10 Fundamental Google Tag Manager Skills You Should Know

We have trained numerous students over the years here at MeasureSchool.com. In this post I have compiled the absolute top 10 Google Tag Manager skills I think marketers should focus on to become c Google Tag Manager.

There are many great resources to address particular features in GTM, but this time we are going to dive into the some basics.

Knowing what to look for, what to fix, and ultimately where to get help is key to acquire Tag Manager skills.

1. Planning

Of all the Google Tag Manager skills you need, this one is for sure the most important.

Before you actually start doing anything, you’ll need to have a solid understanding of what you want to track and be able to plan out exactly what needs to be done.

Especially for broader implementations, you should plan out your progress and start inputting tags, triggers, and variables step by step and never all at once. (This also limits the possibility for messing things up.)

Check out our post on our planning tag deployment process if you want to find out more.

​2. Setup

Google Tag Manager is not useful if it’s not correctly installed and configured. You need to be able to make sure it is working flawlessly on all pages and be able to debug problems. Also, the account setup itself requires special attention to organize future needs with the Workspace, Environment, and User Management.

3. Workflow

Having an established workflow lets you implement your tags fast, more efficiently, and most importantly, consistently. Many best practices have evolved over the last years, but one stands out: having a naming convention for your tags, triggers, and variables. Also, writing a description with the main consequences before publishing tags and triggers can be a lifesaver.

Alright, in the first 3 concepts we covered some preparations – now let’s dive into the ideas you need to know to master GTM.

4. GTM Components

Google Tag Manager consists of Tags, Triggers, Variables, and of course the dataLayer. These components are interconnected and can’t exist separately.

Having a solid understanding of these components and how to connect is essential. Especially if you run into trouble, you need to know how to check each part and make sure they are working as expected. So better learn about the GTM components if you are not confident in their function yet. This leads us to the next essential concept you need to master.

5. GTM DataLayer

what-is-the-data-layer

The DataLayer is a pretty unique piece of technical jargon if you’re just getting started with GTM. But believe me, it can be super powerful once you understand how it works in conjunction with our components and how you can utilize it for your tracking.

Basically, everything is built on the construct of the dataLayer, and if you want to master GTM, you’d better understand how to pull information from it, push information into it and how it can interact with Tags, Triggers and Variables.

To lear more on this, check out our advanced course on the GTM & the Data Layer.

6. GTM Events

Once you have understood the dataLayer, it’s time to dive into another critical dimension of GTM. This is the concept of time.

Time is represented in dataLayer Events that you can use to trigger your Tags upon. They act kind of like “Checkpoints” that you can control your variables, fire your tags, and control sequence in your Tag Deployment.

No… They have absolutely nothing in common with Google Analytics events. So if you don’t know what they are, check out our video on Events in Google Tag Manager.

7. HTML / CSS / Javascript

Google Tag Manager is seen as this non-technical solution to a technical problem, but really it is a fancy JavaScript injector.

If you want to get efficient using it, it is necessary to know your HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Basically, the foundation of how a Website is built – the more, the better.

If you’re a beginner, then check out freeCodeCamp to get started learning concepts of modern Web Development today.

Or for advanced users, check out our advanced Javascript course.

Enough with all the specifics of Google Tag Manager… let’s talk about some principles that you will learn with experience

8. Advantages / Shortcomings of GTM

Once you understand the technical details of GTM a bit closer, you will realize that JavaScript can’t do everything and therefore, GTM also has limitations.

As long as you stay in the browser, GTM can help you to track all kinds of Interactions, but once you leave the browser, GTM can’t be used as efficiently. Be aware of these shortcomings and adjust your Measurement plan accordingly.

9. Debugging

Every seasoned GTM implementer has run into trouble at some point. Knowing how to debug your installation and find the root cause can only be learned by understanding the tools of the trade: the Debug console, the JavaScript console or tools like WASP can reveal what went wrong. Check these Chrome extensions that will help you.

10. Where to get help

This last point is a natural one in any learning experience. To reach any kind of mastery, you will need to know what to do when you get stuck. So being able to know where to look for help needs to be second nature.

Summary

So there you have it, the top 10 fundamental Google Tag Manager skills I think you should master. If you want to take your skills that bit further then check out our MeasureMasters membership, where we have included the best advanced courses, resources, tools, exercises and more to make it happen.

Now, I want to hear from you: Which of these points are you struggling with at the moment or are there any key skills you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.

Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll make sure to help you out as best as I can.

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