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If you're a B2B marketer, you're probably obsessed with your customers, and you attempt to collect data from them during their buyer journeys. You'd like to know more than just the source of your website traffic, referrals, and conversions: How often do people visit your webpages? How long do they stay? When do they leave? What content is getting the most conversions?

Without such data, marketers can't see what they're doing right and, more important, what they're doing wrong.

Many B2B marketers continue to use Google's old Universal Analytics platform for website lead attribution, even though Google Tag Manager was released in 2012 to improve its tracking capabilities.

If you're a digital marketer and you don't use Tag Manager yet, it's time to get up to speed.

What is Google Tag Manager?

Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a "container" in which all tags are held, including from Google Analytics and other third-party integrations.

We're huge fans of GTM at Walker Sands, and we haven't looked back since making the switch. We use it for the majority of our analytics tracking and management. (We also relied on data collected by GTM as we migrated walkersands.com from our custom CMS to WordPress after a redesign.)

Still need some convincing? Here are five reasons B2B marketers should implement Google Tag Manager into their analytics programs.

1. Marketers can use it. If you're accustomed to using analytics, you know the frustration of wanting to track something new, but needing to wait a week for a Web developer to go into the backend of each page you want changed and update the code; or, worse, you've tried to code a change yourself, and it's resulted in some pretty major consequences (don't worry, we've all accidentally taken a site or two down in our day).

Luckily for marketers, Google Tag Manager typically doesn't require coding. It allows marketers to easily add, remove, and edit tags within the user-friendly workspace—all without any assistance from IT.

2. Changes to the site are made much faster. Unlike Universal Analytics, which requires that you add code to each page and leaves lots of room for error, GTM enables you to easily deploy trigger types—such as pageviews, button clicks, form submissions (yes, even forms that don't live on your website), page scrolls, and other custom events that you define—across the entire site.

Moreover, GTM minimizes the time between the formation and implementation of ideas. Marketers are empowered to make rapid pivots and modifications to tags as they observe the behavior of their audiences. If you make a change you don't like, GTM's versions functionality allows you to restore a previous version of tags and triggers you published.

3. All data from analytics tools can be found in one place. Google Tag Manager integrates with numerous third-party platforms, allowing marketers to add tags from other sites with the click of a button. For example, you can quickly deploy GTM's LinkedIn Insight Tag to track conversions from LinkedIn ads, automatically deliver targeted remarketing ads to visitors from LinkedIn, and garner additional insights on your visitors.

4. Marketers know exactly where their data is coming from. By default, Universal Analytics offers only high-level data, such as pageviews; tracking more granular events, such as downloads, requires custom JavaScript code. GTM puts the power of specificity into the hands of marketers.

Now, you can set the rules for when tags fire. For example, you can set off a trigger when someone clicks "play" on an embedded video on your site. You can then get more granular data on how many people saw a link to the video but chose not to watch it: You merely add a trigger that fires the moment the video becomes visible to a user—whether by scrolling, navigating to a page or performing another action. You can even set a rule for what percentage of the element must be visible for the tag to fire.

5. No more second-guessing the numbers. Specific event-based triggers (such as visitors' submitting a form or clicking "download" buttons) are more insightful and accurate than generic pageviews and session durations. Tracking conversions based on pageviews can get tricky because, for example, if a conversion count is triggered by a person visiting a "thank you" page, a visitor could theoretically refresh the page 10 times and throw your numbers way off.

The time is now

Considering the nearly endless ways you can customize tags with GTM to track data, you have no reason to delay your analytics migration. From small startups to large enterprises, GTM is a great—not to mention, free—alternative to other tag management systems that are still catching up to Google's tech.

Switching over to a new system can be a challenging process, but there are tons of resources online to ensure you do it properly.

And don't worry, your current tracking method can live alongside GTM until you're ready to switch over completely.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Scott Zimmerman

Scott Zimmerman is a search analyst at Walker Sands Communications, specializing in buyer journey tracking and technical website performance for technology companies.

LinkedIn: Scott Zimmerman