What Are The Benefits (And Risks) Of Using Google Tag Manager?

Ever heard of Google Tag Manager? It’s time to have a conversation about the benefits that converts are getting from Google Tag Manager and the risks that put some users off.
  • Google Tag Manager is a free tool that allows users, typically marketers, to update website tags easily.
  • Your site still needs to be set up in a way that is compatible with Tag Manager’s functionality.
  • Tag Manager shouldn’t change any front end visuals on your site, if it does then there may be a problem.

Ever heard of Google Tag Manager? Perhaps your marketing agency has mentioned it or someone in your marketing team has been reading about it on SEO sites. Its an increasingly popular topic in marketing, so should you be using it and if so, why?

At Brighton SEO in September 2016, a bi-annual conference for SEO practitioners and those interested in learning more, a number of attendees confirmed they were using Google Tag Manager. But many more said they weren’t.

This got us thinking: It’s time to have a conversation about the benefits that converts are getting from Google Tag Manager and the risks that put some users off.

What is Google Tag Manager?

Tag Manager Dashboard

Google Tag Manager is a free tool that allows users, typically marketers, to update website tags easily. Tags are placed on elements of your website that are triggered by a specific action. If you are using Google Analytics, you’ll already be seeing some triggered tags collated in the data you see there. Clicks, movement through your website and conversions are all tracked in Google Analytics through tags.

However, Google Analytics only covers a certain set of tags by default. Google Tag Manager was brought in to allow you to edit which tags are fired, create new ones and begin to track your data in a way tailored to you and your business.

It is possible to track custom tags without Google’s Tag Manager but this requires a lot of manual change to the code, typically implemented by a developer.

Benefit: Tag Manager can save you time and money

Why some are looking to use Google Tag Manager, and why it’s become such a talking point, is that it allows you to control numerous tags and backend functions without relying on specialist developer who would normally have to implement tags. .

Because of this, it can save you a lot of time and money.

Risk: Your site might not be Tag Manager ready

So, Google Tag Manager can let you do more and save. Is there a catch? Well, your site still needs to be set up in a way that is compatible with Tag Manager’s functionality.

Not all sites are; meaning you will need an SEO technician or developer initially to help figure out if your site is compatible.

Many of Google Tag Manager’s tags fire on classes or names. In order for tags to fire on certain elements, and become recorded data, they need to be able to identify specifically what you want to track.

For example, if you want to track the click on a button of your website, then the button needs to have a specific name in the code that distinguishes it from other buttons on the site. If all the buttons on your website have the code or class name “find out more”, you won’t be able to use Tag Manager until that changes. Why? Because every button called “find out more” will trigger and be added together, so you won’t know specifically which button on which page was clicked.

Benefit: Google Tag Manager can track more than Google Analytics

If you can implement Tag Manager, then you can use your tags to track numerous pieces of data not normally available in Google Analytics.

Some examples are:

  • Outbound traffic
  • Button clicks
  • Custom variables:
  • Transaction IDs
  • Certain product prices or price ranges
  • Embedded YouTube videos:
  • Who clicked
  • When it was paused
  • Right clicks (as opposed the assumed left click)

Risk: Will Tag Manager break or get hacked?

As with any new tool or plugin, there are certain risks with Tag Manager. But, if you work carefully and smartly, testing as you use the tool, your site shouldn’t have any issues. Having a backup of your site and running checks on Google Tag Manager should help you avoid any permanent site damage.

Tag Manager shouldn’t change any front end visuals on your site, if it does then there may be a problem

Regarding hacks, Google Tag Manager runs the same risks as any other password protected tool. Some have expressed concern that installing Tag Manager could make your site more vulnerable to hacking. However, you can rest assured that installing Tag Manager doesn’t not put your site at more risk.

For any Google user looking to update or increase their protection, two factor identification can be added to your Gmail login, making it much more difficult to break into.

In the end, Tag Manager can be really beneficial if you want to track new data on your site and have the resources to invest in setting it up. If not, then it might not be the time for Tag Manager for your site yet.