There are multiple different ways you can validate a specific campaign and you can use analytics to look at a whole host of useful, relevant data points including audience demographics, last-click attribution and assisted conversions, just to name a few. 

At The Escape, we collate the information in an easy to use and digest Data Studio dashboard that creates top level live reporting which is customised based on what you want to see, what's useful to you and your business, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Data Studio dashboard is fully customisable and allows integration across various touchpoints and reporting software, and is not limited to only Google. 

What is GTM?

With GA and GTM, it’s not a case of either/or.

Google Tag Manager, working in conjunction with Google Analytics, means you’re able to collect much more data. Tags are snippets of code which are added to a website to collect specific information and send it to third party websites. 

Think of it like a container that contains all of your third party codes within it. You can list most common tracking codes in Tag Manager like:

  • Analytics
  • Search Console
  • Hotjar
  • Crazyegg
  • Adwords
  • Facebook Pixel
  • Twitter
  • Bing Ads

...and many more. ‚Äč

 

The best bit about setting up your tag manager is that you do not require development on a website. As long as the GTM tags are added to your website, you can easily include new tags, containers and triggers all within your GTM account itself. 

Now, while we say you don't need a web developer, you will still need someone who understands GTM and the code, and can deploy it without hassle. There are many resources online that can help explain how to add in a tag. 

We would always advise speaking to an expert to determine which tag to add and how to set up triggers as that’s the really important bit! When not implemented correctly, you can adversely affect things like your site speed, for example, and incorrectly implemented tags will slow down website speed if fired synchronously. 

What is in GTM?

There are a few concepts to adhere to when it comes to GTM:

Containers

A container holds all the tags for your website. When starting out, setting up containers is the first thing you would need to do. 

Triggers

Each tag will serve a specific purpose, an event or filter. The trigger allows you to track that specific event. 

Data Layers

Tags need information to know when they must fire. A JavaScript (JS) object keeps the required information tags separate from the rest of a website's code. This helps to speed up the way a tag is fired. 

There are many ways that GTM, together with Google Analytics, helps a business gather useful, usable data. Defining that information, implementing with a clear, keen eye and having the necessary technical experience are often the key elements in helping to drive and deliver actionable data. Google Tag Manager will future-proof your brand and ensure you have the insights you need to make smart, informed communications, marketing and business decisions. 

 

Imagery supplied by Google.

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