Google Tag Manager consolidates your website tags with a single snippet of code or a container and makes it extremely easy to manage tags. If you have ever worked with a large organization and struggled to get their IT department to include a simple JavaScript tag on their website then you will probably appreciate Tag Manager.

Google Tag Manager is built to handle your tagging needs, and it works with both Google and and third party tags. Below is an overview of Tag Manager’s top features:

  • Asynchronous tag loading— tags will fire faster without getting in each other’s way, and without slowing down the user-visible part of the page
  • Error-prevention tools like Preview mode (so you can see proposed changes before implementing them), the Debug Console, and Version History to ensure that new tags won’t break your site
  • User permissions and multi-account functionality to make it easy for large teams and agencies and clients to work together with appropriate levels of access

Using Google Tag Manager provides several advantages over using individual tags.

  • Add, update, and remove tags without making any changes to your HTML. This reduces the likelihood of errors and lets you deploy new tags immediately without assistance from a webmaster.
  • Google Tag Manager fires your tags asynchronously, so your pages often load more quickly than they would if you were using individual tags.
  • Workflow tools help you know whether your tags are working as intended.
  • It’s easy to see which tags are being fired on your site, and where they’re being fired.

The best practice is to have the Google Tag Manager snippet at the top of the <body> tag. This maximizes data collection, but you may in certain instances want to implement Tag Manager in other places such as your website’s footer. Whatever you do, do not place the Google Tag Manager snippet in <head>, this is because there is an iframe in the <noscript> tags, which can have unpredictable results in some browsers.

“Tag management” is not a new concept, there are many other services that provide similar features and in most cases more advanced versions of Google Tag Manager. In most cases Google’s Tag Manager should be enough to handle your requirements, however you may want to look into the following services in case you wanted something more advanced or with further options:

Since its launch I have implemented GTM for a few of the site’s that I am working on and its really simple to implement unless you are doing advanced tracking etc. and that can get a bit messy if you are not familiar with Regex etc.