Improve Your PPC Campaigns with Google Tag Manager

Improve your PPC Campaigns with Google Tag Manager

Google’s powerful free tool that simplifies data tracking and improves PPC performance.

Improve your PPC Campaigns with Google Tag Manager

Have you ever done a Google search for a specific make and model of vehicle, only to have it start “haunting” you? Suddenly, ads for a 1999 BMW Z3 are popping up in the sidebars of webpages, and even in your Facebook news feed.

This apparent witchcraft is actually no more than something called “remarketing,” and it’s done by carefully tracking your online behavior.

But it’s not as sinister as it sounds. The way our browsers store data is actually designed in a way that’s supposed to make our lives easier. The main goal of tracking this information is to tailor your browsing experience specifically to you. From passwords to preferences, from items in your shopping cart to your latest high score, the “spying” is actually meant to help.

Facebook Remarketing Example

A website I visited earlier quickly appeared in my personal Facebook feed.

In the world of digital marketing, this tracking is highly beneficial as ad campaigns are adjusted based on the results found in the data they collect.

However, the successful tracking of this data can prove to be difficult and time consuming for your average business owner. Very few can afford to spend time mastering the intricacies that make up digital marketing analytics.

Often, this means hiring a web management team, and doing so creates additional hurdles between your business and its data.

Third-party web developers will require you to submit requests for changes to your site, wait for the changes to be implemented, and then wait for them to be tested to ensure they work.

In addition to simply delaying your entire digital marketing process, sharing access to your site increases its vulnerability. This places you at a greater risk of accidental, or even malicious, changes to your site’s sensitive coding. As a result, your PPC campaign can suffer.

Enter Google Tag Manager, the easy solution to the most difficult part of your digital marketing efforts.

Breaking Down Google Tag Manager

When it comes to tracking your PPC data efficiently, it all starts with a tag.

What is a tag?

The word “tag” describes any piece of code, typically Javascript, that a website uses to record data.

For example, if you want to track the number of purchases made on your website, you would place a tag on your site’s “Thank You” page that appears after a sale is completed.

Once in place, tags are given a set of instructions on when to “fire.” Firing takes place when a specific action is completed, this could mean a certain click, or simply the page being displayed. In the previous case, your tag would fire at the end of every sale.

When the tag fires, data is collected by setting a cookie, or sending information to the browser.

What Roles Do Tags Play in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising?

Knowing the steps that you took from first being exposed to an advertisement, to ultimately buying a product or filling out a lead form, is an extremely useful tool to digital marketers.

That’s where tags come in: They can precisely track this journey and provide insights that aid in adjusting and improving your ad campaign.

The foundation for tracking site data is Google Analytics, which tracks how many visitors came to your page and how much time they spent there, among other things. In addition, you’ll want to track conversions for Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and any social media ads, such as Facebook Ads.

Each of these programs require additional tags that you’ll need to place on certain pages, depending on whatever you want to track.

So if you went from seeing an ad—to clicking a paid search link—to making a purchase, the tags can document this journey, and you can adjust and improve your campaign accordingly.

But With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility…

The use of tags is not without complications. These are some of the issues that may arise:

  • An increase in activity and popularity will most likely warrant an increase in tags. A problem occurs when an excess of third-party tags begins to crowd your website’s code. Too many tags can slow down your page, and inhibit its overall performance.
  • Frequent tinkering with your page’s code is a great way for mistakes to happen. When the slightest error in code occurs, it could have devastating effects on your page.
  • Outsourcing the coding work to a third party means extra hands in the sensitive inner workings of your website, which could make for a security risk. Furthermore, many web developers have minimum turnaround times of at least 24 hours, putting you temporarily out of business while you wait for them to finish.

Thankfully, there is a free tool that allows you circumvent all the above complications. This is of course, Google Tag Manager.

How does Google Tag Manager Work?

Imagine your website’s code as a cluttered office. If you have papers all over your desk, and you suddenly need to find and file something from last week, you’re going to encounter difficulty.

Designed to perform just like it’s named, Google Tag Manager helps you manage all the important tracking codes for the tags your site needs in a single dashboard.

Google Tag Manager acts as your filing cabinet by neatly placing your tags in what is referred to as a “Container,” taking all the hard coding work out of tag placement.

Now you can add, remove, and modify the tags on your website directly through the Containers on the Google Tag Manager dashboard. This way, you don’t have to mess around with the coding in your website each time you want to track something new.

The code in your webpage also becomes physically less messy, as long lists of tags are replaced by a single Container.

The Google Tag Manager structure and what code looks like before and after implementing tag management.

The Google Tag Manager structure and what code looks like before and after implementing tag management. Images via Moz.com and Online-Behavior.com.

How Google Tag Manager can benefit your PPC campaign

By using Google Tag Manager, you save time and money.

Without having to edit the hard-coding of your site, tags can now be implemented and adjusted through one simple dashboard. This eliminates the need for costly third-party web developers who often require 24 hours or more to make these changes.

Fewer hands in your code also means less room for potentially disastrous mistakes, as well as a significantly lowered security risk.

Make sure that your digital advertising campaign is taking advantage of this powerful tool. Contact your PPC account manager today to have it set up on your account.