Google Tag Manager for the Busy PPC Professional

google tag manager for the busy ppc professional

google tag manager for the busy ppc professional

It’s Time for Us Non-Coders to Start Using Google Tag Manager

Let’s say it together.

“Hi, my name is _______.

I am a PPC Marketer.

I know less about coding than I pretend to know on Twitter.

Scripts? Oh yeah, love em! Just automate the blah blah, with the API blah blah, asynchronous code blah blah.”

A PPCer who does code is as dangerous as a first year Greek language student attempting to argue the finer points of Platonism with the locals in Athens. Now, that’s not entirely fair because you might actually be an expert developer. If you are a pro at coding than this article may not be for you. For the rest of us, we need all the help we can get (even if we don’t always admit it!).

Confession Time #2.
Even though you’ve heard of Google Tag Manager, and think it looks awesome, you haven’t really used it. It’s that whole, “I have a million other things to do and changing out the code on a satisfied client when things are going smoothly isn’t really top of my list.”

If this describes you, then this article is for you. To be perfectly honest, this article probably has mistakes and there might be different ways of doing things better. If so, tweet them out to me (@PPCKirk)! However, this article is mainly to encourage those PPCers completely new to Google Tag Manager to give it a try. Let me say it again. I am no coding expert, and there are probably lots of fun, more technical ways to do some of this stuff. This post is for the PPCer like myself, who just wants to get rolling with GTM and can learn the more intricate aspects of GTM at a later date.

The purpose of this post is:

  1. To identify the benefits of implementing Google Tag Manager in your PPC Clients
  2. To give you practical steps for implementing Google Tag Manager in your PPC Clients
  3. To give you resources for further Google Tag Manager education

Yes, there are lots of articles out there (some great ones by Justin Cutroni, get links to those below) but they have so much information it’s hard to filter out the key areas for which you need to get started from the ground up. That’s my goal with this article!

How Will Google Tag Manager Benefit You as a PPCer?

✓ No More Dev Team Holdups

I’m not here to cast doubt on the quality of your development team. I’m saying, realistically… it can sometimes be awhile until things like “updating the analytics code to Universal Analytics” happens.

In coding, there’s always a fire to put out. There’s always something that has to be done and oftentimes the PPCer’s code requests get bumped down the list.

Once you implement GTM, you’re the only thing stopping code from being changed in a timely manner. No more Dev Team requests.

✓ Future Code Changes

This is similar to the previous, but once you drop that GTM code on site, you don’t have to mess with on-site future code changes. If a client begins utilizing Bing Ads in the future, you can go in through GTM and set up conversion goals without contacting Dev Team. If Analytics changes up their code again (which, is not entirely unlikely), you can take 4 seconds to update it yourself and move on with life.

✓ Quick n’ Easy Goal Setup

Say it with me: “NO On Page Code for Event Goals”. Say it again. “NO On Page Code for Event Goals”

Doesn’t that roll off your tongue nicely? GTM has made event goal setup easier. Admittedly, there are new things to get used to (we will discuss more below), but the key here is that you can create your own event goals, test them, push them live, tweak them, and implement them in Google Analytics… again, all without contacting dev team… at all.

✓ Do-It-Yourself Troubleshooting

If there is an issue with your events, or your tracking, GTM’s debug and preview functionality allow you to look into things on your end without having to constantly known on the dev door.

Notice a common theme here? When your dev team realizes how little you need to contact them for code placement from now on, they just might hug you. I’m surprised Dev teams around the world haven’t pitched in to create a massive advertising campaign in order to encourage all marketers to begin using Google Tag Manager.

“Please, use GTM and leave us alone.”
“No seriously, do it or we’ll screw up all your website code.”
“All your base are belong to us”

How Do You Get Started with Google Tag Manager as a PPCer?

My goal here is to give a brief, non-techy way of walking through basic set up and implementation of GTM. My purpose in this is to take someone who is unfamiliar with GTM, and get them started on the main part of the journey. Obviously, there is a lot more than this to know about GTM, and you can see some helpful articles I include below if you want to go deeper.

Account Setup

  1. Determine who will own the GTM account
  2. This may not seem like an obvious one, but if your client wants to retain all control with a single unified google account, it is probably wise to set them as the main owner of GTM. They can then add you as a manager and you can still do everything you need to.

    If they don’t care, than GTM has a very helpful MCC-like interface for which you can create and manage client accounts in one place.

  3. Go to Google Tag Manager and create a new GTM account or Log in with an existing Google Account
  4. google tag manager container ppc marketing

  5. Add All Appropriate Users
  6. I like doing this next because then whoever needs to work on this, has the access. If your client is doing this in their account so they maintain control, make sure they give you full permissions.
    google tag manager user settings ppc marketing

  7. Create New Container
  8. Create a new container for each website & name it accordingly. So if you have 2 websites to track and 2 separate analytics IDs, then set up 2 different containers.
    google tag manager new container ppc marketing

  9. Create Pageview Analytics Tag
  10. Going with the assumption that you are using Google Analytics, we need to create our first tag. This one will be to track all pageviews and is the main tag in your account.

