by Doug

16/10/2014

Company News

Google Tag Manager – HUGE update

October 15 2014, Google Tag Manager gets it’s first major upgrade since it was launched back in October 2012.

Over the last 2 years the GTM technical team have demonstrated world class speed and accuracy with frequent updates to the original tool, fixing bugs and being incredibly responsive to feedback and suggestions (via the GTM G+ Community).

The most recent update has been reported as and indeed looks like a new front end but the changes are more than just skin deep. More like two point oh! than just a reskin.

What’s changed in the UI?

For your existing GTM accounts – nothing. The new UI is only used for new accounts (for now). You can see new (UI v2) and old accounts in the UI very easily:

We don’t like the lack of the ability to search for accounts that was present in the first version. As an agency with multiple accounts available to us, searching is a useful tool – we’ll feedback to Google on this.

Users of other Google products will see a very familiar interface with a high degree of commonality with other Google products – a good change. Massive effort has been put into making the UI much more intuitive – it works well.

Management of GTM assets (more on these in a moment) is now really very slick. Auditing actions at a glance (changes, additions, publication) is a walk in the park – activity is immediately obvious (interesting that the last publish was 45 years ago!):

We really like the container import/export functionality that is now public. Imagine how much time this saves! You can export from your existing V1 account and import into a new V2 account to upgrade and use the new UI – super sweet!

What’s changed behind the scenes

Yes, there is a major update to the UI.

Functionality ‘under the hood’ has also received attention as well as the release of a fully functional API. Fully functional in terms of ‘you can do anything in the API that you can do in the UI’.

This is a major update that puts GTM into a new world of automated scalability. Now, if only GA had the same depth of capabilities in the API suite…just sayin’ 😉

The API is too broad and deep to cover in this post so we look forward to covering that in a later post.

Along with the API and the new UI, the changes under the hood start with a vocabulary change. Unlike the mildly irritating change from profiles to views there is some worthy logic to these changes.

Tags are tags. End of.

Rules are now ‘Triggers’ and macros have become ‘Variables’. Smart move when you think about it. Triggers do as the name suggest – they ‘trigger’ tags. Macros were confusingly named to begin with leading to misunderstanding and inadvertent misuse. Thinking of macros as variables is quite logical in a technical context. They are human readable notation for internal values. Don’t think about macros as if they were methods or functions – they represent a value and you should treat them as such to get the best value from them.

There are new types of variables too – implicit variables. You no longer need to set up listeners – they’re there ready to use out-of-the-box:

3rd party Tag templates are ready made, natively supported, commonly used tags:

  • AdRoll
  • Marin
  • ComScore
  • Bizo
  • Clicktale
  • Neustar
  • Distillery
  • Turn
  • Mediaplex
  • VisualDNA
  • Quantcast
  • Criteo

Expect this list to grow very soon according to Google.

What else can we expect in the future? To a degree this is up to the people who use GTM. Use the previously mentioned G+ community to give feedback and suggestions.

The folks on the GTM team are quite amazing in how receptive and responsive they are so be nice, constructive and positive and help direct the next iterations of the product.

Watch this space!

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