Dealers’ Google Tag Manager 101
It’s 2022. Thus, by 2023, browsers will have more third-party cookies disabled than Will Smith at an Oscars party. You’ll also see that Google Analytics is no longer collecting data from your website as of July 1, 2023. Finding a method to consistently and accurately collect the data from your website is more crucial than ever because you have fewer Google data resources available to you.
Through code placed on your website, ad platforms (like Meta and Google) can collect data from your website. But this poses a problem: Troubleshooting installation, faulty code, website errors, lost leads, lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! All this while communicating constantly with your web team.
When it comes to efficiently running advertisements, dealerships are in a tough spot as a result of these fundamental changes to the digital world. Therefore, how can dealers avoid these very real and present risks? Simple and free are the answers. Google Tag Manager is in use.
In this article, I’ll explain how Google Tag Manager (GTM) functions and why it’s so important for running your advertising successfully in 2023.
The Importance of GTM for Your Online Marketing
Website analytics tracking with GA4
Google Analytics is currently the most popular method used by dealers to monitor website data. But in 2023, Google Analytics will phase out the version we are all familiar with in favor of GA4. GA4 is entirely an event-based system. That indicates that Google Analytics will stop collecting data and analytics from your website as of July 1, 2023. Setting up “event” tags on your website is the only way to continue to collect the reporting metrics you require from GA4. But every event tag is different. You would require hundreds of lines of correctly formatted code on your website to track all the different occurrences, such as clicks on search buttons, lead form submissions, and page views. (source) Due to the delicate nature of where code can be deployed on your website, this requires extremely close technical coordination with your web team and is also risky. Event tracking was meant to be simple and easy with Google Tag Manager. The GA4 “Tag” interacts easily with GA4, allowing you to tag “triggers” that identify events on your website, and “variables” that identify dynamic information on your website (such as year, make, and model data) with each tag. (source)
There is a Google Tag Manager setup that is automatic on all significant advertising platforms. Microsoft can mirror your present Google Ads setup, Facebook and TikTok provide direct partner interaction with GTM, and Snapchat even has its own template for setting up within GGTMr. You can accurately implement tags within the GTM using these easily accessible methods without ever having to deal with any code yourself. For simple tracking of conversion events from your website into Google Ads, Google Tag Manager includes a predefined tag option for Google Ads. All of these services also give you the choice of having unique tags for each event placed on your website. Similar to GA4, you would need to install a little piece of code for each and every platform and event. As an alternative, you can just install one Google Tag Manager on your website and forego the individual installation approach. (source)
improved site speed
Finally, having a lot of code from many ad platforms on your website slows things down. The fewer visitors wait for your site to load, the more visitors leave, and the more leads you lose, the slower it loads. The page loads quicker when tags are added collectively through Google Tag Manager rather than separately. The user experience is better, more visitors remain, and you get more leads when the page loads more quickly. (source)
With the release of GA4, GTM will essentially be required for Google Analytics.
In GTM, tracking ads is simple to do.
By using GTM, you can avoid conflict and issues with the web team.
Faster websites generate more leads.
How to Use Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager (GTM) is essentially a universal plug. Data from your website feeds into GTM, where it is subsequently distributed to the websites you specify via GTM’s tags. It is simple to install code (tags) using the GTM without changing the website itself because it is a single, centralized location.
The GTM can access your website’s data because it has been set up there. You would establish a GTM “container” on the GTM platform. A tracking code is generated when the container is created, and the code is subsequently deployed on your website. Possibly the final tracking code that has to be put on your website is this one.
Everything added to the Google Tag Manager platform can now populate your site after Google Tag Manager has been deployed on it. The “pixel” (event code) of advertising platforms can now be placed without ever contacting your web team, and your website’s data can now automatically populate into Google Analytics. Now, third-party ad suppliers won’t need to consult you, your web team, your marketing team, or your third cousin’s niece (just in case we need the go-ahead! ), in order to put the tracking code they require on your website.
You now comprehend the basic principles involved. What exactly are the parts of Google Tag Manager that enable it to function, though?
The tags are located at the top level. Tags frequently serve as integrations with other websites. They might possibly be codes, though. For a complete list of the predefined tags that GTM provides, click here.
Triggers are what tell Tags when and where to shoot. Thus, the actual action you’re intending to execute is what triggers are. They could be views of the VDP page, clicks on “buy now” buttons, or thank-you sites. Triggers are configured as directed actions. You can set the trigger to fire on pages with VINs and not fire on pages without VINs, for instance, if you don’t want that VDP to happen on the home page.
Variables make up the GTM’s final components. On your website, variables represent dynamic information. Page views, URLs, and other elements that are incorporated into every website may all be tracked using Google Tag Manager’s built-in variables. Data layer variables are typically the variables that dealerships use the most. These variables are based on a data layer, which is essentially a table that is built into your website and provides event names and definitions so that they can be fetched automatically. In certain cases, categorizing information is simpler to record than the actual data. For instance, you might manually enter “2021 Ford EcoSport” or “2013 Chevrolet Camaro” on each trigger if you wanted to record the Year, Make, and Model information for each VDP, or you could use Data Layer Variables to simply state “Year, Make, and Model data.” Fortunately, this data layer is typically created by your website provider.
All significant ad and website monitoring companies demand that code be added to your website in order to feed that data into your advertisements, allowing you to track website data and optimize your ads. The potential for user mistakes increases if each platform, event, and action requires manual coding. As a result, your website will load slowly, users will have a poorer experience, and there will be a lag between the website and the web host. Even if they lack coding skills, using Google Tag Manager makes it simpler for you to take ownership personally or assign ownership to your team or a vendor.
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