Google Tag Manager: Making Analytics Obsolete or Is It?

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It goes without saying that an aspiring business needs to own a website – without it, it’s like you don’t exist. However, that’s not enough – for you to be taken as a serious business, your website needs to be in accordance with the current trends. If you fail to fashion your website in such a manner, your business (and your website as well) will be perceived as outdated, and that’s one certain way for you to drive your potential clients or customer to consider your competition.

But, that’s not the only thing you should have in mind when it comes to your leads – far from it. In order to get to them, you need to keep a close eye on their behavior patterns during the time they spend on your website. That’s the only way to study them, adjust your online store to their wants and needs, and thus build a circle of loyal customer that just keeps spreading.

However, for you to be able to investigate the behavior of the visitors on your website, you need powerful instruments. Fortunately, you don’t have to go further from Google – this platform will provide you with every tool you’re in need of. But before you get into the little finesses, you need to learn about the instruments you have at your disposal, and know the difference between Google Tag Manager (GTM) and Google Analytics (GA).

The Difference Between GTM and GA

Lately, there’s been a lot of talk on the subject of whether Google Tag Manager is making Google Analytics obsolete, and naturally, everyone who has interest in developing their website and increasing its functionality has been dwelling on whether or not they should use one or both of these tools. For you to be able to draw that conclusion by yourself=, you need to understand the difference between them.

Let’s start with Google Analytics. With GA, you can learn a lot about the visitors on your website:

  • You can learn about their location.
  • GA will show you how many pages of your website a visitor has checked out in one turn.
  • You’ll be able to find out which pages are perceived as most popular.
  • You can also see the number of visitors who left your website without performing any kind of action.

And this isn’t all – these are just the most popular instruments GA has to offer. So, Analytics can help you learn a lot about your visitors and the functionality of your website. With the data you gather, you’ll realize what kind of improvements should be made on your pages, and where the interests of your audience lie. Naturally, doing this will increase the number of sales.

However, for you to be able to use GA, you first need to implement a GA Tracking Code or a GA Javascript Tracking Code snippet to each of the pages you want to keep track of. This is also referred to as “marketing tag”. After it’s implemented, your marketing tag will be activated every time there’s some kind of interaction on your website. So, you’ll be able to track views, rates, the time intervals each of your visitors spends on your pages, etc.

On the other hand, if you want to gather information that’s more precise – keeping a close eye on your sales for example – you will need to start a different process. For starters, you will need to get in touch with your developer and ask them to add custom tags to your pages. By doing so, you’ll also receive data about specific purchases.

However, a problem appears if your website is extensive – meaning your developer will need to spend quite some time adding separate tags to each button you want to keep track of. Furthermore, what happens when you want to make adjustments to your website? In that case, your developer will need to conduct additional coding, for any and all adjustments you find necessary (and tags as well). That’s exactly what makes GA impractical.

It’s a common misconception that Google Tag Manager is a replacement to GA – it’s only an extension, and you’ll be happy to know it’s free. What makes GTM so popular is its simplicity – you’ll have a lot less trouble implementing GTM than GA tags.

So the problem with GA tags is coding – they are hard-coded which makes them high-maintenance. Whenever you want to make an update to your website or your tags, you need to consult your developer. With GTM, you can implement:

  • Google Analytics Tracking Code,
  • Google Analytics Events,
  • Remarketing Tags,
  • Adwords, etc.

to your website, which are all features which will discuss later on. What you need to understand at this point is that all of the tools that GTM provides are located in one place – your GTM account. So, unlike GA tags which are scattered all over your website, GTM tags come from one source.

Another thing that makes GTM interesting for businesses is that they offer testing services as well. So, once you implement a tag on a purchase button for example, you can make sure that it works by testing it.

Furthermore, you should know that, in order to change GTM tags, it’s not necessary to call your developer and then wait until they accomplish their tasks. Time is of the essence, no matter the business niche you’re in, which is something the GTM team understands. For you to change your GTM tags, you only need to manage them from your account.

Now you understand what makes GTM a preferred tool when it comes to tags. In that sense of the word, GTM does make GA obsolete. However, Analytics provides tools that have a different use. This implies that both of these tools can be useful – the choice here is entirely up to you.

How to Set Up GTM

The steps necessary to set up Google Tag Manager are quite simple. First of all, you need to build an account. The second step is creating your container – most businesses use a container per website. So, you should visit a card called Web Pages, click on the “Create a Container” button, add your domain name, and name it (after your website, for example, so there’s no confusion if you’re juggling several of them).

Once you go through these steps, a window with a code will popup. This is a code that you should copy to the template of your website so that all pages receive the same update at once. This is something your developer can help you with, but it’s a simple process really; two codes will appear – one should be copied to the “head” of your page, and another one to the “body.”

You Can Keep Track of Email Signups

Another reason why GTM is taking over the business world is because it provides options to keep track of email signups. The following course of action should involve adding Google Analytics to your account, and setting up Tracking Code and Events.

