Lauren Bates

Often, analytics can be overwhelming. But with Google Tag Manager (or GTM) it doesn’t have to be. We tapped our resident analytics brainiac, Lauren, to share how to make the most out of GTM. Thankfully, not daunting.


Hello, and welcome to the first edition of the Blue Moon Digital Brainiacs. My name is Lauren Owen and I’m the resident analytics guru at Blue Moon Digital.

Today I’m going to be teaching you a little bit about Google Tag Manager also known as GTM.

In a nutshell, GTM is a free tag management solution that allows you to easily place and monitor pixels. So easy in fact, that it’s actually kind of painful to think about what life was like before GTM.

Google Tag Manager, or GTM for short, allows you to easily manage and deploy multiple tags to a website from a single location.

Tags, sometimes referred to as a pixel or beacon, are the means by which data is collected on a website. A tag is necessary for each vendor that needs to collect website data such as your analytics platform and other digital marketing services.

Add and update tags for conversion tracking, site analytics, remarketing, and more—with just a few clicks; no more waiting weeks (or months) for website code updates. Track onsite events with no script modifications. You can add and update: AdWords, Google Analytics, Floodlight, and Non-Google tags. All managed from the GTM user interface.

Easy-to-use error checking and speedy tag loading mean you’ll always know that every tag works, so you can rely on collecting the right data at the right time.

Here’s how it works. First, you’ll need to create a Google Tag Manager account, so you can collect the Google container code. The container code must be placed on every page of your site or app if applicable.

I like to picture the GTM container like a little box that’s actually a ninja. Let me explain why. Basically, the container code sits on the page and it’s watching. It’s watching for every element that loads on the page also known as DOM elements and it’s looking for what is in the data layer. It’s also listening. It’s listening for clicks and form submissions so with our little ninja in place it’s looking for targets on the page, and when it finds one Bam, it kicks off the right code to the right third party vendor.

Of course like any agent looking for a target, we need to make sure the site code makes it possible for the ninja to distinguish its target from the other innocent bystander code. So, we verify if element labeling is present on site and make any appropriate recommendations as needed.

Keep in touch with the IT team

We also provide the client‘s IT team with the information necessary to install in the data layer. The data layer is a valuable tool for passing through information that’s not necessarily on the page itself, but you want to make available for your third party vendor tags. A great example of this would be a user’s email subscription status. When a user come to the site, if they are already signed up for email; and that is available in the data layer, any of the tags can utilize that information.

In this case, a great example would be sending that to your display vendor so they can show different creative to those users who have signed up versus those who have not. So once the container is in place, the DOM elements all checked out, and Data Layer  in place we do a validation run through to make sure our little ninja is set and ready to succeed and taking names and kicking out tags.