Flexible solution for more complex website tracking
Ben Rubenstein profile photo
May 18, 2018

Flexible solution for more complex website tracking

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Google Tag Manager

We use Google Tag Manager within our business unit to streamline our analytics implementation across multiple websites and environments (staging and production) and to track conversions and user engagement. We were previously using standard Google Analytics to do this tracking but were looking for Tag Manager to be able to more easily make adjustments without having to access/customize site code. GTM is being used by at least one other business unit in our organization, but we have separate implementations.
  • Flexibility. We can create one analytics tag that can apply to multiple sites with a single click. This saves a lot of time when we want to make a minor tweak that applies to, say, our marketing website and our application site.
  • Testing. It's very simple to preview whether a tag has been implemented properly - just visit a page, and you can easily see whether the right tags are firing using the Debug tool. I use this regularly to flag potential issues.
  • Integrations. The ability to add things like Adwords and Facebook Pixel directly to sites using GTM is nice - it enables us to have a single place to store that information rather than having multiple versions of code floating around, which we might forget to update if something changes.
  • Ease of creation. The templated system for creating variables, triggers, and tags makes the setup process fairly simple (even if there is a learning curve).
  • While it's nice to be able to create one tag and apply it across multiple sites or page types, sometimes it's almost too easy to do that. I've run into some situations where we were tracking pageviews in multiple properties mistakenly because the tag was too broadly applied. This is something I'd like to be able to flag more easily. In order to get the kind of granularity we require, it can be necessary to create multiple versions of the same tag, applied to different environments, which creates the possibility for error if our naming structure is not consistent.
  • Messaging is not always clear. Occasionally we'll see a message saying that a bunch of changes has been made (for example when publishing a new version), but it's not immediately clear what those changes are. It would be nice to be able to see a detailed rundown of version changes at any given time, and what pages are affected by those changes.
  • It's enabled custom event tracking and environment-specific tracking in ways that we either weren't able to accomplish previously or would have taken a lot of development time.
  • Collaboration between marketing and development has become much smoother - we're able to test tags out on the fly and maintain multiple versions of our analytics code for different environments.
  • Our page load times have decreased significantly since we began using Google Tag Manager.
We moved to GTM from a standard Google Analytics implementation. GTM is much more flexible and easier to make changes, especially as the changes relate to multiple sites and environments. While there is a learning curve when figuring out how to use GTM, I believe the change has been worth it because it helps us understand at a more fundamental level how our tracking works and gives us a lot more control over what we track and how.
I think GTM is particularly well-suited for organizations that run multiple sites and have an interest in managing to track across and between those properties. It makes tracking across domains much simpler than the standard Google Analytics setup. It might not be worthwhile to switch to GTM if you run a single site or don't have plans to implement detailed user engagement that requires a lot of custom code.

Google Tag Manager Feature Ratings

Tag library
Tag variable mapping
Ease of writing custom tags
Rules-driven tag execution
Tag performance monitoring
Improved page load times
Mobile app tagging
Not Rated
Library of JavaScript extensions
Event tracking
Mobile event tracking
Not Rated
Data distribution management
Not Rated
Universal data layer
Not Rated
Automated error checking
Role-based user permissions