Google has recently launched a new Google Tag Manager feature, Custom Templates. This feature allows users to create new types of Tags and Variables for any other users to utilize. In this way, the custom templates can solve some problems that have arisen with GTM.
Google Tag Manager, a Powerful Tool with Challenges
Google Tag Manager is an incredibly useful and powerful tool that allows code to be added to a website without the need for large scale website republishing. This makes it easier to add the code required to implement Analytics tracking tools, Advertising Tracking codes and many others.
However, there are some real challenges that come with GTM when implementing a tool without a built-in integration to GTM and the raw code must be used instead. Because of GTM’s powerful ability to inject any code onto a website doing so incorrectly can result in security risks or website outages.
Challenges in Dealing with GTM
This can be a major problem particularly for larger businesses with multiple teams and employees responsible for different aspects of the marketing operation. Analytics, UX analysis, advertising, onsite survey, and numerous other tools and pixels need to be implemented on websites and portals. However, all of these may require code and know -how in order to successfully execute.
Adding raw code via GTM to a website is therefore a delicate issue. Leaving this in the hands of non-technical staff could result in delays and/or failures at best and a broken website or security issues at worst. However, requiring technical staff to do this can lead to bottle necks and wasted time exactly what GTM was designed to avoid.
Faster, Safer and Standardized
For some tools, like Google Analytics for instance, there are built-in tags to in GTM that allow users to perform the otherwise complex setup with nothing more than selecting from dropdown menus and filling out textboxes.
When implementing a new Analytics suite that does not have tags native to GTM it can be very tricky. These tools often require codes to be written to track page views, clicks, purchases, downloads, video views, conversions and many other digital interactions. These codes can be relatively complex and so are susceptible to user error and are time consuming to build for each event that needs tracking even for experienced personnel. Additionally, working directly with the code has the potential to create security problems on the site.
With the Custom Templates a generic template can be built once from the raw code and tested intensively. Then each new event or conversion can be added with the same ease as Google’s own Google Analytics tool. This cuts down dramatically on user error in the initial setup, saves time in the long run and makes it safe for staff to add to the setup in future.
The new Custom Templates feature can, therefore, help solve several of these sorts of challenges that businesses have encountered in the past.
Examples: Facebook and AT Internet
The Facebook Advertising Pixel which tracks the efficacy of marketing efforts on Facebook is a good example. There are many different user interactions of a website that can be tracked using the Facebook pixel but each of these requires a different piece of code to implement. And these could change regularly with different advertising campaigns with their own landing pages and calls-to-action. With a Custom Template tracking each of these implementations could be made very simple.
Another great example of where this feature could have cut down on implementation time was on a project we worked on for ZVV in Zurich. They implemented AT Internet an excellent analytics tool but one that has no tags built-in to GTM. We had to setup numerous complex tags always working in the code which required extremely thorough testing to ensure they all worked properly. With Custom Templates this process would have been easier and would have allowed non-technical users to add their own tags in the future. It would also make future maintenance easier as any coding changes that might need to be made could be done in one central place – The Custom Template – instead of for each individual tag.
We think GTM Custom templates will make for easier and safer implementations when a lot of code needs to be implemented and non-technical staff need to work on GTM.