Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager are two of the top tools available to digital marketers. And just like with any other digital marketing tool, it can be overwhelming to know what each tool does and when to deploy it.
This article will look at Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, respectively, highlighting their differences and how they can work together.
What Is Google Analytics (GA)?
Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool provided by Google that can be used to track the traffic to your website. Even though “web analytics” may appear to be a minor aspect of your online presence, Google Analytics has far-reaching ramifications.
For most businesses, their website functions as a central hub for all digital traffic. Your customers will most likely visit your website during their customer journey if you run any marketing activity such as search ads or social media ads.
Google Analytics is the best tool to get a comprehensive picture of the effectiveness of all the initiatives you’re running to market your products/services online. This is why Google Analytics is used by over 50 million websites worldwide.
How Does It Work?
If a user interacts with the website after the code is inserted, the data is transmitted back to Analytics. People who access the GA dashboard can see real-time updates and look back at prior data. It allows them to see the overall pattern of your website’s activity. This article explains more about Google analytics.
Pros and Cons of Google Analytics
- It allows you to keep track of your customer acquisition activities.
- Analyze behavioral and demographic data in depth.
- Visualize the customer journey with intuitive graphical dashboards and reports.
- Establish and track your own goals and KPIs.
- Its multi-channel tracking capabilities allow you to keep track of all your marketing activities in one place.
- It’s completely free to use
- There is no keyword tracking.
- It may be insufficiently detailed for assessing specific visits.
- There may be a learning curve at the initial stage.
Google Analytics Applications
Marketers can examine the data in Google Analytics reports and make changes to their campaigns as needed. For example, if Google Analytics data shows that traffic to an eCommerce store’s jewelry page is vital, marketers might target that audience. They can provide more jewelry specials and discounts or produce new product varieties.
Here’s why you should use Google Analytics.
- To track how people come across your website.
Currently, there are about 1 billion websites online. In the cluttered world of the internet, each of them is clamoring for attention. People must be able to find your website for it to accomplish its job – whatever that task may be.
Google Analytics is dedicated to providing you with information on how visitors to your website found you. Google tracks people who come to your website after clicking on a link in search results (organic results) and how many people come from social media links, other websites, paid ads, and direct traffic.
- It’s completely free.
If you’re on a tight budget, everything else on this list might sound great without convincing you that this tool is worth the money. You do not, however, have to pay anything. Google Analytics is completely free to use.
- It’s simple.
Hearing about great tools can make you think about how nice it sounds for those who know how to use them, even if you’re not tech-smart.
However, even beginner website owners with basic computing knowledge may figure out how to use Google Analytics.
- Track who is visiting your website and how they are doing so.
The majority of websites do not need to be accessible to everyone. There’s probably a particular type of visitor that you value the most. Google Analytics gives information on the demographics, geography, and general online interests of the individuals who visit your website.
You can also see what browsers and devices they’re using. You may be losing some visitors if your website provides a varied experience on different devices or browsers. When you see how many people access your site via mobile devices, you can see how important it is to optimize for them.
- It allows you to keep track of conversions.
Google Analytics can help you figure out what’s working and why on your website in terms of conversions. Different websites will encourage visitors to take different actions. Conversion tracking for your website can be set up in Google Analytics based on the activities you want visitors to perform, such as making a purchase, filling out a form, or signing up for your email list.
This data will be the most crucial indicator of whether your website performs its primary function.
- Identify your most popular web pages.
Almost every website will have some pages that receive significantly more traffic than others. You’ll also have pages that keep visitors on the site longer or convert at a higher rate than others.
Google Analytics can help you identify content ranking well or getting a lot of shares and bringing in a disproportionate amount of traffic. The tool also allows you to identify which pages perform exceptionally well in converting visitors to email subscribers or customers.
- Track what users do on your website.
Getting visitors to your website is the first major challenge, but keeping them there and having them return is just as vital. Google Analytics keeps track of this data as well.
The Behavior section of Google Analytics tells you which pages users visit first on your site, which sites they click through to next (if any), and how long they stay on your site.
This data will help you determine which parts of your website are gaining traction and whether you need to change the design or improve the content to keep visitors on your site longer.
What Is Google Tag Manager?
