If you’re not currently measuring all the metrics that matter to your business website, especially those that are making you money or generating leads, how can you understand what is working and what isn’t? Your ability to measure and understand how people interact with your website is key to improving your online presence and generate more leads and sales. Setting up advanced tracking of button clicks, form submissions and embedded video interactions (to name a few) used to be an excessively difficult task, but Google Tag Manager has changed the game so that even small business so even small business can take advantage of the benefits without spending a tonne of money.

What Is Google Tag Manager?

Google Tag Manager is a game changer for online marketers and their clients because it provides a secure means to deploy tags of code to websites in real time based on visitor interactions remotely. In other words, marketing tags can be triggered on your website without the need to manually write the code directly on your website. All the code needed on your website for GTM to work properly is to place a small code snippet called GTM Container Code on all your web pages and the rest is set up within the Google Tag Manager interface.

Faster, Flexible Marketing Tags Without Breaking Your Website

For marketing teams with a GTM expert, a lot of time is saved on setting up advanced tracking of interactions on websites since times past when we needed to get access to the website code and embed tags everywhere. Even worse, marketers would have to provide the code to embed on the website to developers and get the changes approved and tested, taking weeks or even months to get marketing tags deployed.  All the delays to getting the right tracking implemented can add up to huge opportunity costs, especially if you have time sensitive advertising campaigns. GTM solves that problem, making the process of setting up advanced tracking of website interactions faster and more flexible by allowing the marketing team to avoid getting bogged down with website code access and possibly breaking your website.

So What Interactions Can We Measure and Why Should You Care?

Most website owners track page views using Google Analytics with maybe a goal being set on the “Thankyou” page that visitors who fill out a form are redirected to.

That’s good enough right? Unfortunately, this method can have some drawbacks:

  • If people land on the thankyou page somehow without filling in the form, it will still be recorded as a conversion or goal.
  • If you don’t block search engines from crawling the thankyou page, it can be indexed in search results bringing direct traffic to that page resulting in massive over reporting of conversions.
  • You can’t measure anything else of significance other than page views.
  • Difficult to differentiate multiple forms in reporting

With GTM, the possibilities for measuring interactions is enormous and just about anything a visitor can do on your website can be reported in real time within Google Analytics or third party website traffic reporting platforms. These interactions can also be tracked for online advertising platforms such as AdWords, Bing, Facebook and many more.

Accurately Measure Form Interactions

First things first: that contact form on your website with page views being tracked as a goal can go in the bin and get replaced with an “Event” style tracker that only reports successful form submissions. Unsuccessful form submissions that generated a missing field error and form abandonment can be detected in real time with the appropriate metrics and dimensions reported. It is also possible to capture and report the contents of specific form fields when the form is submitted. Google’s terms and conditions make it clear that personally identifiable information should not be captured and reported using GTM and doing so would also create a big legal liability so it is important to avoid doing this. Field capture of non-personally identifiable information can be very helpful to marketing though, for example capturing and reporting the suburb of the form filler so that you can see the numbers of people who completed the form in different areas. The field content of radio buttons and drop down lists can also be captured and reported as dimensions using GTM.

Here is a short summary of form tracking options:

  • Successful form submission
  • Track multiple forms separately
  • Unsuccessful form submissions (error messages)
  • Skipped vs completed fields
  • Form abandonment
  • Capture and report specific field content

Clicks, Clicks & More Clicks!

If someone can click it, we can measure it! It is always useful to track those prominent call-to-action buttons with the “CLICK HERE” or “CONTACT US” message prompting the visitor to take the next step. Once you are tracking and collecting data on how many people are clicking that money button, making changes and testing for better results is made possible. Knowing something as simple as how many people clicked on a button or other web element can be powerful stuff, which many of your competitors are not even thinking about. Call-to-Action buttons are one of the top elements of a web page to experiment with to gain higher conversion rates using split-testing, but the first step is being able to collect and report the actionable data needed to test the response.

Tracking clicks without GTM is a nightmare without GTM, where we would basically have to add code to every element and link we want to track on the website manually. With GTM a click “listener” script is run and we can set up triggers for specific types of clicks and report them as Goals or Events in Google Analytics.

Here are some common click types tracked as Goals:

  • File Downloads
  • Email Links
  • Telephone Links
  • Add to Cart Buttons
  • Instant Chat Box Opening

Here are some common click types tracked as Events:

  • Call-to-Action buttons
  • Video Plays/Pause/Play to End
  • Podcast Plays/Pause/Play to End
  • External Links
  • Internal Links
  • Social share buttons
  • Menu links
  • Image gallery controls and image enlargement

There really is no limit to how these can be labelled for reporting. It really comes down to identifying the clicks that are important and categorising them in a way that makes sense from a business point of view.

GA Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking

If you have an ecommerce website that sells directly to the public, GTM can make it easy to integrate Google Analytics’ Enhanced Ecommerce tracking with many website platforms. The easiest that this writer has found for integration is WordPress with Woocommerce. If your website ecommerce platform has a Google Tag Manager plugin that automatically integrates GTM with your ecommerce, then there shouldn’t be any problems. If not, it will take hours and hours of web developer time adding Google Analytics code to all the ecommerce pages.

If you are fortunate enough to get Google Analytics Enhanced Ecommerce tracking enabled on your website, you and your marketing team will be able to collect a wealth of useful interaction metrics on your product, shopping cart and checkout pages. This data is extremely useful to the marketing team for understanding customer behaviour on an ecommerce website, including cart abandonment rates, identifying any problems with the checkout process and improving the customer experience.

Hover Events, Timing, Scroll Tracking & Anything Else

But that’s not all! Like I said, if you can do it on a website, it can be tracked and reported using GTM. You can track mouse hovers over specific web elements, or even generate heat maps to show areas where the mouse pointer gravitates to most. Blog pages can have timer events record a Goal or Event when the user has spent a certain amount of time on a page. This type of event/goal would indicate a certain level of engagement with an article for example. With GTM, we can even track and report how far a visitor has scrolled down a page, reporting the percentage of total scroll took place per web session.

With a GTM expert on board, all this and more is possible!

Will It Slow Down My Website?

Not to any significant degree no. The GTM container code is asynchronous javascript, meaning that it doesn’t take up much resources to execute the code which is executed remotely by Google. It will also wait until the page is loaded by the user before firing tags.

Where Are All the Google Tag Manager Experts?

As ground breaking, time and money saving as Google Tag Manager is, it may be surprising to note that far less than a majority of marketing agencies, let alone websites, are taking advantage of this technology. They are missing out on marketing opportunities by not having the most important data at their fingertips; visitor interaction data. There is a huge whole in their knowledge of how people actually use their website and in many cases, not even knowing how effective their advertising is. A major reason the advertising industry moved to the Internet was because on the Internet the value of advertising can be empirically measured. While the adoption of GTM is rapidly growing, the gap in knowledge of how to take advantage of its potential is not closing fast enough for many businesses who demand deeper insights into marketing campaign performance.

Discuss Your Website Interaction Tracking Requirements with Business Assist

Business Assist has been adopted GTM and began provisioning advanced tracking methods for our marketing clients for more than two years now. This has helped many businesses to measure the kinds of metrics that were previously prohibitive in cost to implement. If you have either basic tracking or no tracking for your website, talk to a Business Assist representative on (03) 9005 2233 to discuss your requirements.

David Lopez

Author David Lopez

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