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Google Tag Manager Tags Explained (with Examples)

Last Modified on January 10, 2024

There are 75 Google Tag Manager tags that you can access directly and 630 from the Community Template Gallery that you can import.

The purpose of this post is to explain these Google Tag Manager tags and their context and provide examples of common tag types you can use for quick configurations.

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This post will be useful if you are starting your journey with Google Tag Manager (GTM), but many experienced users can benefit from some refreshers or examples, such as those related to the Google Tag or maybe tags they’ve never implemented like Floodlight.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Although the examples are beginner-friendly, we recommend that you have at least minimal knowledge of how to use Google Tag Manager.

What are Google Tag Types?

Tag types are the tags listed in Google Tag Manager.

Tags are pieces of code provided by an organization to install their product or functionality on a website or a mobile app. To access them in GTM, click Tags in the left navigation panel. If you are in a new container, the tags section will be empty.

Click the New button to create a new tag. Then, click Choose a tag type to begin setup in the Tag Configuration space.

Choosing a tag type in Tag Manager

Featured Google Tag Manager Tags

You’ll probably spend most of your time using the tag types from the featured section, starting with the standout choice: Google Analytics 4.

Featured tags in Google Tag Manager

Google Analytics

Google Analytics uses the Google Analytics: GA4 Event tag to create events.

Events are user interactions on a website or application. With this tag, you can track how many users scrolled a page, viewed which pages, clicked a button, submitted a form, made a purchase, and much more.

However, for this tag to work, you need to use it with another tag called the Google Tag (more on this later), which gives you access to Google products such as Google Analytics and its measurement features.

In Google Tag Manager’s left panel, click Tags → New button → Tag Configuration Google Analytics → Analytics: GA4 Event.

Google Analytics for GA4 event tag in GTM

A working GA4 event tag in GTM requires at least two settings:

  • Measurement ID: the identifier of where your data comes from like your website or app.
  • Event Name: a specific name for the interaction you’re tracking, which should use Google’s naming convention (as a best practice).

Other optional settings include:

  • Event parameters: extra details about the interaction you’re tracking
GA4 event tag configuration example

💡 Top Tip: Check this resource on how to Install Google Analytics 4 with Google Tag Manager to learn more.

Google Ads

Google Ads comes with multiple Google Tag Manager tags you can choose from.

Follow the same steps we did to access the GA4 tag and select Google Ads instead.

List of Google Ads tag types

Here’s a list of the Google Ads tag types:

  • Google Tag – Load the Google tag associated with your Google Ads account
  • Conversion Linker – Link ads click data to ads events
  • Google Ads Conversion Tracking – Send an event to track conversions
  • Google Ads Remarketing – Send a remarketing event to Google Ads
  • Google Ads Calls from Website Conversion – Send an event to track calls
  • Google Ads User-provided Data Event – Send an event to enable enhanced conversions for web

We will focus on the Google Ads Conversion Tracking and Google Ads Remarketing tags.

For the Google Tag and Conversion Linker, please read their dedicated section on this post.

Google Ads Conversion Tracking

The Google Ads Conversion Tracking tag type is to be set on the pages where you want to track actions that are valuable to your business.

First, you have to create a Conversion action in the Google Ads platform which will come with its tag. This tag can then be placed in your website source code or using GTM.

To do this in GTM, follow the same steps we did earlier with other tag types to create a new tag, except this time select Google Ads. Select the Google Ads Conversion Tracking tag type.

Google Ads conversion tracking tag type

Enter your Conversion ID and Conversion label. The ones in the image are made up.

Image of tag with missing conversion linker

🚨 Note: You need the Conversion Linker to measure your ads more effectively. Without it, you’ll see the message Conversion Linker tag missing in the container.

Configuring the Conversion Linker tag is easy to do. You’ll be prompted to create one, so just follow the steps.

This information is found in your Google Ads account, in the Settings and Tag setup for your conversion.

Google Ads selecting tag installation method

Google Ads Remarketing

Remarketing is when you re-engage your website or app visitors, who may be potential customers.

If you’ve ever checked a product you wanted to buy, then forgot, but later saw an ad elsewhere at a different time showing you that product, this is an example of remarketing.

There are 2 types of remarketing:

  • Standard remarketing
  • Dynamic remarketing

Both come with tags that can be placed on your website across all your pages or specific pages by using Google Tag Manager. GTM helps us also to configure when this tag should be fired.

First, you’ll have to create Data segments in Google Ads using the Audience Manager. The Audience manager is where you’ll set up and manage Data segments and Audience sources.

An Audience source is a first-party data source you use to collect data that you’ll use to create your segments.

Data segments are like lists, and visitors are added to this list based on rules you set (e.g., visitors who viewed your product). These segments are then used in your Google Ads campaigns for a duration of time.

In GTM, you’ll need to set up:

  • The Conversion Linker
  • The Conversion ID which you can find in the Audience
Google Ads remarketing tag example

Google Tag

The Google Tag is crucial now for Google products to work properly.

Rather than having multiple configuration tags for each Google Product, you can now use one tag to access Google’s products and services.

The Google tag acts as a central data source, sending information that different platforms called destinations (e.g., Google Analytics, Google Ads, etc.) need for measurement and analysis.

Let’s look at an example with GA4.

GA4 configuration tag with Google Tag

The Google Tag template came as a replacement for the Google Analytics 4: Configuration Tag.

The configuration tag was the first step in the process of installing GA4 within Google Tag Manager (GTM). You couldn’t send events to GA4 without this initial configuration.

If you were using the previous configuration, Google Analytics has now automatically updated your account without any impact on your measurement setup.

