Wednesday, July 17

How to convince someone to start using Google Tag Manager?

Here’s a situation: you’ve read several articles introducing Google Tag Manager and how can it help you improve marketing and analytics processes by bringing control back to the hands of marketers/analysts. So you decide to introduce it to your company/client.

However, you face resistance. For example, a lead developer of your company says that Google Tag Manager will bring chaos, slow down the website, and might increase security risks. “A marketer can add any tracking codes to a website/web application all by himself/herself? No, thank you. This is a recipe for disaster”, says the lead developer.

Unfortunately, you’re lacking GTM skills in order to come up with counter-arguments, therefore, you have to accept the rejection. The end.

But what if you could bring strong points to the table? In this blog post, I’ll show you arguments on how to convince someone to start using Google Tag Manager.

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Soft Start: GTM benefits

People can face different levels of anti-GTM resistance, therefore, different arguments might be required. If your colleague/client has no clue what Google Tag Manager is and whether the company will benefit from it, I suggest starting with softer measures and showing this guide where I share benefits of Google Tag Manager.

It’s an easy-to-read non-technical guide which introduces the biggest advantages (IMO) of Google Tag Manager. If there isn’t much of the opposition, that blog post is usually enough to change someone’s mind.

However, if you have a next-level opponent (imagine the final boss in the video game), continue reading.



Here are the arguments that are usually given by seniors specialists (who are not fully aware of Google Tag Manager’s capabilities):

  • Google Tag Manager will slow down the website
  • A marketer is not a technical person, therefore, he/she can implement scripts that break the website/application
  • In the current GDPR-world, where privacy is the key, marketers can break the law (accidentally or intentionally) by collecting personal data and putting the company at risk
  • GTM will bring chaos [Julius: yup, this one is super specific 🙂 ]

While these concerns are real and definitely important, things are not that bad in GTM’s case. In fact, they are much better than your opposition thinks. Take a look below. I’ve listed arguments that you could use in order to convince someone to start using Google Tag Manager. All points are listed in no particular order.


#1. Google Tag Manager optimizes the code and speed

One of the reasons why GTM might be rejected in the very beginning of the discussion is site speed concerns. Google Tag Manager will slow us down, they say.

Here’s what I can say:

  • All tracking codes (built-in and custom) are automatically minimized by Google Tag Manager. GTM also leverages Content Delivery Networks (CDN) that definitely do not slow the page loading process.
  • Google Tag Manager loads asynchronously, therefore it does not block the page from rendering
  • With GTM, you can control when your tags fire. Pavel Brecik did an interesting experiment where he measures how page load speed is affected when tags are fired on different stages of the page loading process.
  • Sometimes I hear this argument: When we implemented tracking codes on another project with GTM, the website was slowed down by 10 seconds. But let’s take a closer look from a different perspective. I ask: have you thought of what would have happened if you implemented those tracking codes directly in the web site’s source code and not via GTM? And you know what would actually happen? The website would have slowed down by those very same 10 seconds or maybe even more. GTM is not the reason why your website slows down. Your tracking codes are. Tag Manager is a solution that enables you to conveniently control them. And if you say that with GTM, marketers/analysts will become greedier and implement more tracking codes than they should, this can be controlled/managed/suppressed with features like user permissions, approval workflows, blacklists/whitelists. I’ll introduce them really soon.


#2. Leverage Google Tag manager Blacklist/whitelist

Another common reason why GTM is denied is that a lead/senior specialist is afraid of non-developers adding tracking codes that can break the website/web application. This especially applies to custom HTML tags where marketers/analysts can paste various codes found on the web (without fully understanding what that code does).

This is a very valid concern. I totally understand that.

Luckily, companies can be in control of which tracking codes can be fired on a page and which ones can’t. All thanks to GTM’s whitelist/blacklist feature.

A developer can configure the Data Layer to allow or forbid certain types of tag templates in GTM, for example:

  • Forbid using Custom HTML tags (meaning that no custom JS scripts are allowed)
  • Allow only Google’s tag templates (such as Google Analytics, Google Ads), etc.

That way your company can be sure that no “suspicious” tags will be implemented on a website/web application. You can read more about blacklists/whitelists in the official GTM documentation.

Too bad that Google Tag Manager does not offer a built-in Facebook Pixel tag template, therefore, if Custom HTML tags are blocked, that automatically bans FB pixel as well.


#3. User permissions

If non-technical employees are not trusted with tag management, their permissions can always be limited. For example, they can create/edit/delete tags but cannot publish changes. Therefore, a more experienced co-worker could review all the changes and publish/deny/fix them.

You can read more about user permissions here.

Also, there’s another feature (this one’s for premium users of Tag Manager 360) – zones. It enables companies to isolate different teams and restrict them to only certain sets of tags, triggers, and variables.

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