Google Tag Manager is a tag management system that allows you to update tracking codes and related code fragments on your site or mobile app fast and efficiently. You can safely and quickly deploy analytics and tracking tag configurations through a web-based user interface once the little portion of Tag Manager code has been introduced to your project.
The web-based user interface of Tag Manager can then be used to build tags, triggers that cause your tag to fire when specific events occur, and variables that can be used to simplify and automate your tag configurations.
Google Tag Manager’s Pros and Cons
- Most users can use it for free (larger and more complex organizations can opt for a paid version with even more features). It eliminates the time and effort involved in designing and implementing tags.
- Centralizes all tagging and data collecting and transmits to your other platforms for use in enhancing campaigns
- There are numerous pre-built interfaces with other services available.
- It can increase the speed of your website by reducing code length, allowing pages to load faster.
- It has a debug and check mode. Before adding tags to your site, you can test how they work.
- All modifications to the settings are saved. If you publish code with problems, you can always go back to a previous version. You can also find out who made what changes to the code and when they were done.
- You can grant varying access levels to your workers’ Tag Manager accounts and marketers from a marketing firm with whom you work.
- The initial setup may require some technical knowledge.
Why use Google Tag Manager?
- It allows you to deploy tracking codes quickly
Before Google Tag Manager, Tracking codes were set up manually, which was time-consuming and required a lot of coding. However, with Google Tag Manager, you don’t necessarily need to hire a developer. You can quickly deploy the tracking codes on your websites and apps and manage them through the GTM interface. This speeds up tag deployment and reduces the possibility of mistakes.
- You can manage all your tags in a single location.
So, if you needed to make a little modification, the developer had to locate and update all of those programs. This process is simplified, thanks to GTM. Now you can access and manage all your tags in one location.
- Tools for testing
Google Tag Manager Preview and Debug mode, which indicates which tags are triggered on a page and which are not, makes troubleshooting and rectifying tag problems easier. It also contains information on fire tags’ triggers and the data stored in tracking tags.
This helps you ensure that your tags are working before publishing them to the live site.
- It’s mostly free.
Google Tag Manager, like Google Analytics, is a free tool. Although Google Analytics 360 Suite has a subscription edition, the free version is more than adequate for most businesses (small and medium).
- Tagging templates
GTM has a lot of useful built-in tags for Google Analytics and Google Ads conversions, among other things. This enables a marketer with little or no technical experience to customize tags without deploying sophisticated code or seeking the help of a developer.
All tracking scripts installed using Custom HTML tags in GTM accounts are immediately scanned by Google and paused if they match a known malware domain, IP address, or URL. You may also manage who has access to your GTM accounts and cancel that access at any moment.
7: User Permissions
You can grant numerous people access to your Google Tag Manager account, each with different levels of viewing, editing, and publishing privileges. This functionality is helpful for organizations that wish to grant access to several employees or share access with clients while guaranteeing that only a few people have master control.
Google Analytics vs. Google Tag Manager
Google Analytics is an analytics tool that generates reports. On the other hand, Google Tag Manager doesn’t have any reporting features. You can use Google Tag Manager to install several types of monitoring software, such as Google Analytics, on your website.
Here’s a table showing the difference between both tools.
|Parameters of Comparison||Google Analytics||Google Tag Manager|
|Data||It has the ability to store data.||It can only send and receive data.|
|Tags||It does not have the option of tweak tags||It can play with tags.|
|Comprised of||Constructed of one or more properties.||Constructed of one or more container tags|
|Queries||Data can be queried.||Data cannot be queried.|
|Database||It is a database.||It is not a database.|
How Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager Can Work Together
Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics are two completely different technologies that can be used independently on a website. However, there are several situations where you can combine both tools to achieve your goal.
Assuming you need to keep track of resource downloads on your website (docs, pdf, Xls). You’ll need to answer some questions for tracking purposes:
- What was the total number of persons who downloaded the file?
- When was it downloaded?
- What page was the user on?
In this scenario, GTM makes it simple to set up a Click Trigger and a Google Analytics Tag so you can observe what and where resources are being downloaded without having to add any additional code to your site.
You can also use Google Tag Manager triggers to control when this information is provided to Google Analytics. Perhaps you only want to transmit a virtual pageview to Google Analytics when a user clicks on a resource download link. If that’s the case, you can set these requirements using Tag Manager’s triggers.