by Doug


Google Tag Manager

Keep calm and folder on…

Big news this week for users of Google Tag Manager – folderisation is now a ‘thing’. To be frank, although online reaction has been mostly positive, it’s been greeted with some negative feedback also.

We’ve been road testing this functionality for a while and we’ve drawn some conclusions that we’d like to share as guidelines on folder usage for now.

I say ‘for now’ with good reason. I’m old enough and ugly enough to know that spending significant time on folder organisation for large containers right now may well be time wasted. Expect more in the future. Here’s what you should do for now.

Stick with a solid naming convention

I previously wrote an article for on GTM naming conventions – Keep using a solid naming convention.

Folders are most useful for small-scale containers

If you have a small scale container, say fewer than 25 assets (tags, triggers and variables) then by all means, build folders to organise the container. The gains are slight but worthwhile. Create folders by functional area of the site or app. Groups tags, triggers and variables in their respective folder. You’ll have so few assets that re-use is likely to be minimal. You’ll probably have a Constant variable (I always think that sounds odd…) to manage the GA UA ID. Pop assets like that in a UTIL folder.

Folders are still useful for large-scale containers

If you have GTM containers with hundreds of assets, you could spend hours deciding how to organise them. You’ll have massive re-use of triggers and variables and you’ll tie your head in knots trying to decide what goes where. This whole ‘one asset can only go in one folder’ thing is one of the biggest limitations isn’t it? I’m sure you’d agree that a GMail style ‘label’ system would be sweet, no?

Anyway, enough digression, the point is that the level of abstraction offered by folders currently is not sufficient to handle how tags relate to triggers and variables. Folder functionality was clearly NOT designed to handle this kind of relationship.

For now, organise marketing tags in the ‘Marketing’ Folder. Put GA tags in ‘Measurement’. Put triggers in the ‘Triggers’ folder and variables in the ‘Variables’ folder. Then carry on with what you were doing. You’ve done everything sensible that you can do and need to do now. Keep using the solid naming convention for your assets and when the next GTM release adds more functionality (as I’m sure it will) you’ll have spent as little time as possible getting ready to act on it.


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