Google just announced the Google Tag – a simple, centralized, reusable tag designed to improve data quality and adopt new features without having to modify and install more code. The Google markup is an upgrade and renaming of the global site markup.
What is Google Tag. The new Google Tag is a single, reusable tag built on top of your existing gtag.js implementations. Google says the tag will roll out over the next week and should be on all pages of your site. They claim the label will “help you reliably measure impact and maintain user trust.”
New features without code. According to Christophe Combette, director of ad measurement products at Google, the new site tag will have more code-free features, such as analyzing events, managing tags from one central screen, and using a single line of code to enable multiple products, accounts and features from the interface. There will also be more measurement capabilities that protect privacy, better data quality and greater ease of use. Users will also be able to use their existing Google Tag installation when setting up another Google product or account or creating new conversion actions instead of configuring additional code each time.
Will the global site tag be discontinued. While Combette claims that the site’s global label brand will go astray, the tag itself will not. Users with a global site tag installed will continue to work as usual. The global site tag will continue to work and tag implementations will not change. The global site tag will have new capabilities if you want to adjust settings or create new accounts.
Advertisers with multiple instances of gtag.js can now aggregate these tags and centrally manage their settings on the Google Tags screens in Google Ads and Google Analytics. Since it will be easier to set up site-wide tagging and merge or reuse tags, you can easily increase the number of tagged pages with a consistent configuration. This helps improve measurement, leading to higher quality customer insights. You can also now manage user access to product tag settings in one dedicated place, giving you greater control over who has access to critical measurement settings.
Which products will have the new Google tag. Google says: “The Google tag already works with many Google products such as Google Ads, Campaign Manager, Display & Video 360, Search Ads 360, Google Analytics and more. The new Google Tag codeless tagging capabilities will initially be available in Google Ads and Google Analytics, and will eventually be rolled out to other products.”
What Google says. You can read about the new Google tag, its capabilities and best practices here.
Why do we care? Publishing a new tag can confuse advertisers. It’s unclear whether advertisers using the global site tag should keep theirs in place or replace it with Google’s new tag. It’s also unclear what happens if users choose not to install the new Google tag. If the global site tag will include new capabilities, what incentive do advertisers have to use the new one? However, the new Google tag seems more intuitive and easier to manage. If Google can make the transition smooth and uncomplicated, then it could be a win.
Q&A with Christophe Combette, Product Director of Ad Measurement, Google
What is labeling and why is it so important?
Understanding the effectiveness of online advertising and website behavior with digital marketing and measurement tools requires advertisers to measure various interactions on their websites. It is the foundation of measurement and is essential in enabling companies to implement privacy-focused measurement tools such as Mode of consent or Privacy Sandbox in the coming months. Branding is critical to a sustainable and effective measurement strategy.
Tagging is the underlying code that drives site-wide metrics in Google Ads and Google Analytics so that advertisers, businesses, and marketers can better understand customer activity and gain actionable insights. Looking a little more technically, tags are bits of code that enable this online measurement. Tagging typically involves a marketer or developer adding a basic or global tag for each measurement tool they use to all pages of their website, and sometimes adding event tags to measure key interactions, such as submitting a contact form or completing an online purchase.
What is the new Google tag?
A Google tag is an extension and renaming of an existing global site tag. At a time when measurement is more important than ever, it’s critical that companies can lay a solid foundation. To help advertisers, marketers, and businesses continue to measure conversions while adapting to ecosystem changes and respecting user privacy, it’s essential to have high-quality markup throughout the site.
A Google tag is – at its core – one tag. For example, if an advertiser has two Google Ads accounts, they only need to tag once where previously multiple tags would be required. This works the same for an advertiser using Google Ads and Google Analytics.
The new Google tag includes code-free features and experiences for customers that will allow them to take advantage of more privacy-protecting measurement capabilities, better data quality and greater ease of use.
Why is the Google tag replacing the global site tag?
Google’s tag is an evolution of the global site tag and builds on its existing capabilities. It’s a more efficient and seamless experience for customers and will enable businesses, large and small, to manage tags more efficiently and use privacy-preserving measurement solutions more easily.
