The first iteration of Google Tag Manager was inaccessible and unintuitive with a high barrier to entry (implementation was not always a walk in the park). But most of these pitfalls were addressed in the new and improved GTM, well named as GTM 2.0.

2.0 was released in October 2014 with the full migration completed in June; most of you should be working out of the GTM interface.

If you haven’t, this is what the new UI looks like:


Changes and Updates

There are a few notable changes from the old GTM interface that you should be aware of:

1. GTM 2.0 has a new and improved interface that makes working with Google Tag Manager a bit easier. The new UI is all about workflow.

2. It has more tag templates, and you can expect this list to grow:


3. Listener Tags, which were really annoying and all-around confusing, are now a thing of the past! (Thank goodness.)

4. GTM rules are now triggers, macros are now variables and there have been some changes in the way triggers, macros, and tags are supposed to be used.

-The triggers are created a little differently. The whole process is broken down into four steps:

-Choosing a product

-Choosing a tag type

-Configuring tag

-Dictate on which triggers tag should fire

-For a more detailed list and how to use the new container, check out this guide from Optimize Smart.

5. There’s a GTM API option.


Easier event tracking

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, one of the best things to come out of GTM is the ability to track on-site events without in-code implementation. This hasn’t changed with the new iteration of the GTM. The process has, however, changed slightly and to be frank, it’s a lot simpler.

So without further ado, if you you’re looking to track events (for Google Analytics), here’s a step by step on how:

Pre-Step 1: Enable the appropriate built-in variables. Variables I like to enable have a check next to them (below):


Step 1: Create your event tracking tag:


My preferred event naming structure:

Event Category should be the most general overarching category in which you can classify your events. Try to pick something that is general enough that it can encompass your event type (e.g. get directions, phone calls, scroll tracking, etc.).

Event Action can be the action, if there are multiple actions within your category (e.g. a mouseover vs. a copy vs. a click). If there aren’t unique actions, then I like to embed the {{Page Path}} variable because that lets me know which page the event took place on. This simplifies reporting, and if there’s ever a tracking issue, you can revisit the exact page the event occurs on and figure out why certain events are or aren’t working.


Step 2: Add trigger to configure when this tag should fire. All tags require at least one trigger to fire!


Step 3: Specify trigger settings. Here is where you need to specify on-what type of action/event it should fire. In this example, I’m just tracking a link click:



Step 4: Determine when the trigger should be activated. Be very careful if you select “All Clicks”. GTM will fire every time a user clicks, even when it’s just on dead space. In most cases, you’ll want to just track “Some Clicks”:


Step 5: Specify your click conditions! You can find information to fill out these conditions within the code of the page, usually around the element you’re looking to track. In the example below, we’re trying to track a click to a JavaScript-based link:


Here’s where I found the information to put into GTM:


Be as specific as possible! Overly generic conditions may lead to unintentional tracking on other elements.

Caveat: These elements you’re looking to track must have at least one unique identifier or a class of unique identifiers. Otherwise, GTM won’t be able to parse out specifics and will track everything that shares the conditions you’ve specified in your trigger. If the elements lack unique identifiers, you may need to loop in your developer to try to create some.


Step 6: Create your trigger:


Step 7: Save your tag!


Step 8: Preview to debug your tag. This allows you to make sure your tag is behaving the way you’d expect:


Step 9: Once in Preview mode, navigate to your website and to the page that houses the element you’re trying to track.


Complete the action you’re tracking. If it’s a link click, click on the link; if it is form fill, fill out the form, etc. The preview mode (at the bottom of the page) will tell you whether or not a tag was fired:


Step 10: Create version, then publish your tag. Creating a new version allows you to revert to a previous version in case something unexpected happens with your new tag.


If set up properly, data for these events should appear in Google Analytics within 24-36 hours.

That’s all there is to it! Have you been using the new GTM? Let us know what you like about it in the comments.

1 Comment

  1. Sunny July 28th, 2015

    good info!

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Leslie To
Leslie spends most of her time bossing people around and giving her opinions on all things SEO. When not busy doing either of those things, she's probably taking pictures of her cat and posting them on social media. While those images are buffering, she squeezes in time to read, eat and sleep.