    Set “Tag Type” to Universal Analytics, then enter your tracking ID # into the field. This part is awesome, because it shows you how easy GTM can be. You don’t even need to pull any code. All you need to do is go into Analytics, find your Tracking ID # (Google Analytics > Admin > Property > Tracking Info > Tracking Code), and enter that number here.

    google analytics tracking id ppc marketing

    Bonus Information: I like to also select “Enable Display Advertising Features” and under”Advanced Configuration” change “Enable Enhanced Link Attribution” to True so I can take advantage of those premium options in Universal Analytics. There’s a whole lot of other options here, but for sake of time we’ll keep moving! These are the key ones to get.

  11. Create a Firing Rule
  12. A Firing Rule is that which tells GTM where and when to actually fire your tags. Click on the +Add button and select the “All Pages” rule.
    google tag manager create firing rule ppc marketing

    Google was helpful enough to include this first rule for you! Since this analytics tag is just the main pageview tag, I throw it into All Pages. Obviously if there are any you want to exclude, you can go add those as exclusions into these rules, but that’s for later.

    google tag manager all pages firing rule ppc marketing

  13. Save Your Analytics Tag
  14. Now that everything is set on your main Google Analytics pageview tag, scroll to the bottom and select save. Please note, nothing is live yet on your account!

  15. Create Any Other Tags
  16. To keep things simple right now, I will just throw out other tags you can create and we will detail them more below. I would create any tags you need at this time (before sending anything to development).

    • Analytics Ecommerce Tag
    • Adwords Remarketing Tag
    • Adwords Conversion Tag
    • Bing Ads Conversion Tag
    • Event Goal Tags
  17. Push It Live
  18. Now that your container is set up, all your tags and rules are set up, go ahead and hit the “publish” button in the top right of the screen.
    google tag manager publish container ppc marketing
    NOTE: when something doesn’t act as it should from here on out for a code change you made, the very first thing you should do is to see if you published your latest changes. The two step thing (save, then publish) is nice for keeping you from making initial dumb mistakes, but sometimes that second step is difficult to remember.

    I warned you.

  19. Send Tracking Code to Development
  20. If you’ve been paying attention, you may stop here and wonder, “why in the world are we doing this at the end of all of that setup?” Well, this is your call, however, I like to make sure everything in GTM is 100% ready to go, so there is no data lost when Dev drops the old code and pushes this live.

    I suggest you wait until this point, then you send an email out to the dev team politely explaining the purpose of this (to save them time!) and ask them to add this code to the site, and pull all your other codes.

    google tag manager installing tag ppc marketing

    I suggest you do not do this on a Friday at 4:30pm. Things should be seamless, but still, keep a sharp eye on this as they’re switching it out. A great way to tell is to go to Analytics when you’ve received word and see if traffic is coming through in the “Real-Time” reports.

Helpful Tags & Rules for PPC

Now, we skipped past a bunch of tags and rules that would be important for a PPCer. Here are some of the main ones.

  1. Analytics Ecommerce Tag
  2. Thanks to Andrew Bethel for bringing this to my attention (if you don’t currently follow that guy as a PPCer… go do it now: @AndrewPPC).

    If you are an ecommerce site then you will want to track conversion data. To do this you must create an analytics ecommerce tag in GTM like so:
    google tag manager analytics transaction tracking ppc marketing

    New Firing Rule

    Thankfully, the firing rule is pretty straightforward. I’d suggest using your Thank You Page/Purchase/Checkout Complete URL as the means for identifying the rule. It should look something like this:
    google tag manager firing rule thank you page ppc marketing

    Data Layer

    Then you must get on your knees and plead with your dev department to do something else for you. In order to get important transaction info, you will need your dev team to place the following code on your “purchase” page. According to Google help: “Place this code *before* the Google Tag Manager container snippet so that the dataLayer is ready when Google Tag Manager fires the Google Analytics tag asynchronously.”

    Example from Google:
    google tag manager data layer ppc marketing
    After all this is done, save this tag, and you are good. If this is the only tag you are pushing live right now, don’t forget to Publish it too!

  3. Adwords Remarketing Tag
  4. Like in Google Analytics, you merely need to choose the correct tag type and enter in your Conversion ID.
    google tag manager adwords remarketing tag ppc marketing

    For the Firing Rules, this is another one you will want to generally set to All Pages. This isn’t creating lists for you, this is merely allowing Adwords to track the visitors so you can create remarketing lists through the Adwords UI.

