It’s no secret that Google Tag Manager can be a challenge for anyone in digital marketing to grasp. You set up a myriad of tags, triggers and variables, only to be left back at square one with a massive headache.

With close to 100,000 unique domains using Google Tag Manager as their tag management system, it’s clear this tool is not going anywhere soon.

In fact, using GTM offers significant benefits, including:

  • Quicker Implementation
  • Reduction in Development Costs
  • Faster Website Performance

Before you jump in, be sure to do your research. The only thing worse than a slow and costly implementation is a tag management system (TMS) plagued by a flurry of errors.

Below, I’ve listed 7 major (but very common) mistakes you might encounter while working in Google Tag Manager.

1. Incorrect Implementation of the GTM Snippet

Step #1 is making sure your GTM code, or snippet, has been properly installed on your site. First things first – make sure you remove your Google Analytics code from the site upon installing the GTM snippet. Otherwise, you’ll be getting duplicate data, resulting in serious data integrity problems.

It’s also important to make sure the GTM snippet has been installed in the proper spot of your web page’s HTML output. Tools including Tag Assistant and Screaming Frog are great for ensuring correct installation of the GTM snippet on all pages of the site.

2. Over-Tracking Events on Your Site

It’s easy – too easy – to get caught up in tracking everything on your site. It’s challenging to not get distracted using every ‘recipe’ on Lunametrics, or implementing a handful of the awesome tips from Simo Ahava’s blog.

Tracking every click, scroll or interaction with your site can not only slow down your window load time, but also prevent you from identifying important data. When it comes to using a tag management system, remember – quality over quantity.

Identify the key interactions, events and conversion points on the site, and add tracking there first. It will only make reporting on these key events easier in the future.

3. Using Nondescript Event Parameters

When using Google Tag Manager, it’s critical to plan ahead when creating your event parameters. Use the event category, action, label, and value (if applicable) to your advantage and avoid using generalized terminology that provides little insight.

The more detail you can provide through those parameters, the greater you’ll understand how and where users are interacting with your site. And if you’re torn on what to include in your event parameters, remember you can use secondary dimensions in Google Analytics to collect additional information.

PRO TIP: Always use lowercase when creating event parameters – it’s a best practice that prevents identical interactions with the site from appearing as multiple unique events in Google Analytics.

4. Creating Overly-Specific Triggers

In contrast with nondescript event parameters, GTM users often struggle with creating triggers that are overly-specific to just one event on their site.

For example, if you have various phone numbers on multiple pages of the site, and you’d like to track any time a user clicks a phone number, you should only need one tag and trigger. Use custom or built-in variables to collect the specific phone number that was clicked, instead of having a trigger for each individual number.

Creating generalized triggers can also prevent missing certain events as new content is added to the site.

5. Forgetting to Publish Your Changes

After previewing your tags, and using the debugger feature, you’ve finally captured the data you want, and how you want it. But don’t celebrate yet!

Don’t forget to press the submit button, and publish your changes, or your tags will not go live. This seems like an obvious final step, but you’d be surprised just how easy it is to successfully create your tags, triggers, and variables, but forget to push it live on the site or application.

6. Not Annotating Your Version Changes

A version in Google Tag Manager is essentially a snapshot of your container at any given moment. When you publish any changes, Google allows you to annotate the new version of your container. That means you can provide additional details about what you added or changed.

It’s wildly helpful to put these annotations to good use. Especially if you find a mistake in your tracking and need to revert to an older version, using the version name and details will help you investigate and identify the problems and quickly makes changes.

Take the extra minute after publishing your changes to add some details about the work you’ve done – you’ll only thank yourself in the future.

7. Being Afraid to Ask a Developer for Help

Don’t feel comfortable writing in HTML or JavaScript? Or are you struggling to understand the dreaded data layer? Don’t be afraid to ask a developer for help!

While some developers aren’t well-versed in using Google Tag Manager, they’ll be a great resource in helping you to get the most out of the tool. Google’s Developer Guide for Google Tag Manager is a great way to get your developers up to speed, and start discovering some of the advanced capabilities of GTM, including custom events and enhanced ecommerce tracking.

Are you ready to get started in using a tag management system, but fear you might make one of these mistakes?

Don’t worry! Our experienced team of analytics experts are eager to build a custom tag management solution for you.

Build Me A Custom Tag Management Solution

Courtney Morris

About Courtney Morris

Courtney Morris is a Digital Marketing Strategist at Liquid, specializing in advanced analytics, tag management, and strategic business planning. She graduated from Moravian College in 2016, and made her mark at Liquid through the internship program before joining the team full-time. In her free time, Courtney enjoys starting (but never finishing) DIY projects, and playing her Martin guitar.

Published Nov 08, 2017