Google Tag Manager for beginners — Understanding Google Tag Manager

I started with Google Tag Manager for Beginners course on CXL, and my tutor is Chris Mercer from

In this post, I’ll try to cover as much as I can, as taught in the Basic Google Tag Manager course. The training programs have a number of core items, and the course covers the following items:

  • Setting Google Google Tag Manager
  • Understanding the Basic functionalities of different essential elements to use Google Tag Manager

What Tag Managers are:

Google Tag Manager is a free tag management system that allows webmasters to manage and deploy different codes or tracking pixels on the website without modifying the website code.

The basic difference between Tag Manager and Analytics is that Google Analytics collects, stores, and reports the data used for further analysis. However, analytics can’t collect all the details required for detailed analysis.


There are several predefined custom and third-party tags that Google Tag Manager offers. Tags are basically scripts that will let the tag manager know what needs to be done with that tag. So, for example, When someone lands on a page, and we have a tag set up to send the user behavior data on Analytics or Facebook or any other platform, we will create a tag that will instruct the tag manager to send the data.

Technically it’s a piece of script that’s pushed on the page by the tag manager through a tag manager. So, instead of you doing it and copying and pasting on the pages, you’re letting the tag manager do it for you as you’re standing as your proxy.

There are a number of pre-defined tags added into the Google Tag manager that includes Google Analytics, GA4 Configuration, Google Ads, Google Optimize, Hotjar, Twitter and more. However, if we don’t have a Third-party integration tag in GTM, then we will use Custom HTML to track the data.



Triggers work as an instruction to Tags in Tag Manager when we want Google Tag Manager to do something.

For an Example:

With the Triggers in Tag Manager, we can tell Tag Manager when a page view occurs, meaning whenever the page loads, I want you to go ahead and fire these particular tags. So when a page view occurs, I want you to fire these tags, so every single time that might be a particular trigger, every single time a page view occurs, go ahead and fire these tags, right? So every time the page loads, these tags are fired. These are the what, so fire and let AdWords know, and Facebook, Hotjar, Analytics, and PayPal.These are the what’s, and these are the actual tags. This is the when pageview. When a pageview occurs, fire these tags. When a pageview occurs, fire these tags. When this pageview occurs, fire these tags.

Resource Guide:


A variable is just information that Google Tag Manager needs in order to do its job. Likewise, a Tag Manager variable is just information in the hands of Google Tag Manager.

There are 2 Types of Variables in Google Tag Manager. There are built-in variables, and there are user-defined variables.

Just know that there are built-ins that come standard. These are already set up for you. They’re pre-configured out of the box, and then there are user-defined variables.


Built-In Variables:


What exactly is a data layer? What’s the best way to think about it, and remember, it’s just a filing cabinet. It’s a virtual filing cabinet that’s on the page. When Tag Manager scripts load, it creates a data layer. It’s a temporary place to store the data.

Data layer variables enable Tag Manager to read values from your data layer implementation and pass those to tags, triggers, and other variables. A data layer object comprises a list of key/value pairs. A key is a category of things — a book’s category, title, or author. Each key could have different values. For example, a book’s title key could have a value of ‘Ulysses,’ ‘War and Peace, ‘A Brief History of Time,’ etc.

Resource Guide:

The next section of the course included setting up tags and triggers in Tag Manager and how to configure tags for different data like page view, Scroll.

#Scripts & Pixels

We discussed setting up different scripts and tracking like Google Ads and Facebook Pixel using Custom HTML in this lesson. So Tag Manager has different built-in tags that are available, but of course, there are not going to be built-in tags many times. That’s when we use a custom HTML tag.

We discussed the Conversion Linker. If we’re using Google Ads, we do typically want to use the Conversion Linker because we want to make sure we’re tracking conversions across the customer journey. The linker helps to do that with Google Tag Manager.



This lesson covers different elements to track engagement like Time on Site, Scroll Depth, Youtube Videos. During the lessons, we discussed setting up Timer’s built-in variable and setting up a tag and trigger to fire that tag at different times of the website to track the user behavior during that time.

Then we discussed using the Scroll variable to track the engagement on the page and how users are using that particular page.

And we also learned about the idea of the non-interaction events and how events will affect bounce rate by default unless we turn them off.

Then we discussed setting up different events on Youtube videos embedded on the website page. We’ve tracked specific user behavior using YouTube triggers and video variables. We tracked different behaviors like starting the video, pausing the video, progress of the video and completing the video.

Resource Guide :

The next part of the lesson includes some advanced GTM features like understanding the Data Layer, how the data layer reads and stores the data, cross-domain tracking, tag sequencing, and formatting variables.




SEO Manager at Coalition Technologies

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Predictions About Software Development Trends In 2021

Can I export 3D graphics to the .WML (VRML 2.0) or .OBJ file formats?

5 Dirtiest New Chrome Features.

cs371p Spring 2020: Week 12

Deploying Database Migrations with Spinnaker and Kubernetes

Introduction to Python Programming Part 3— Containers

First Look at AlloyDB for PostgreSQL

Your Phone Pictures’ Metadata Explained by a Junior Developer

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Deepak Garg

Deepak Garg

SEO Manager at Coalition Technologies

More from Medium

The Ultimate Guide To Creating Your Customer Journey

What More Can WhatsApp Offer It’s Users?

Google Tag Manager for beginners — Understanding Google Tag Manager Part 3

The Birth Agonies of Big Data