Mastering tags and triggers are the first step in learning Google Tag Manager Basics. So, first, learn the theory behind tags and triggers, and then walk through the process of configuring them in GTM. We’ll send event data into Google Analytics based on the specific event parameters we specify once we’ve configured our trigger and tag in GTM.

In Google Tag Manager, what is a Tag?

A tag is a piece of code that can send information to a system like Google Analytics. A tag could be something like the code for a Facebook tracking pixel or a Google Analytics code snippet. 

What is a Google Tag Manager Trigger?

A trigger “listens” for certain actions (the previously mentioned “events”) to occur. Clicks, form submissions, page views, scroll activity, and video plays are all examples of actions. The trigger for a tag, such as a Facebook tracking pixel, will be a page view of any page on the website in question. The page loading (trigger) will instruct the Facebook pixel (tag) to visit the business and begin collecting data. For a more specific action that we want to track, such as tracking clicks from the homepage of this site to the YouTube channel, we will need to create more specific trigger rules. 

A trigger can only listen on its own. It requires assistance for data to be created and shared with an associated platform such as Google Analytics.

How Do Tags and Triggers Interact?

We will define our trigger and tag within the Google Tag Manager platform. The trigger is a specific action for which we are looking. The tag contains the data that we want to generate. When a tag is linked to a trigger, data is sent to Google Analytics when the trigger fires.

Here’s What We’ll Need Before We Begin

We’ll be utilizing Google Tag Manager as well as the Google Analytics (UA) property. In Tag Manager, we’ll also need to create a User Defined variable for our Google Analytics property. Let us see how that goes.

Google Analytics

For this project, we’ll need to use the Universal Analytics (UA) property type. The parameters we specify when we create our GTM tag will be the same as the event parameters that flow into our Google Analytics reporting. So we’ll need Google Analytics to see the results of our Tag Manager tag and trigger work.

Tag Manager by Google

GTM is where we’ll be doing the actual work to create our trigger and tag. If you are not already using Google Tag Manager, follow this guide to install Tag Manager on your WordPress site. You must also have a User-Defined Variable for your Google Analytics property within your GTM container. If you haven’t already done so, there’s some good news: it only takes about 30 seconds. Hit the “Variables” menu in the left-hand navigation in GTM and then scroll down to “User Defined Variables”. Then, to create a new variable, click the blue “New” button.

Last Thoughts

If you have any questions about the Google Tags Manager basics or would like to share your tips, please contact us!

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