    Next, save this tag, and you are good. If this is the only tag you are pushing live right now, don’t forget to Publish it too!

  5. Adwords Conversion Tag
  6. This is the tag you will want to use for “thank you” pages after a form or ecommerce conversion has been completed. It’s another fairly straightforward one, just enter the correct numbers in the correct fields.
    google tag manager adwords conversion tag ppc marketing

    Thankfully, the firing rule is pretty straightforward. I’d suggest using your Thank You Page Firing Rule so this is only firing on your “purchase” or checkout complete page.

  7. Bing Ads Conversion Tag
  8. This tag is slightly different to create since it is not in the realm of Google. For this tag, you will need to create a Bing Ads Conversion (If you don’t know how to do this, follow these instructions). Then copy that code and add it into a Custom HTML Tag.
    google tag manager bing ads conversion tag ppc marketing

    Make sure to set a firing rule just for the pages you want to be tracked as conversions (probably the same Thank You Page Visit rule from before).

    Next, save this tag, and you are good. If this is the only tag you are pushing live right now, don’t forget to Publish it too!

  9. Event Goal Tags
  10. Here’s where life gets complicated (cause it’s not already, right), but still just as fun! Event Goals are generally the annoying ones for tracking, but keep in mind, with GTM you can track events with NO ON-SITE CODE!

    I will just cover a couple of simplistic examples, and then release you into the wild to do your own experimenting. With Analytics and GTM, you really do have a lot of fun opportunities for goal tracking.

    STEP #1 – Create Event Listener Tags
    Before you can create goals, you need to create utility tags that will basically “listen” on your site for the events you want to set. For sake of time, here is just one example. You can mess with the others as you learn more!

    Link Click Tag – This tag listens for anytime someone clicks on a link on a page where the tag is on. If you want to track a click on, say, a PDF download. This tag needs to be installed first in your GTM account. Set a firing rule for all pages.
    google tag manager event listener link click ppc marketing

    Next, save this tag, and you are good. If this is the only tag you are pushing live right now, don’t forget to Publish it too!

    STEP #2 – Create Event Tags
    Now that your listeners are live, you can get to creating an event!

    Let’s say you have a client who uses a dealer locator on their site and they want to track external dealer URL clicks as micro-conversions. In order to track this, you will need to set up a normal event goal in Analytics as well as in Google Tag Manager.

    Here’s an example of what your Analytics Event could look like:
    google analytics event tracking ppc marketing

    Then, you want to create a new Universal Analytics tag in Google Tag Manager. The key difference here between this and your main Analytics tag is that you will chose “Event” in “Track Type”. Then input the proper Analytics ID, and Event Parameters in the correct fields.
    google tag manager event tracking ppc marketing

    After this, you need to set up a firing rule. Here’s the deal with this. If you don’t do it just right in this scenario, you might send all link clicks to Analytics as an event. Or, you might not send anything. 🙂
    google tag manager dealer locator firing rule ppc marketing

    Here’s how I set things up. Notice that the “element URL” is the page the link (and tag) will be on to track. Since I only want to track Dealer Locator link clicks, I just want this event goal firing on the pages with /dealer-locator/ in them. The gtm.linkClick needs to be there in order to catch the listener tag and notify Google Analytics that the event you just set is firing. I included the {{url}} as does NOT contain because I don’t want to track any internal links on that dealer-locator page as an event.

    Next, save this tag, and you are good. If this is the only tag you are pushing live right now, don’t forget to Publish it too!

    As you’ve probably figured out by now, there are other ways to do this. The thing I love about GTM now for goal tracking is how many options are open for you to utilize in setting firing rules for your events.

    So what are you waiting for? Get Tracking!

    Google Tag Manager Article Repository

    So dear PPCer, If your head is spinning as a non-programmer (believe me, I’m with you!), then bookmark this page and plan to dig into things further in the near future. Here are helpful resources for Implementing and Managing GTM Events that should be a good help to you in getting started.

    Introduction to Google Tag Manager by Sam Owen

    All About Google Tag Manager by Justin Cutroni

    Preview and Publishing Tags with Google Tag Manager by Justin Cutroni

    Bye Bye Java Script! Auto Event Tracking with Google Tag Manager by Justin Cutroni.

    Listening for a specific click – Google Forum Discussion

    Event Listeners – Google Tag Manager Help

    Macros for Event Tracking – Google Tag Manager Help

    Google Analytics Ecommerce Data Layer – Google Tag Manager Help

    Unlock the Data Layer – Lunametrics

    Tag Assistant by Google – Chrome Extension. This extension is AWESOME for seeing if your various tags are set up properly. It gives you suggestions for ways to fix things if your tags are off.

    Thoughts about this post, or want to share it with friends you know who REALLY NEED to add GTM into their life? Tweet them to me here: