Declare independence from developers with custom HTML tags in Google Tag Manager

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When Google announced Google Tag Manager back in 2013, almost all the reviews and presentations were limited to the idea of making things easier for marketing specialists.

It is no wonder that now GTM is mostly used to add tags for Google Analytics, Google AdWords and other remarketing partners. Indeed, it is now more convenient and flexible than ever before. New retargeting partner? No problem—the code is on the website within 5 minutes. New conversion tracking for a specific category? Again, every conversion is counted with no delay.

Many marketing experts just love Google Tag Manager. But, why wouldn’t they? It provides such an easy way to place a new code on a website. Still, what are the other benefits of GTM?

In this article, we share ideas for the application of custom tags in GTM. Custom HTML tags make it easier to make changes to the website. This doesn’t mean, of course, that you can really do without developers, but it will take less time and you can proactively manage the process.

With Google Tag Manager, you can:

  1. Easily run A/B testing.
  2. Place new elements (e.g. banners) on the website. You can efficiently manage the content, and what is even more attractive, set up triggers to fire tags under any condition. You can even use different banners for different target audiences. For example, you can show a promo banner only to the visitors from Chicago.
  3. Display different phone numbers depending on the user type, browser or the product category your users are browsing at the moment. For example, if a consultation on different product categories is provided by different call centers.
  4. Quickly add scripts you get from the developers, when the script can be run separately and it is necessary to retain the ability to quickly modify it. For example, system scripts to install cookie or to clear Local Storage.

Not to mention the fact that there are various A/B testing services and online chats that you can add or set up using GTM.

Each website is unique, and therefore you will need a unique script for a particular task. We’ve prepared a few script examples to solve such tasks as implementing an A/B-test, placing a banner on a webpage or adding message to the console. You can use them as a basis when creating your own scripts. Just fill in the form and we will send the examples to you by email.

How to Set up Custom Tags

To set up custom HTML tags, use GTM to place a script on the website. To create a custom tag, sign in to your account, choose «Tags» and click «New». When choosing the tag type, click «Custom HTML tag» (you might have done this before, when adding a partner’s script to the website).

Now you can place your own script in the editor window and press «Continue».

The next thing to pay attention to is choosing «Fire on» conditions.

This step is useful in that you can configure any (Well, within reason, anyway...) condition to fire your tag. For example, you can activate tags on certain product category pages, certain users (on the grounds of the city, authorization type or the number of orders) or even target those users who have found your website via Google search. Note that the code will also be placed on every new page that appears on the website after the changes are made and falls under the conditions.

Or, for example, you want a discount banner to be seen by only those customers who have already made an order on the site. And by good fortune (or actually thanks to the sophisticated metrics system) the needed criteria (that the user has already made an order) is sent to Google Analytics. Just create the option that would work for you, and you are all set.

Please Note

One thing that should be kept in mind when using custom HTML tags — always test the changes in Preview and Debug mode. This will help you avoid many problems if something goes horribly wrong.

Some possible difficulties you may face when adding custom HTML tags to the website:

  1. Layout can be broken on some pages or in some browsers;
  2. JS-errors may occur due to the use of global variables or attempts to use non-existent ones;
  3. New scripts can delay the loading of the main content of the webpage or interfere with the other elements of the website.

If you have any of the above problems, it’s better than likely that you need to edit the script and possibly even ask for advice from a fellow developer.

To Sum Up

Add the new tool to your kit to quickly make changes to the site so that you can manage the content more flexibly using different conditions to fire the tags.

Just use common sense and don’t try using GTM as a full-fledged tool for A/B testing or personalization. There are more convenient solutions that are specifically designed for these purposes.

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