Three capabilities the Google Tag offers:

  • Enhanced integration with other Google products
  • Configuration settings variable
  • Event Settings Variable

Enhanced integration with other Google products

The Google Tag will be able to send data to different destinations. Destinations are products from Google that you use to measure data.

Destinations also share some relationship with Google by sharing their configurations or receiving data from Google Tag.

At the moment, Google Ads accounts and GA4 web data streams are the only destinations. If this changes when you’re reading this post and we haven’t updated it, please let us know.

Configuration settings variable

In Configuration settings, when you create a variable in the Configuration Settings Variable, it affects all your other Google Tags (if you have more than one, but most of the time, you’ll likely just have one which is why this one has None).

This could be things like cookies or your server-side URL.

Configuration settings variable

However, if you add a Configuration Parameter, it only applies to that specific Google Tag.

To sum up, the Configuration settings variable is for making settings that work for all your Google Tags, like global settings.

On the other hand, the “Event settings variable” is for adding extra settings just for a particular event, giving you more control over specific details for each event.

Event Settings Variable

If you frequently use certain parameters, instead of manually adding them to each tag for every event, you can set them up once and then reuse them across different events. You’ll only need to reference them in your other events.

This is done in the Shared Events Settings section.

Shared event settings

To sum up, the Configuration Settings Variable is for making settings that work for all your Google Tags, like global settings.

On the other hand, the Event settings Variable is for adding extra settings just for a particular event, giving you more control over specific details for each event.

Both work similarly, but one sets rules for the entire playground, while the other adds custom features to individual games.

Floodlight

Floodlight, part of the Google Marketing Platform, is a conversion tracking system used for Campaign Manager 360, Display & Video 360, and Search Ads 360. Similar to Google Analytics, Floodlight uses tags to track website activities and provides reporting features.

Floodlight activities are events and conversions you want to track, and they are shared across Search Ads 360 and Campaign Manager 360.

This integration simplifies the process, saving time by using a single set of tags for display and search ads to prevent double counting across channels (therefore better attribution).

Each Floodlight activity generates an automatic tag that needs to be placed on your desired web page. This is where Google Tag Manager (GTM) comes in, as it facilitates this process.

In GTM, you’ll see Floodlight Counter and Floodlight Sales tag types.

Floodlight Counter and Floodlight Sales tags in GTM

Floodlight Counter and Floodlight Sales Tags

When creating a Floodlight activity, you have to instruct Floodlight about how to track and measure your conversions. To achieve this, you must set a counting method, choosing between Counter Activities and Counter Sales.

Counter Activities offers three distinct ways of counting the number of conversions associated with an event. On the other hand, Counter Sales is employed to track the number of sales made or the quantity of items purchased.

Counter activitiesSales activities
Standard: Counts every conversionUnique: Counts the first conversion for each unique user during each 24-hour day.

Per session: Counts one conversion per user per session. You can define the length of a session for your site.
Transactions: Counts all conversions, plus the total number of sales that take place and the total associated revenue.

Items sold: Counts each conversion, plus the total number of items sold and the total associated revenue.

The tag that you create inherits these two counting methods. That’s why they’re called Floodlight Counter tags in Tag Manager.

There are two ways to utilize these tags in Google Tag Manager (GTM):

  1. Pushing the tag directly from the Campaign Manager 360 user interface into GTM.
  2. Manually adding the tag within the Google Tag Manager user interface (i.e., Floodlight counter tags).

This is an example of how the second will look:

Floodlight counter tag in GTM

Please use a better naming conversion for the tag than I did!

Conversion Linker

Conversion Linker is a tag that is used to ensure that your tags measure your conversions accurately as they relate to your ads. Conversion linker tags assist other tags to track click data and use it to measure conversions better.

An example of how this works is when someone clicks on your ads and performs a desired action on your website (like making a purchase). So, the system accurately tracks and attributes that action to the ad click.

You’ll also see it being recommended in your lists of ad-related tag types. They’re the same.

You can learn how to create it with a few clicks by following our tutorial on Google Ads Conversion Tracking with GTM.

Custom

There may be times when you need to add data to your website, such as script, metadata, or a link to a product not supported by Tag Manager. When nothing is listed in GTM’s tag types, you can address this with custom tag types, either Custom HTML or Custom Image.

Custom tag types in GTM

Custom HTML:

With a Custom HTML tag, you can inject data into your website for tracking. This allows you to deploy a tag not supported by GTM, and the code is usually provided by your third-party vendor.

Here are some cool examples of what you can achieve with Custom HTML tags using Tag Manager and ChatGPT.

Custom Image:

The Custom Image tag is used to deploy a pixel tag. So what is the difference between a Custom HTML and a Custom Image tag?

Simply put, the pixel tag is a transparent image (invisible to users) placed on a website to track simple but focused conversions. In contrast, the Custom HTML tag or any marketing tag can track a wider range of data and embed various scripts.

More:

These are also custom tag templates from third-party vendors approved by Google. If there’s something you feel we’ve missed, we do explain GTM custom templates fully here.

Community Template Gallery

Here, you explore tag and variable templates created by third-party developers who are part of the Google Tag Manager Community. These templates are not built by Google, and therefore, Google cannot guarantee how they work.

Summary

We hope that by now, you will be more knowledgeable about tag types and how they work. We’ve explored various Google Tag Manager tags offered by Google, providing real examples to illustrate their functionality.

This includes delving into potentially confusing tag types like Google Tag and those that may not be fully broken down, such as Floodlight. Additionally, we’ve examined custom tag types built by third-party developers.

Check out our comparison of Google Tag Manager vs Google Analytics and learn how to use them in tandem.

Now, what aspects of tag management are you most curious about? If we’ve overlooked something please let us know!

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