Google Analytics is hands-down the most popular website analytics tool that webmasters from all around the world use. Analyzing the data collected by tools such as GA is crucial to determine a website’s growth and prepare data-driven strategies with a higher level of success.

While we use such analytics tools to dial down the inconvenience for us and speed up the analyzing process, they still have the potential to work more effectively through tags. Understanding the importance of tags, Google released Tag Manager in 2012.

In this post, we will learn:

  • What is Google Tag Manager?
  • Why Should You Use Google Tag Manager?
  • How to Set Up Google Tag Manager?
  • How to Create A Variable?
  • How to Link Google Tag Manager with Google Analytics?

What is Google Tag Manager?

Google Tag Manager allows you to monitor your tags applied on a web page and saves you the trouble of creating a new code every time you decide to build a tag. Google Tag Manager creates one code that you can implement on every page of your website and monitor each tag efficiently.


Why Should You Use Google Tag Manager?

Webmasters implement bits of code in a website’s back-end to gather and study certain data, such codes are called Tags.

You can use tags for any purposes. For example, you can use tags to track a visitor’s journey on your website, keep track of how long they stayed on a page; and if you operate an eCommerce store: what products did they remove from their shopping cart, and how many times did they visit the payment gateway.

Implementing tags allow you to gather all this data/information and share it with Google Analytics to get the most out of your GA reports. Also, you can share it with Google Ads to create successful ad campaigns.

If you create tags through Google Tag Manager, it eliminates your need to develop and implement each tag manually. Plus, it can one-up the efficiency and precision of your marketing strategies for both startups and established businesses.

Moreover, the code for the tags are generated by a carefully developed software (Google Tag Manager); therefore, the possibility of any human error is significantly reduced. Also, Google Tag Manager is free!

How to Set Up Google Tag Manager?

Setting up a Google Tag Manager account is easy and free. However, it does not quite follow the conventional account creation process similar to other Google products. You do need a Google account to use Google Tag Manager. Apart from that, you must provide additional data to ensure precise tracking and monitoring of the tags.

I’ve recorded the step-by-step process of setting up Google Tag Manager along with additional details to keep in mind.

Step I: Create Your Account

Go to Google Tag Manager. Here you are given two options:

Option 1: Sign in to Tag Manager
Option 2: Start for free

If you don’t have a Google account, click on ‘Sign in to Tag Manager’ and you’ll have to create one. If you already have one, click on ‘Start for free’ and enter the details to log in to the tag manager.

After logging in, the tag manager workspace will open. The workspace records every account you’ve created on the platform. To add a new account, click on ‘Create Account’.

Add a New Account

Google Tag Manager requests you to provide specific details to add a new account. You must enter the company name, location, website URL, and where to use the tags (Web, iOS, Android, and AMP). Submit the information by clicking on ‘Create’.

There’s a checkbox just above ‘Container Setup’. Checking it will enable benchmarking by sharing your data in an anonymous form. Google will remove all identifiable information about your website, combine the data with hundreds of other anonymous sites, and report aggregate trends in the benchmarking service.

If you don’t wish to share that data, you can leave the field un-checked.

Clicking on “Create” will trigger open the Terms & Conditions. Select ‘Yes’ and you’ll be directed to the Tag Manager Workspace where you are provided with the two codes that you must copy and paste in every page of your website.

Code 1: Place this code as close to the <head> tag as possible.

Code 2: Place this code immediately after the opening <body> tag.

Step 2: Create A Tag

After setting up your Google Tag Manager account and implementing the code on your website, let’s start creating tags by clicking on ‘Add a new tag’.

First, you need to enter the title of the tag as you deem necessary. Once you enter the title, then tag configuration and triggering options will be available.

Tag Configuration

There are more than 50 types of tag configurations. You can select the tag type as per your requirements.

Every tag type you select needs to be configured separately. You must provide information like Track Type (Page View, Event, Transaction, Social, Timing, Decorate Link, and Decorate Form), Google Analytics Settings (where you have to enter a variable), followed by a checkbox and advanced settings.

IMPORTANT. We will discuss Variables later in the same post. Also, for every configuration option, tooltips are provided.

Tag Triggering

After configuring the tag, you have to specify when you want the tag to collect insights. In this case, I’ll select ‘All Pages’ so that I’ll receive data whenever visitors view my web pages.

After entering every detail click on ‘Save’.


To save your progress, click on “Submit”.

Once you do that, this window will appear:

Here you must provide “Submission Configuration” – do you wish to publish and create a version or just create a version? Based on your requirements, you can select the relevant option.

Apart from that, you can provide a version name and descriptions for convenient understanding.

You can check the “Versions” in the version section:

Step III: Preview

You can check whether the code has been implemented correctly along with the tags by clicking on “Preview”.

Now, visit the website on which you have embedded the GTM code. A tiny window will popup in the footer of your website. Like this:

Here you can check the number of Tags Fired.

If this window does not appear, then you must re-check the implementation of the code.

Note: Access your website after clicking on the preview. Otherwise, you will have to refresh the page to check the tags being fired.

Step IV: Edit A Tag

To edit a tag, go to “Tags” in the left-side menu and choose the tag that you wish to edit.

This triggers a window, where you can edit the tag configuration and trigger.

Remember to click on “Save” to confirm your edit/update.

How to Create A Variable?

A variable is a named placeholder for a value that will change, such as a product name, a price value, or a date. Google Tag Manager allows you to create a variable conveniently.

Click on “Variables” in the left-side menu of your workspace.

The variables are divided into two sections:

Section 1: Built-in Variables

Built-in variables are available for many of the most commonly used tag and trigger configurations. Once enabled, they can be used just like user-defined variables. These are predefined and non-customizable.

Note: Event Parameter variables will only contain a value when used in a tag triggered by the parameter’s corresponding event.

You can click on “Configure” to configure “Built-in Variables” and use them as user-defined variables.

Section 2: User-defined Variables

User-defined variables are created by the user and can be customized.

To create a user-defined variable, click on “New”.

Enter the name of your variable, then choose a variable type.

You can edit the variable by clicking on the variables under “User-defined variables”.

How to Link Google Tag Manager with Google Analytics?

Embedding Google tags will improve the precision of the data recorded in your Google Analytics reports.

However, you must keep in mind that you only keep your Google Tag Manager code embedded in your website and remove the Google Analytics code from the pages. If both the codes are present, then it can mismanage your reports because everything will get recorded twice.

Apart from this, to increase the precision of your data, you can create a “constant” variable for your GA tracking ID, so you won’t have to worry about it every time you create a new tag.


Google Tag Manager makes managing your tags easier and allows you to monitor the performance of your website with precision and utmost accuracy. GTM can uncover data that can help you grow your business and create persuasive business proposals as well.

Apart from all the knowledge this article has allowed you to gain, let me leave you with another way to use GTM to its full potential. Install the official Google Tag Assistant extension to manage your tags with ease and in real-time.

Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments below.

Sahil Kakkar is the CEO and Founder of Rankwatch – a platform, which helps companies and brands stay ahead with their SEO efforts in the ever growing internet landscape. Sahil likes making creative products that can help in automation of mundane tasks and he can spend endless nights implementing new technologies and ideas. You can connect with him and the Rankwatch team on Facebook or Twitter.

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