Getting Started with Google Tag Manager

By Patrick Cannarozzi, Manager of Digital and Data Strategy

Google Tag Manager is a free tagging solution from, you guessed it, Google. It can be used to do a myriad of things like placing Google Analytics, implementing vendor tags for remarketing, and even event tracking. To start collecting meaningful information after Google Tag Manager is installed, here are a few things to consider implementing.


1. Install Google Analytics

In the past, Google Analytics would need to be installed on each individual page of your site, but now with the help of Google Tag Manager, the installation process is easier than ever. In GTM:

  • Click Tags on the left-hand side
  • Select New in the top right of the tag section
  • Click into tag configuration and select Google Analytics – Universal Analytics
  • Track Type should remain as Page View
  • Under Google Analytics Settings, select New Variable
  • In the Tracking ID box, enter your Google Analytics tracking ID; be sure to name your variable in the top left and save it
  • Click into Triggering under Tag Configuration and select All Pages
  • Name your tag in the top left and click save


At this point, you should see your Google Analytics tag listed in the tags section of GTM with All Pages listed as the firing trigger. The tag has not been published at this point and you are able to test it to ensure it will fire on all pages before doing so. To do this, click Preview in the top right and open your website in a new tab. You should see a pop-up on the bottom of your screen that shows the tags firing on that page. Click around on several different pages and make sure it is still firing. Once you have confirmed it is working properly, you can hop back into GTM, leave preview mode, and click Publish in the top right. If organization is your thing, you can add a name and description for the version you are publishing. That’s it! Google Analytics will be successfully installed on your website and you should start seeing data coming in via the real-time reporting very soon.


2. Enable Built-In Variables

Within GTM there are certain variables that you can use for firing triggers. Google has a handful of pre-built variables that will work for most tags you will want to place. To enable these variables, all you need to do is:

  • Click Variables on the left-hand side
  • In Built-In Variables, click Configure
  • Select the check marks next to the variables


If you do not want to enable them all, I recommend enabling the following variables:

  • All Clicks variables
  • Form Element
  • Form Classes
  • Form ID
  • All Scrolling variables


With these, you’ll be able to start tracking most standard website events. Be sure you publish the changes to the container.


3. Create a Click Trigger

Now that the click variables have been created, we can create a click trigger, which will allow us to create tags that fire when a user clicks on web elements on our page. To do this:

  • Click Triggers on the left-hand side
  • Click New in the Triggers section
  • Click into Trigger Configuration and select All Elements under Click


From here, you have the option to fire on all clicks or some clicks. If you select some clicks you’ll notice that you have the option to filter by the variables we enabled earlier. This is extremely helpful for having tags fire on specific buttons or links on your website. For now, let’s select all clicks. Name your trigger and save it.


Now if you jump into preview mode and start clicking around on your website, you’ll notice the event populating in the preview window. If you select that event, you can see the variables that we enabled populated. This is how you would create specific click triggers using the “some clicks” option from earlier.


4. Create Click Event Tracking for Google Analytics

Now that we have our click tracker created, we can start sending that information to Google Analytics to start analyzing how often and where people are clicking.

  • First, we’ll want to click into Tags on the left-hand side
  • Select New
  • Click into Tag Configuration and select Google Analytics – Universal Analytics
  • Under Track Type, select Event


This is where we’ll fill in the Category, Action, and Label for our event. This is up to your interpretation and how you would like to see the data flow into analytics. For this example, we will enter the following:

  • All Clickers under Category
  • Click under Action
  • {{Page URL}} under label


The label we used is the Page URL variable and will bring in the URL of the page on which the user clicked. That way, we can see which pages are seeing the most interactions. Lastly, select the Google Analytics variable we created earlier under Google Analytics Settings.


Next, we’ll set up the trigger by clicking into Triggering and selecting All Pages. Name and save your tag and jump into preview mode. When you click on your website, you should see your new tag populating. Every time you click on the same page, you should see it fire. Publish your tag and wait for the data to start rolling into Google Analytics! You should start seeing the data in the event reporting in the near future.


From here, the sky’s the limit for Google Tag Manager. This free tool is very powerful and allows for highly customized tags, triggers, and variables. For more advanced GTM tutorials, I highly recommend Simo Ahava’s blog and for video tutorials for beginners, Julian from Measure School is a great place to start.


That’s all for now and as always, feel free to reach out to our team of experts if you have further questions!


Vladimir Jones is Colorado’s original independent, integrated advertising agency, with offices in Denver and Colorado Springs. We believe in brilliant brands and love making the world love them as much as we do.

Vladimir Jones is Colorado’s original independent, integrated advertising agency, with offices in Denver and Colorado Springs. We believe in brilliant brands and love making the world love them as much as we do.