  • Setting Up GA Tracking Code

Once you get to your Workspace, you’ll be able to clearly see the “Add a New Tag” button. After adding each new tag, GTM will ask from you to name it – make sure to keep it simple to avoid unnecessary confusion. So, after adding it, you’ll see a list of different tools within Tag Configuration:

  1. Universal Analytics
  2. Classic Google Analytics
  3. AdWords Conversion Tracking
  4. AdWords Remarketing
  5. DoubleClick Floodlight Counter
  6. DoubleClick Floodlight Sales
  7. Google Optimize
  8. Google Surveys Website Satisfaction

First, you should set your Track Type as Pageview, if it’s not already like that by default. In your Property page, you’ll be able to find your unique ID – that needs to be copied into the Tracking ID. The only thing left for you to decide is on how many pages you want the tag to be active – and that’s it.

  • Setting Up GA Events

This is a tool that will keep you notified whenever a visitor on your website submits a form. First of all, you will need to open your Tag Manager window and open up the Variables tab. After you click the Configure button, you should check the Form ID box.

In order to get to Events, you will need to visit Tags and click the Universal Analytics button. Afterwards, you’ll need to name this process and I suggest something as simple as “Email Signups.” Then, it will be required from you to copy your Tracking ID to the “Email Signups” box. After this, you’ll be able to reach the Events tab.

Although there are four features within the Events tab – Label, Category, Value, and Action – you will need just the two in this case; Category and Action. After you fill in these two boxes and name them “Email” and “Sign Ups” for example, you need to add a Trigger as well.

In the Trigger section, you will be given the following options – if you look at the “Other” category, you will be able to see the “Form Submission” option, which is what you need to click.

For this process to be successful, you’ll need to give precise instructions to your tag – we’ll start with checking two boxes which are both visible in the Trigger section:

  • Wait for Tags,
  • and Check Validation.

By doing so, you’ll ensure the process of receiving accurate data. Now you need to take a glance on the HTML on your pages that contain form submissions and find the ID. This is another thing for which you might want to consult your developer, at least this one time, so you know exactly what you’re looking for.

Then, you just need to copy that ID code to your Trigger tab. After you complete this action, you will receive notifications every time a visitor signs up to your website.

GTM Updates You Should Know about

We went through a simple process that enables you to keep track of visitors who use their email addresses on your website. By doing so, you’ll have a clear overview of visitors who are truly interested into your offer, and you’ll be able to collect addresses in order to keep them informed about updates within your business.

However, you should also be familiar with Google Tag Management updates that occurred in 2017. They offer a range of interesting options your business can significantly benefit from.

  • Scroll Tracking

Infinite scrolls are a huge trend that influenced not only creation of websites but social platforms as well. However, unlike social platforms on which any activity is quite obvious, it was impossible for website owners to keep track of how their visitors behave while scrolling – up until now.

With GTM, you can clearly see the scrolling process on your website and establish a pattern. Each break they make while going through your website will be visible, and you’ll be able to determine which parts of your websites are the most popular on your infinite scroll page, which is most commonly a landing page.

  • Visibility Listener

Similar to Scroll Tracking, Visibility Listener helps you see not only how your visitors are behaving on your website, but on other pages. For example, you’ll be able to see the timeline of events one of your customers went through to make a purchase.

Furthermore, you’ll also be able to spot possible glitches or mistakes as they occur. So, if there’s a problem, GTM will notify you about it and you’ll be able to correct it promptly.

  • YouTube Trigger

Videos are an essential part of any website=. The diversity of content is quite relevant for website owners; if you want to keep your visitors on engaged as long as possible, you need to entertain them and inform them at the same time.

Videos are on the rise constantly – this type of content is going towards becoming the most popular, which is why you should implement it to your website. However, you also need to be able to keep track of how visitors respond to it.

With YouTube Trigger, you’ll be able to see for how long a visitor watched your video, and at what point they paused it or stopped it. With this information, you’ll know which improvements are in order for you to create videos your audience will find entertaining.

GA Updates You Should Know about

As we mentioned above, both GTM and GA are necessary tools in a business website owner’s arsenal; by using both of them, you’ll be able to keep track of the behavior of your audience, and thus understand what they need and want. Therefore, you should know a thing or two about Google Analytics updates as well.

  • GA Intelligence

This is an interesting Analytics feature; Google invites its users to ask their team about their professional opinion when it comes to the plans they make and their envelopments. Via Google Analytics Intelligence, your account will receive information about the negative and positive sides of your plan. This kind of insight coming from team Google can help you greatly with strategy development in different fields.

  • Salesforce Integration

Furthermore, if you have any questions regarding your transactions, sales, or advertising, you should check out Salesforce Integration. This is a tool that provides data that’s gathered from different sources, that you can and should take advantage of.

  • Custom Tasks

We talked about how simple it is to use tags in GTM. However, communicating with tracker objects is complicated – unless you turn to Custom Tasks. This is just another example of how GA and GTA function best when united.


Based on everything we talked about, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager complete each other. You should use GA to track the basic behavior of your website visitors, and as a highly valuable source of information because it contains data gathered from multiple resources.

For precise tracking of the behavior of your visitors with the purpose of getting to know your target audience and learning about their response to your website content, you should turn to GTM. Naturally, it will take a short amount of time for you to learn about all its features, but each of them is quite useful, as we showed above.

Therefore, you should treat GA as if it were your headquarters, and your GTM as if it were your field team – both of them are quite necessary to your business to run smoothly.

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