Google Tag Manager Vs Google Analytics: A Complete Tutorial

Team TypeStack
Team TypeStack ...
Nov 30, 2022  . 9 min read
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Difference between Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics - TypeStack
Difference between Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics - TypeStack
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Have you given thought to how you would track the traffic that your website attracts? That’s where the two most popular tools come in: Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics. But when it comes to Google tag manager vs Google analytics, which one wins the race?

One of the main goals of running a website is being able to attract as much traffic as possible. The more traffic your website has, the more chances you have to make conversions, be ranked higher in the search engine result pages (SERPs), and build long-lasting business relationships, the benefits keep on coming. In this article, we will discuss Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics in length, know about their differences, and how they work for you.

So, let’s begin by understanding both of them in detail.

What is Google Tag Manager?

Google Tag Manager is a tag management system or TMS. It allows you to configure and quickly update measurement codes and related code fragments, which are collectively known as tags. They are found on both, your website, as well as on your mobile application.

As you add the small segment of Tag Manager code to your project, it will provide you with the ability to optimize tag development, reduce tag configuration errors, and safely and easily deploy analytics and even measurement tag configurations using a web-based UI.

In short, the main benefit that a marketer like yourself can get from Tag Manager is that you will be able to manage the code on your own. You won’t need the assistance of a developer.

What is Google Analytics?

In a nutshell, Google Analytics provides you with the tools, at no cost, to understand the journey of your customers, and significantly improve your marketing return on investment (ROI). It helps you gain a complete and comprehensive understanding of your customers across various devices and platforms.

Google Analytics is a web analytics service that provides you with statistics and basic analytical tools for search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing purposes. With this, you can easily track your website’s performance and gather visitor insights.

It also helps your business to determine what are the top sources of user traffic, track goal completions (such as purchases made), discover trends and patterns in user engagement, obtain visitor information, and much more.

Businesses of all sizes use Google Analytics. Small and medium-sized retail websites often use it to gather and analyze numerous customer behavior analytics and significantly enhance marketing campaigns, retain visitors, and attract more traffic to their websites.

Now, let us focus on Google Tag Manager vs Google Analytics.

What is the difference between Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics?

Both Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics are indeed tools by Google that are used to track data on websites. However, both of them serve different purposes. The former is used to manage tags on a website, and the latter is used to analyze website data.

Let’s talk about Google Tag Manager vs Google Analytics from various perspectives.

Usefulness

Google Tag Manager is used to handle one or multiple tags. However, this does not have the ability to store, analyze, or report any online traffic data. So, it can not be used in place of Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is used to collect, evaluate and analyze website visitors’ data. However, it is not capable of managing more than one tag. So, as a result, you can not use this in place of Google Tag Manager.

Reports on website traffic data

Google Tag Manager is a tag management tool and is unable to give reports on the traffic that your website can attract. However, it enables you to add, update, deactivate, enable, or even delete tags from your website or mobile application.

With Google Analytics, you can gather information regarding how many people abandoned their shopping carts, which marketing channel generated the most leads for your website, what are the best-selling products of your store, in the last week, which products were most popular, what the most visited sections of your website, and much more.

So, to sum it up, Google Analytics generates reports on website traffic data, and Google Tag Manager does not.

Container tag

A container tag is used to store one or more than one promotional and analytics tags, along with their associated variables. So, when you use Google Tag Manager with a container tag, it offers you all the required functionality to execute and install tags on your website.

So, to sum it up, Google Tag Manager uses container tags, and Google Analytics does not.

Data source

Being a data management tool, Google Tag Manager enables the transfer of data across multiple data sources. However, it is not a source of data itself. It lacks the ability to store data.

Google Analytics is a data source that uses metrics and dimensions to collect multiple types of information about a website, its visitors, devices, and activities. Data is stored on the servers of the company and can be accessed easily for reporting purposes.

To sum it up, Google Tag Manager is not a data source, and Google Analytics is one.

Both are independent of each other

Google Tag Manager can be used without having to use Google Analytics.

The same goes for Google Analytics, as it can be used without having to use Google Tag Manager.

So, when it comes to Google Tag Manager vs Google Analytics, both are independent of each other.

Storing or analyzing data

Do not confuse Google Tag Manager as a database. It does not have the ability to gather any promotional or analytical information, unlike Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is more of a database. It processes the data it has acquired according to your configuration options, and reports on the data.

Google Tag Manager is not a database, and Google Analytics is one.

Google Tag Manager events vs Google Analytics events

Events represent the number of interactions that have happened on your website. In Google Tag Manager, to view the events, you need to enable GTM’s Preview and Debug mode. To do that, you need to click the Preview button on the right top corner of the Google Tag Manager interface.

After enabling that, it will be opened in a new tab, and your website will be loaded in a different tab simultaneously.

Once you have enabled the preview mode, you need to navigate to the preview mode’s tab, and then you will be able to see the information about your tags, along with their firing status and the data that is being processed.

On the left side of the Preview and Debug panel, you will be able to see a list of definitions. Those are your Google Tag Manager events.

Now let’s talk about Google Analytics. You will be able to find events in various reports. Your website sends the data for this report from ‘event hits’ to Google Analytics servers.

When a user logs into their account or any other such event has occurred on your website, the Google Analytics Event will be fired, and the necessary data containing the event name and a parameter method will be given to Google Analytics.

You will be able to see these events in the GA4 DebugView, and other reports as well after some time.

Google Analytics conversions

Conversions in Google Analytics are the actions that your website takes, to convert itself into your customers, subscribers, or leads.

By analyzing your conversions, you can determine whether your visitors are engaging with your marketing efforts, and can quickly move through the different steps that take them closer to making a purchase.

There are two types of conversions:

Micro-conversion: These are also known as soft conversions, and are the smaller steps involved in the journey to the main conversion event. The metrics included in this are click-through rate (CTR) on signing up for a newsletter, downloading a whitepaper, or viewing a demo video.

Macro-conversions: These are larger, end-goal events like signing up, or making a purchase.

You must take into account both, micro and macro conversions for a broader picture of how your visitors are behaving when they interact with your website. This will help you have a clear understanding of which pages, features, and content are your customers engaging with the most and which you should consider editing or omitting.

Google Analytics to Google Tag Manager Migration

If you are already running your website using Google Analytics, and wish to migrate to Google Tag Manager, you need to know that you are moving the control of what and how your data is going to report in Google Analytics to Google Tag Manager.

In other words, you are shifting the entire working load of your website from Google Analytics to Google Tag Manager. You will have to remove the Google Analytics codes from your website and add the Google Tag Manager container code to all the pages of your website.

You need to be extremely careful during the migration process, because if it is done wrong, you will break your setup, and the new data will be either lost or corrupted.

The recommended steps for the migration process are as follows:

  • Map your website
  • On your website, install the Tag Manager code
  • Add Events and Variables
  • Configure tags along with their related triggers in Tag Manager
  • Final swap of old tags and publish your tags in Google Tag Manager

To sum it up!

Understanding the difference between Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager is a confusing task in itself. But, we hope that this article focused on Google Tag Manager vs Google Analytics made your understanding of these two tools a little better.

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