google tag manager basics

Written by 11:09 am Google Tag Manager, Trending

Basics of Google Tag Manager and Why You Need It

Google Tag Manager can propel your business to the next level when it comes to tag/pixel implementation.

December 9th 2019

For new businesses who are starting out doing digital marketing, or those that are established but want more visibility on campaigns, often the most time consuming and expensive part is figuring out how to technically change code in the site in order to take marketing and user interaction visibility to the next level. Enter Google Tag Manager, the easiest and most effective method of adding code to your website without constantly  relying on a web developer.

What is Google Tag Manager?

In the simplest possible way, GTM is an online platform that allows marketers and developers to add code to the website without the need for editing the code directly in the site, or via the CMS. By adding a single ‘container’ tag to your website, adding pixels from any ad platform such as Google, Facebook, Adobe etc, now becomes the easiest of tasks.


Tags & Triggers

The two things you’ll need to know about when starting out using GTM are tags and triggers. Tags are the those tracking pixels or event tags you’ll need to add to the site in order to track return on investment, cost per acquisition, or user interactions from your marketing dollars. Triggers are those ‘rules’ that determine how and when your tags are fired on your website. Let’s say you’re embarking on some Facebook advertising, you’ll probably want to know which campaigns, ad sets and ads are working best for you in order to tie back some return on ad spend.

Firstly, you’ll need to copy the Facebook Pixel from the Ad Account it will look something like this:

facebook pixel code


This is the code you’ll need to add to every page on your website, in order to retarget visitors, so all you’ll need to do is copy the code and paste it into a new tag via Google Tag Manager, by navigating to tags > New and by selecting custom HTML from the options:

gtm custom html insert

Paste the Facebook Pixel code into the custom HTML area, then save. Next you need to determine where the pixel needs to fire, that’s where you need to add the trigger by selecting Triggers > New. In this instance, as you need to trigger on all pages, select ‘Page View’ and the default selected will be ‘All Page Views’ which is what you need, so name the trigger (‘All Pages’ or something similar so it’s easily recognisable when you add another tag) then hit save.


The fun bit starts when you want to fire a pixel on a specific page, this is usually a landing page, or a conversion landing page. When you are determining your trigger, just select ‘Some Page Views’ then ‘Page URL’ from the drop down menu, and enter the URL like so:

GTM pageview trigger

Things get a little more complicated when adding specific events that aren’t URL based, like modal windows opening, or events within an iframe but this is a simple set up for those looking to get involved with the basics.


That’s it, Google Tag Manager in a nutshell, no more dealings with web developers (which can only be a good thing!), the only thing you’ll need to do is add the Google Tag Manager container snippet, however you may not even need a dev for that, if you’re using WordPress as your content management system, there are plugins available to install the container. Once you’ve installed the container, a handy tool to use is the Google Tag Assistant Chrome web extension which will tell you what tags are there and whether there are any errors in the configuration.