Marketers Tips: Using Google Tag Manager for Event Tracking

By November 28, 2013 Analytics No Comments

With the introduction this year of Google Tag Manager, marketers have (in theory) been able to become more autonomous and less reliant on their web development team. The newest feature is the ability to track events without adding any code to the event on your page – now you can do it with some configuring within your Tag Manager. Having said that, Google Tag Manager isn’t the best documented or most user-friendly tool around, so we have put together a handy list of resources and concepts to help you get your events tracked with Google Tag Manager. Concept: To track events with your tag manager you will need two steps 1) a ‘listener’ tag to hear that the event has taken place and 2) An analytics tag to record it in analytics

Concept: You will need to add multiple ‘Google Analytics’ tags to your tag manager to track various events – these DO NOT replace your site-wide regular Google Analytics tag.

Resource: Watch this video and read this post by Justin Cutroni, which gives excellent instructions on how to set up auto-event tracking.

Resource: This is the list of available listeners and what they’re used for

Concept: Macros are used to identify or pick up information from a page. For example, you can use the {{url}} macro to create a filter which makes an event count only if on a certain page, OR you can use it as a label/action so you can see which URL an event occurred on.

Resource: This list of macros – i.e. information that Google can collect and pass to you about your event. With those resources and concepts in mind, these are steps you can take to get Event tracking working in your Tag Manager

Steps for Creating Simple Event Tags

  1. Open your container draft in ‘overview’. Create a new tag.
  2. Tag Type = Event Listener (Choose one of 4)
  3. Add Rule to Fire Tag = Choose all pages, or filter by URL to the pages you want.
  4. Save
  5. Create a new tag
  6. Tag Type = Google Analytics
  7. Enter your Analytics Property ID
  8. Track Type = Event
  9. For Event Tracking Parameters, choose what you want to show up for Category, Action, Label, etc. You can choose one of the Macros listed, or you can hardcode something in there e.g. ‘Form Download’
  10. Firing Rules – here you can choose where you want it to fire, for example, site-wide, only on a certain page, only on a certain class on a certain page, only on a certain element, etc. You can make your filter as elaborate or as simple as you like.
    1. One of the firing rules MUST BE the listener type you created. E.g. event contains gtm.linkClick

Tip: When you make changes to your tag container, you will need to make a new ‘version’ before you publish. These versions are given a number, (1,2,3), but you should rename them to something useful, e.g. “Added Analytics Event Tag for PDF Download”

Tip: Search boxes, for example site-wide search boxes in navigation, might be included as ‘form submissions’. Double check if they are, and then exclude them if necessary.

Tip: When making detailed ‘firing rules’ I would recommend starting with one condition, checking it works in preview and debug, then keep adding new conditions.

Tip: Check your tags are working as you expect by clicking Preview, then Update, Preview and Debug, then opening your site in a new tab. Your site will load with a debug pane at the bottom. Your event ‘listeners’ should fire on the relevant page loads, and your analytics event tags should fire when you complete relevant events.

Tip: To ‘debug’ your tags live, you can do events on your site, then watch them come through in the Google Analytics Real Time Events report.

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