Why every analyst should learn the basics of Google Tag Manager


Google Tag Manager or GTM is one of the cornerstones of customising and enriching the data that you store in Google Analytics. While most organisations train their analysts in GA and their developers in GTM, building a truly proactive, data-driven business can be very difficult with such a fine split between the two roles. While people who use the data in GA by no means need to become experts in GTM, they should have some basic understanding of its capabilities, limitations and functionality. If you’re still not convinced then here are five reasons why every analyst should learn the basics of Google Tag Manager:

Understand your data better

When looking at our events, custom dimensions and metrics we often have to take the word of our developers that they track the behaviours that we want them to track. Knowing a little about how GTM works, however, allows analysts to actually go under the hood and check where their data is coming from themselves. This ensures that when choosing dimensions and metrics for reports, visualisations, marketing or optimisation they know exactly what they are reporting on, avoiding the need to make costly assumptions.  

Learn to deploy simple tags yourself

Sometimes what we want to know is so simple that we should be able to track it ourselves, however, for most organisations, this means having to go through the process of sourcing someone to do the work. This can often be a long process for tracking a simple button click or form completion. Knowing the basics of Google Tag Manager can free you up to implement simple tracking yourself without having to go to another person to do the work, making it much faster to get the insights you need for your marketing or optimisation work! 

Build better tracking plans

For bigger tracking projects having a detailed plan of what you are going to track and how you are going to do it is vital to producing clean, usable data. Google Tag Manager is most likely going to be central to this effort, so understanding the basics of GTM will help you provide a clearer outline of what is possible and a better understanding of how this might be achieved.

Learn how to collaborate with your developers

If you work alongside developers then you know that they speak their own language. Similarly, if you work with third-party tag management service providers you need to know how to speak GTM to provide clear requirements, instructions and better understand any issues that come up in the process of building and debugging. This can save you a lot of time and money in the long term and make you a better team member overall.   

Become a better analyst

Not only will knowing the basics of GTM make you a better collaborator, clearer team leader and give you insight into the technical world that developers navigate, it will also expand your vision of what is possible. This can be a fantastic opportunity to learn about all the ways to track your website and user experience, and unlock key areas for development that you haven’t considered in the past.