I’ve been digging through Google’s newly released tool, Tag Manager – there’s plenty of documentation online already, so there’s no need for me to repeat that. There are comprehensive posts on the topics of:
- All about Tag Manager
- Getting Started with Tag Manager
- Implementing Google Analytics with Tag Manager
- Previewing and Publishing tags
It strikes me as an interesting move from Google, given that a number of providers offer mature competitor tag management products already. Google providing a tag management offering is good for the industry and certainly validates the tag management space as a whole.
So why is Google’s new Tag Manager good news for agencies?
From the agency seat, this is great news; it obviously depends on a few factors around site size, stakeholder involvement, current tag use and requirements and development resource. There are scenarios where there is obvious value for digital agencies, especially those working on sites they haven’t developed and built.
- Because it is Google owned and integrates with Analytics, it’s an easier sell in – Tag Manager can be relatively simply rolled in with a Google Analytics deployment.
- It’s free to use, so there’s no need for third party involvement (We aren’t comparing features here with paid tools, rather comparing the use of Tag Manager against not using it. other tagging tools offer various additional abilities and integration options). As an agency, we’ll often use affiliate tags, tracking tags and survey code on site, with Tag Manager, we can be the central point of contact to implement them rather than rely on a third party or even an internal development team’s schedule.
- Development time need not be such a consideration when looking at implementing new technologies and tools on site. Tag Manager makes the process much more straightforward when there is a resourcing or communication issue or a block with development team or agency.
- Workflow tools and the inbuilt testing functionality are very powerful. This reduces the likelihood of errors and allows new tags to be deployed immediately. For many, the ability to test tags out in a safe environment is a much more time-efficient method of working – a single mistake in a code snippet could involve the change being re-added to a development update cycle, which can be extremely time consuming. Once installed, the system allows future tracking updates to be quick and seamless.
- Google are touting one additional benefit; Tag Manager fires your tags asynchronously, so pages often load more quickly than they would if you were using individual tags – We have yet to run a comparison, but with an increasing number of tracking technologies in place on site, this is appealing, especially given Google’s recent emphasis on site speed. For agencies that also work on SEO, this is a clear benefit.
Tag Manager raises some important considerations; executable code is no longer solely owned by the development agency, which could be uncomfortable for some. Deployment might be quite involved if there is a complex Google Analytics installation with a lot of customisation; rules for each adjustment will need to be constructed carefully.
For those smaller sites that just use Google Analytics and no other tagging on site, there may not be any real-world benefit. As a result, there are instances where the Tag Manager won’t add additional value, but for those with sites managing multiple tags on site Google’s offering is an ideal way to administer them centrally, and an ideal way to get started with tag management tools.