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Tag manager

We've had half a dozen requests in the last week about the usage of tag manager, so I thought I'd write a bit about this really useful tool

onCourse has been using Google's tag manager for about four years now. Every onCourse website we build has this tool integrated from the start. But what does it do?

When a page on your website loads, one of the things it loads is a tiny snippet of code provided by Google Tag Manager (GTM). That little piece of code then loads other bits of code which are called "tags". Those tags might be analytics tracking, Facebook tracking, in-page chat, ad panels, or anything else. The tags could be invisible (like a tracker) or they might change the content of the page.

But why not just embed these things in the page itself? GTM gives you several things you can't do as easily within your page design:

Ease of use

Even non-designers can add new tags without touching the website design, needing to know about html or css, or even javascript.

Triggers

While some tags will appear on every page, you may want to suppress them on other places. Our ecommerce tracker is only used on the final checkout page. And perhaps you want a chat window on your whole site except for the checkout pages to avoid distracting users.

Testing

Let's say you add a panel with special offers using tag manager. You may then only want that panel to be shown to 50% of users so that you can compare the usefulness of the campaign and measure its success. GTM let's you do that easily.

Versioning

GTM let's you preview your changes and also rollback to any previously published version.

Access

You may be working with an SEO expert and want to give them access to your analytics and to GTM, but not want to allow them to edit the website design itself. That's now very easy to do.

What should you do next? Here are some ideas of what you can do with your site:

  1. Install a chat module to allow users to ask questions in real time without picking up the phone. Often people don't want to have a long voice conversation, but would love to be able to clarify some detail of your course offering before making a decision to purchase.

  2. If you use adwords, tweak your tags to take advantage of remarketing. This is a very useful way to "chase customers around the internet" even after they leave your site.

  3. Add integrations to Facebook or other social media you use a lot.

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