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The Power of the Google Tag Manager DataLayer

SEO 8th Dec 2016

(This is the transcript from our new video so it may not read as well as a normal blog post would)

Hello, I’m Emma North. I’m the head of SEO here at Koozai, and today I’m going to be talking to you about the power of the Google Tag Manager Data Layer. Now, don’t worry, it’s not going to be too technical. I know I’ve put a little bit of code in here just to kind of explain my point, but I’ll come on to that in a bit.

Essentially, a data layer does need to be implemented by a developer. So once it’s set up by a developer and you’ve kind of given the instructions of what you want transmitted through, you can then utilise that data from within Google Tag Manager without this kind of coding knowledge. This is just to kind of give you an example.

So essentially, what the data layer is, is it’s key pair values. So in these examples, you can see I’ve got {“type” “product detail”}, {“currencycode” “gbp”}. I’m literally saying, “This is the dimension, and this is the metric that I’m sending through.”

You can have multiple objects in your data layer. So in this example, I’ve got a page object and an ecommerce object. Within that, I’ve got different values being sent through. You can have lots more object than that, such as a user object that perhaps contained information specific to the user that’s logged into your site.

The power of this is really where you use this data and what you do with it. This is how you trigger it, based on the variables that you’re sending through.

So it might be that you have a certain tag that you only want to fire if the value on the page is greater than £70. So on this particular page, when this data layer was fired, this would trigger, because the value is greater than £70. Or you might say if the page type is product detail, then I want this tag to behave in a certain way because I know the user is looking at the product detail page.

So that gives you a lot of control in terms of what you can do with Tag Manager that you wouldn’t have had access to before. Obviously, you can fire things based on the URL or based on the user journey. But you can send data through to the data layer that you perhaps couldn’t have got anywhere else, and, in particular, this is how ecommerce tracking, certainly with Google Analytics, is fired through Google Tag Manager. So you must have this data layer set up with an ecommerce object to send that data through to Google Analytics via Tag Manager.

You can even push data through to the data layer based on an event. So if a user clicks on a certain button, then you send an extra object or an extra value through the data layer that you can then utilise and say, “If this happened, I want this to happen.”

Really, the power of it is when you create the variables at the backend for each of these things that you’re sending through, and you’re then using that data to market in different ways to different people, to send different data. You can even fire JSON-LD code using certain information that allows you to make it dynamic and change depending on what you’re sending through.

So there’s a lot of power within it. Of course, the caveat is that you do need a developer to implement this. It’s not something that an everyday marketer, it’s not something I could go and implement on a site. I understand the concept, and this is the kind of basic concept of it, but in terms of pulling this information through, you want a developer to code that and to map out where that information is coming from. But once it’s set up, you can do so much more with Google Tag Manager, and really the power of Google Tag Manager comes with using a data layer.

So I wouldn’t be afraid of getting involved with this, getting a developer in and saying, “Look, this is what I want to achieve. I understand that data layer is the way forward. Let’s get this set up,” because it is incredibly powerful and it will give you so much more that you can do with your marketing efforts.

So don’t be afraid of it. Go and have a play, and if you’ve got any questions, give me a shout.

Emma North
About the author

Emma North

Emma’s sarcastic and sassy, is borderline obsessed with gaming and loves the gym, football, and pizza. We’re guessing that’s the reason she loves the gym so much. #pumpforpizza

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