Is there an expiration date for the global site tag?
Advertisers, marketers and businesses currently using the Global Site Tag will not need any changes. Although the global site tag branding will be deprecated, tag implementations will not change and existing tag implementations will continue to work. Those with a global site tag will now have new capabilities available if they need to adjust tag settings, create new accounts in existing products, or start using new products (eg Google Ads or Google Analytics).
How does the new Google tag differ from the current global site tag?
The new Google markup will include more code-free features where previously code changes on the page may have been required. For example, before Google’s markup, every event you wanted to understand had to be set up by coding on the page—something that required expertise and bandwidth. With new no-code capabilities, advertisers and businesses can do this through the user interface.
In addition, Google Analytics and Google Ads customers will be able to consolidate and manage their tags from one central location on the newly introduced “Google tag” screens. For advertisers without deep technical knowledge (especially those with multiple accounts or using multiple Google products), this makes managing your tags easier and faster and improves consistency.
For example, before the Google tag, when starting to use Google Analytics or Google Ads, an advertiser was instructed to install the global site tag (gtag.js). If you wanted to set up a different product or account, you would need to add an extra line of code to your gtag.js implementation to start measuring with that other product. With the new Google Tags experience, customers will be able to use a single installation of gtag.js to enable multiple products, accounts, and features from within the product interface.
Is the implementation of the new tag the same or how will it change?
In general, the first implementation of a Google tag on a website is the same as for a global website tag. The key difference is that now the tag only needs to be installed once. Setting up a second or third product or account will not require additional tag implementation. Plus, we work with some of the top content management systems and web platforms to make integrations easier – so if an advertiser or business uses a popular CMS, they may not need to implement any code at all.
Will the Google tag be used for all Google products or only for Google Ads? Or, if not all products, which Google products can be tagged.
The Google tag already works with many Google products, such as Google Ads, Campaign Manager, Display & Video 360, Search Ads 360, Google Analytics, etc. Google’s new codeless tagging capabilities will initially be available in Google Ads and Google Analytics, and will eventually expand to other products.
How it works (from the same supporting documentation) – what is different and what remains the same.
When it comes to being different, it’s about simplification, ease of use, flexibility and enhanced features. Customers who are currently set up and don’t want any extensions won’t see any changes – although they’ll get more features and flexibility right away.
For new customers or customers looking to set up a different product or account, they will now be able to use one existing tag to extend, eliminating many of the steps along the way.
What are the best practices for marketers using the Google tag?
First and foremost, the Google tag must be placed on all pages of the advertiser’s, company’s or marketer’s website. This will ensure they get the best possible metrics from their Google tag and allow them to adapt new features as they become available.
Next, if you already have multiple tags installed on your site, consider combining them to centrally manage settings and take advantage of combined page coverage.
Organizations with custom-built websites should consider working with developers on implementation events and parameters for key user actions. While more and more metrics will be possible without code, working with developers to instrument important events and data that would otherwise be difficult to capture without code (such as e-commerce data from custom websites) can help achieve richer metrics.
Is there anything to watch out for? (E.g. configuration? any problems if you have a global site tag and a new google tag in your code at the same time? Could this cause problems)
The Google tag will give customers a better tagging experience. As previously mentioned, customers with multiple existing tags should consider combining them on the new screen with Google Tags in Google Ads and Analytics for centralized settings management.
For example, when two Google tags have been merged, using the ID from either original tag will work to load the combined tag. When two instances of a combo tag are running on a given page, only the first configuration on the page will take effect. Customers who use many page configurations in their global site tags today should consider updating their markup settings when combining tags. New Google tags screens will guide users through these actions.
Is it compatible with Google Tag Manager?
Customers using Google Tag Manager should not need to make any changes today. In the coming months, we’ll have more to share about how these Google Tag capabilities work with Google Tag Manager and how Google Tag customers can upgrade to Google Tag Manager.
Will businesses/marketers get any new types of data as a result of this change?
The Google tag will make it easier for businesses/marketers to measure different data and interactions on their websites, but the types of data they get will be consistent with what’s possible today.
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