Google Analytics is one of the most popular Analytics platforms out there, allowing site owners to monitor traffic to their website. It lets you see how many visitors you’re receiving, where they’re coming from, and what pages they are looking at. It’s an indispensable tool for figuring out how users are interacting with your website and can easily be implemented on everything from a basic WordPress site to a complicated eCommerce platform like Magento.
However, with three different ways to implement Google Analytics, things can get a bit confusing. This isn’t helped by the fact that gtag.js and Google Tag Manager can easily be confused! Despite the similar names, gtag.js and Google Tag Manager are not the same thing, and they are implemented in different ways. We recently had a client that was very confused that their Google Tag Manager settings weren’t working. As you can guess, they hadn’t added Google Tag Manager to their site at all; they were using gtag.js!
If you just want to add Google Analytics tracking to your site and only want to use the default features, gtag.js is a perfectly acceptable way to go. When you set up your Google Analytics account, it will provide the code and instructions on how to add it to your site.
If instead you want to add Google Analytics and include some custom tracking, and maybe integrate other features such as Facebook or Google AdWords conversion tracking, Google Tag Manager may be for you. If you have a WordPress site, the Google Tag Manager for WordPress plugin makes it easy to set this up.
So if you’re ever running into issues getting your Google Tag Manager settings to work, double check to make sure you’ve added the right code to your website!