How to correctly migrate your tracking to Google Tag Manager

Migrate Google Tag Manager

By migrating your Google Analytics tracking over to Google Tag Manager, you’re allowing Tag Manger to complete its function without the loss of information between the two tools. Migrating is also important because Google Analytics is an incredibly helpful tool to have, and by enabling GTM, you can align your GA tracking with other 3rd party tags.

If you are already a bit lost or you don’t feel comfortable with the differences or/and purposes of either of these tools, then read through this blog and return here once you feel like you’re back on track.

How to migrate to Google Tag Manager

First off, you need to create a Google Tag Manager account. Once your base platform is ready, you can create a container. The container will provide the snippet of code that you will need to copy and paste into the code of every page of your site. This snippet needs to be placed in the Body, immediately after the Head section. Almost all of the major CMS solutions have built-in functionality allowing for an easy implementation, so this process is usually quick and straight-forward.

Google tag manager workspace
The next step is to open the Variables section in the left-hand menu and click New. For variable type, select Constant, and then paste your Tracking ID from the Google Analytics Property you created. Name your new variable GA Tracking ID.

Next, click the Tags item, and New. Select Google Analytics and then Universal Analytics. In the Configuration section, enter {{GA Tracking ID}}. Click Continue, then All Pages, then Save. This part of the process ensures pageviews tracking in two properties; one for the on-page code and the other for your GTM container.

Why You Should Migrate Tracking To Google Tag Manager

GA manages to do all of its tracking, recording, and reporting by marketing tags. This is commonly referred to as GA Tracking Code and it is placed on every page of a website. This is straight forward if you just want to track automatic information such as pageviews, bounce rate, etc. But what if you want to track a specific, non-generic feature, such as sales? Well, you’ll need a custom tag, which needs to hard coded, and that’s where things start to get messy.

The GTM tool will dramatically decrease your work load around managing tags. Once you have set them up your tags are safely stored and easily sorted on one simple, straight-forward interface. When you need to add in new tags or alter existing ones, you can do so in a time-efficient, stress free manner.

Simply put, if you don’t migrate your tracking from Analytics to Tag Manager then you’re either going to need a code-literate techie to help you out, or you’re going to need to be code-literal yourself and for some (such as myself), that belongs in the ‘too hard’ basket.

What to expect from the GTM migration?

Migrating your tracking tags over to GTM means simplifying a process that would otherwise require quite a high level of coding. It also means freeing up hours that would otherwise be spent implementing hard-code. GTM leads to a huge reduction with potential bug issues, as it has built-in debugging options and shows a display of what the tags look like and if they work before you need to publish them3. This ‘testing’ option means that you can be sure that the work you are producing is error-free, which is a huge weight off for those who feel a little uncomfortable using a new software.

To Conclude

Over all, utilising GTM can make your life simpler, and who doesn’t want that? It will also decrease the workload for your office techie, so hopefully they’ll stop ripping out their eyebrow hairs as a response to the building stress. If you haven’t already looked into Google Tag Manager then you absolutely should, and then you too can praise the Google Gods for bestowing us this gift.