Google Tag Manager has proven to be an excellent resource in adding website tags and upping the tracking power of Google Analytics.  Our technical SEO team loves experimenting with new ways to streamline our data collection, and tag manager has evolved into our preferred testing zone.

With a little creativity, GTM has unlocked workarounds that have dramatically enhanced our ability to track critical data for our partners and relieved some of the burden on fellow web developers.  To spark some ideas on how you can better utilize Google Tag Manager, we’re diving into some of the cooler, more unconventional ways we’ve tested the tool to address client issues.

Q: GTM isn’t worth the time.  When tracking data needs to be updated, searching for and manually changing every tag is ridiculous.  Why should I invest the time?

There are more ways to streamline GTM than you may realize.  With the intuitive dashboards, you no longer have to search through theme files and extensions to make changes.  You now have a dynamic, one-stop-shop for all of your tags.

When it does come time to manage your tracking tags, marketers will find that making changes is easier than before.  So easy they can do it.  Tag manager frees marketers from being dependent on their development team. We no longer need to wait until developers find time in their busy schedules to update the tag and get it tracking.

Updates can be made at any time.

Worried about coding errors and potential time wasted on fixes?  GTM comes with tags pre- built and tested by Google. What about when you’re feeling adventurous and want to test your coding wings?  Run your new tags through GTM’s testing portal and measure their effectiveness before going live to see if you’ve struck gold.

Give GTM another shot.  We’re confident you’ll change your tune.

Q: We have multiple sub domains linked within our website.  How can we accurately track our traffic as visitors jump between these domains?

This one is relatively painless.  Within Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, you are able to seamlessly track whatever domains and subdomains you own.  This will give digital marketers a better understanding of how all related websites are connected and provide insight on how users are traveling from one site to another.

The real kicker is when you need to present your data.  Attribution reporting is the way to go. Instead of pulling reports from several different views and cobbling them together, all your data will be stored under one all-encompassing view.

Our team will even set it up so that you can get reporting views for each individual domain and subdomain as well as cross-domain tracking.

Q: Google’s new compliance barriers have decimated our data collection.  Is there a way to meet compliance standards but still collect sales data?

Compliance is no longer all or nothing.

The first step here is utilizing the new features, anonymizeIP and allowAdFeatures, that Google Analytics added to its library.  To become compliant with GDPR and PII Compliance Laws, you can programmatically configure GA to opt users in or out of GA Advertising Features within Google Tag Manager.

Knowing that allowAdFeatures can be configured to look for specific cookie values, our analytics team developed a tag that tracks and identifies the consent values being dropped by the privacy cookies deployed on the website.

Depending on the user’s selection, GTM will cause allowAdFeatures to turn on and off dynamically — keeping you compliant but still collecting that sweet, sweet data when permitted.

Q: We are seeing an increase in leads abandoning our forms.  How can we tell what fields we need to adjust to increase conversion?

You can use Event Tags in GTM to track when and where users are abandoning contact forms.  The logic is pretty simple; it looks for those users who started filling out fields on the form but didn’t quite hit submit.

Take it a step further, and Event Tags can be configured to output which fields the user did or did not complete.  This data is invaluable when tied with CRO and finding pain points in conversion forms. This information will help online marketers determine where users are dropping off on the forms and optimize these forms to prevent users from leaving from these forms.

We are also working on testing virtual page view reporting for those ecommerce sites out there using one page checkouts!  This will allow us to see where those customers are potentially dropping off within the checkout funnel.

Prior to this ability, one-page checkout funnel reporting wasn’t easy in Google Analytics.

Q: We want to keep our user experience very light.  Can we track form conversions without needing to build a separate thank you page?

Depending on how the forms are built (Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, jQuery, etc), there are several ways to track these forms without a /thank-you page.  GTM offers default Form tracking triggers and variables to help track these forms without adding additional code to the source.

However, whatever Form you track needs to be configured in a way that allows GTM to read them.  For those Forms that are not recognized by GTM, a code can be inserted with the Form to allow GTM to read that a successful form completion occurred, specifically a dataLayer.

The information that the dataLayers push out on the backend is ultimately what is read by GTM — so make sure that you format it correctly.

If you are repeatedly hitting a wall with overloaded tags, insufficient data tracking, or compliance features, we highly recommend investing a bit of time experimenting with Google Tag Manager as we have seen some incredible results with it.  We’re excited to see what capabilities you’ll unlock!