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The Content Marketer’s 5-Minute Guide to Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager Guide

Do phrases like “Javascript tracking pixel” and “code snippet” make your skin crawl?

Don’t worry. We won't judge.

On the one hand, analytics tracking codes are your secret weapon. They’re like hallowed golden keys that can unlock the floodgates of sacred digital marketing data. Get the right code on your website or content hub and you’ll be on your way to all kinds of insights: Goal tracking, conversion tracking, attribution…and the list goes on (and on and on).

The problem?

You’re not a web developer. You’re a time-strapped content marketer in need of a few mission-critical insights. And you need an easy way to start getting those new insights now.

For That, There’s Google Tag Manager

This free tool is designed to put digital marketers back in control of digital marketing data. It eliminates the need to wait on a webmaster, learn a new system, or spend hours in tutorials just to add a line of tracking code to your website. With Google Tag Manager, you use one simple platform to enable all the data collection you need — whether that means Google Analytics, marketing automation software, or whatever else requires “inside” access to your domain to start tracking activities like page views and click-throughs.

Ready to see how Google Tag Manager works? Stick with me until the end of this post, and you’ll soon wonder how you ever lived without it.

How Google Tag Manager Works

Google Tag Manager removes the mystery from using tags—those pixels and JavaScript codes so many vendors want you to add to your website before they can collect data—to speed up your marketing analytics process. You can be up and running with new tools within seconds, without ever having to learn a single line of code or ask a web developer to help.

Here’s how it works:

After creating a new Google Tag Manager account, you’ll be prompted to set up a “container” for your domain. This is the container that will hold all the tags for your site:

Google Tag Manager Setup

Google Tag Manager will then generate a container snippet for you to copy and paste into every page of your website:

Install Google Tag Manager

Sound tricky? Check with your content management system. Many providers have set up easy integrations that let you copy and paste code in less than three minutes. Uberflip, for instance, offers a step-by-step guide for quickly integrating Google Tag Manager with your content hub.

Once setup is complete, you can add or update any number of marketing and measurement tags at any time—right from within Google Tag Manager itself:

Google Tag Manager

Again, there’s no need to panic. These days you can count on just about every major marketing solution to give you a quick-and-easy way to start adding tags. For example: From the marketing automation world, Pardot, Hubspot, and Marketo all provide detailed instructions on how to integrate with Google Tag Manager.

Addictive Content Marketing Uses for Google Tag Manager

Now that you know how Google Tag Manager works, it’s time to start adding tags. It’s easy to find suggestions and tutorials for many of the more common uses—AdWords Conversions, Google Analytics goal tracking, and so on. But if you really want to take control of your marketing content’s performance, I highly suggest adding these two favorites to your list:

1. Measure True Content Engagement

With Google Analytics, it’s easy to see how many people “bounce” from your hub after viewing a single page. But how much time do those visitors spend consuming that one piece of content? When it comes to engagement with your brand and interest in your offering, there’s a BIG difference between 15 seconds and 15 minutes.

Enter the Google Tag Manager setup that made our weekly roundup of must-have content hacks. This method, shared by Outbrain's Sarit Anavim, allows you to leverage Google Tag Manager to see precisely how much time people are devoting to reading your articles, blog posts, and other content. It’s a great way to determine which outdated content is worth revisiting, what needs re-editing, and where you might be missing opportunities to up the ante on promoting your evergreen content.

2. Test Interactive Content

Does your resource center or content hub include a lot of PDFs? No doubt you have the data on how many views and downloads they’ve received. But what happens to readership levels when you turn those downloadable documents into interactive HTML5 Flipbooks? Once you set up a Google Analytics Tag, you’ll be able to see granular details such as how many times people zoomed in for a closer look and which pages they printed.

What about you? What are your favorite uses for Google’s tag management system? Share them in the comments!

We love Google Tag Manager because it simplifies the analytics process for content marketers. For even more ways to easily extract killer data, check out the eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Content Insights.

About the Author

<a href="">Heather Mueller</a> is a freelance web copywriter. As a certified SEO copywriter, she pulls from her background in journalism and public relations to help companies boost quality leads through the power of the written word.

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