by Doug


Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager & Google Analytics. A non-technical description.


Sorry (not sorry) for mostly posting technical articles.  This time I’m posting for the non-technical data consumer.  There are vast numbers of Google Analytics users who aren’t “technical”. If this means you dear reader then that’s fine. You don’t need to be if it’s not a core competency for your job.




As a Google Analytics user, it can’t hurt to broaden your knowledge of the product, right?


Frequent Questions

“What are GTM tags?”

“Where is my GTM data?”

“Do GTM and GA have the same data?”

“Do I need both? Can I just have GTM?”

Gnarly old data folks are easily baffled by honest questions such as these.  They spit their coffee and then pause in silent thought..for some time.

They’re totally understandable confusions for someone who’s never looked at the tools before.  However, to a seasoned user who’s never approached the GA stack from a virginal direction, they’re actually hard to answer well.

I’m going to use a real world analogy to illustrate the roles of Google Tag Manager (GTM) and Google Analytics (GA) in measuring your site or app.

Consumers and farmers

We’re all consumers in some way. We all eat. We buy groceries to make meals and nourish our cherished families.

Think about the data in GA as groceries that we consume to nourish the data appetite of our venerable company.

Data are your groceries:

The groceries come from a farm. You buy them in a store.

Your data comes from your site. You access the data in GA reports.

Tags are like seeds in the field:

The farmer sows seeds in the field.

GTM places tags on the pages on your site.

Seeds deliver crops, tags deliver data:

The seeds grow into nourishing crops that you buy from the store.

The tags grow into data that you consume in GA.

GTM is your data farmer, GA is your grocery data store:

The farmer, the seeds, the crops – all needed for top quality groceries at the store. All important components in the system.

GTM, tags, data – all needed for the best analysis and reporting in GA.  Again, all key components with clear jobs to do.


Delight for me, is knowing I’ve shed light and added clarity. If this small post has achieved that for you, we’re all winning!

Remember, you buy groceries and then use your cookery skills to produce a delightful meal.

You access the data in GA and then use your analytical skills to make business decisions based on the data. Having groceries but no chef skills won’t nourish your family. Having data but no analytical skills won’t make your company data driven.


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