Marketers are faced with an ever-increasing collection of code snippets required to conduct effective marketing campaigns. There are the basics like Google Analytics. If you run CPA campaigns you need a conversion pixel. For retargeting you need code from one or more services. And those are just the ones off the top of my head.
All this code can bog down your site. You can end up with redundancy. The wrong code will fire at the wrong time. And many of us end up writing custom rules to manage which code shows when. If you work inside a larger organization, you are also at the mercy of the IT team for implementation.
Google wants to simplify all that management with their new Google Tag Manager. Instead of adding a new bit of code to the site each time you want to test out a new marketing tool, you add the Google Tag Manager code once.
The Google Tag Manager web interface allows you to add the code (or tags as Google calls them) to your account. You create rules around when each bit of code is used.
Some of the best features of Google Tag Manager are:
Asynchronous loading – Many of the tags used for marketing slow down page load speed. Google Tag Manager enforces asynchronous loading, which means pages will load faster, which often helps boost conversions.
Configurable rules – While it’s possible to come up with your own rules programmatically, that can be cumbersome, particularly if you want to iterate testing quickly. Google Tag Manager allows you to set rules for when tags fire. For instance, you could set a different retargeting campaign for people who arrive via search vs. those that arrive from an article written about your company. You can also change rules on the fly when you want to test something new.
Multi-account support – By implementing Google Tag Manager, you can define who gets access to which aspects of your marketing code. It also means you won’t need to give outside agencies access to your web server. You can simply set up Google Tag Manager and provide the appropriate permissions to any third party you work with.
Testing and preview – Google Tag Manager supports previewing tags before taking them live, so you won’t risk breaking your site when you implement new marketing features. If you have an IT team, this one feature should be a big selling point for making the switch.
Works with any code – Google hasn’t restricted their tag manager to Google products. Obviously, DoubleClick, Google Analytics, and AdWords are fully integrated, but you can add any HTML or image tag you want to use in a marketing campaign.
The big question is, what are the downsides here? So far I’m not seeing any. Faster loading code is a win. Easy configuration of rules adds flexibility many marketers have to implement through custom implementations. Multi-account support is ideal. What am I missing? Why wouldn’t you implement Google Tag Manager?