Auditing a Google Tag Manager (GTM) container can be tough. Whether the container is managed internally or by a third party agency, ensuring that an implementation is set up correctly both functionally and structurally can be a tall order for any analyst.
This guide will equip analysts and marketers with the tools they need to ensure that their virtual ducks are in a row and enable them to audit any GTM container for proper tracking functionality as well as structural integrity and governance.
GTM is an analytics tracking implementation tool that allows businesses to set up event based tracking on a website by adding the Tag Manager tracking code to pages of their website and/or mobile app. What this means is that by using Google Tag Manager a business can track user behavior in regards to any activity that the user acts on. This can include:
Most businesses utilize tag managers like GTM to monitor actions that users take that align with their specific website goals, for example:
💡 Sounds simple right … WRONG.
While some may think that setting up GTM is a one-and-done affair … nothing could be farther from the truth. Afterall, business / marketing goals can change over time, new pages / experiences launch, new products / services roll out, and most notably — technology evolves.
That’s why it’s so important to regularly audit GTM to ensure tracking still functions properly, aligns with business goals, and adheres to data governance rules put in place by the organization.
We recommend auditing Google Tag Manager at least once per year (or as frequently as quarterely — depending on how often updates are made to a website/app!)
Once set up, every GTM instance has the same basic structure. The top of the page has navigation sections for Versions, Workspaces, and Admin.
When auditing a GTM container, use the “Default Workspace” — this is where all tracking currently live on the site is contained.
The workspace tab has 6 main sections. These are the major areas of your GTM tracking setup and will be where you perform the majority of your audit. A summary of each section can be found below.
Enabling all Pre-Configured Variables will make them automatically available for use in any tag. Since it doesn’t affect GTM container performance in any way — we recommend doing this to get the most value from GTM right out-of-the-box.
There are several ways to audit a Google Tag Manager account. At the time of writing this, I have audited dozens of accounts for many different industries, trying many different approaches to the auditing process.
No matter what setup you have for GTM — an organization should always have a Solution Design Reference (SDR).
The SDR is basically the blueprint of your analytics implementation. It holds the information about each tag, trigger, and variable that you set up with additional information regarding KPI alignment for each tag, naming conventions to enforce data governance, and testing URLs for auditing purposes.
The SDR should be considered the “hit-by-a-bus” document. That means that should the person responsible for maintaining a company’s analytics implementation be “hit by a bus” then someone with no prior context should be able to use the SDR to continue maintaining the tracking that has been implemented thus far.
In my experience, this is the most common component that new clients are missing when they come to Seer for Analytics support.
In Google Tag Manager there are several tools that can be used to audit whether a tag has been set up properly.
The primary tool that should be used is the Tag Manager Debugger. This tool effectively allows a user to preview their tagging additions and changes before adding said changes to their live environment on the website.
💡 Watch the video below for a demo:
Using the Tag Manager Debugger and a well-organized Solution Design Reference, one should be able to accurately identify areas to resolve and update in a typical audit with ease.
Naming conventions are an important part of auditing any container. This topic deserves its own section because it is often overlooked when discussing Google Tag Manager audits and general management practices.
What is important to remember when setting up and maintaining a tag manager account is transferability. Just because you set up a tag named “Landing Page Conversion” does not mean that your coworkers, agency partners, or superiors are going to understand what that tag is actually tracking.
Establishing solid naming conventions for tags, triggers, and variables as well as Account, Container, and Workspace naming conventions will help other people in your organization understand what each and every tracking component is used for. Some examples of naming conventions:
The structure of the naming conventions that your organization lands on does not matter as much as all users responsible for managing GTM adhering to the conventions.
Any website or mobile app with GTM installed should be audited regularly to maintain its validity. Changing technologies, updating website pages, and new business goals are all reasons that GTM tracking setups will change on a regular basis and because of this auditing will always be a process needed for good analysis capabilities.
Understanding the various areas within GTM and how to document a GTM setup using a Solution Design Reference then test tags, triggers, and variables using the GTM Debugger are all necessary skills to learn for a proper audit process. Using these skills one can be sure to drive real business impact for their organization through superior analytics.
If you want more information on Google Tag Manager and how Seer tackles Analytics, keep reading:
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Source: www.seerinteractive.com, originally published on 2021-10-27 18:03:13