Google Tag Manager Helps You Sort Out Code Overload

google-tag-managerGoogle Analytics. AdWords Conversions. DoubleClick Floodlight Counters. A/B Testing. Custom Image Tags. Remarketing.

We add a lot of code to our websites to track visitors and improve the experience we provide our customers. Sometimes all those tags get quite overwhelming. On top of it all, Google tells us the speed in which our page loads is quite important, so we shouldn’t add lots of extraneous JavaScript code to our pages. What’s a webmaster to do?

Enter Google Tag Manager, a free new tool from Google that helps you organize all your tags into one slick piece of JavaScript code.

Google Tag Manager allows you to enter all your tags in one location. You define on which page or pages a particular tag should appear and the magic of Google does the rest. This is particularly useful if you manage more than one site that each use multiple tags.

How Does Google Tag Manager Work?

You need to create a new Tag Manager account to use it. Despite needing a new account, you still will need all your other Google accounts like Analytics, AdWords, and the like.

Just like you always have, you still create your tags in each of those Google products. Instead of pasting the generated code directly into your website, you will instead paste it into a Tag Manager container and add rules for how the tag is to be used on your site. The only tag code you need to copy to your site is the code that requests all the tags from Google Tag Manager.

When a visitor comes to your site, the Tag Manager code contacts Google’s servers and downloads the Tag Manager script, a file named gtm.js. No other requests are made.

According to Google, the gtm.js file has a cache time of 15 minutes. So once the initial request is made for the gtm.js file, no additional requests will be made.

The Tag Manager code is requested asynchronously, which means it will load while other elements of your page continue to load with no waiting. Once the GTM script has been downloaded, it will render and fire off all the pixels and code needed to track the services you set up.

Tag Manager loads and executes only the tags you set up, based on the rules you defined. Overall, one asynchronous call to Google Tag Manager should be an improvement over several calls to services.

What About Security?

Google Tag Manager includes many features to make data control secure right out of the box. Google included user permissions, a preview mode and debugging console and even keeps a history of revisions. All of these features can be enabled by user and by site – referred to as containers. At no time do you enter account or password information for other services into Tag Manager.

The short video illustrates rather well how it all comes together. Watch it. Then let us know in the comments if you’ll be jumping to this interesting new tool from Google.

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