WordPress has a great gallery of plugins, extensions written by 3rd party developers. There are some plugins in the top downloaded list, which are installed on many websites, that makes it easy to measure website traffic, visitor behavior using Google Analytics. More and more users of my Google Tag Manager plugin are therefore confused how this plugin and Google Tag Manager itself differs from those very good and popular Google Analytics plugins. Let’s talk about the benefits of using my plugin.
The benefits of using a Google Analytics plugin
Generally, there is a great advantage of using a Google Analytics plugin: you “just” enter your tracking ID, setup some option using checkboxes and you are all set: data about your users, about sessions are populating immediately. Some Google Analytics plugins offer a wide range of options and integrations. Some have paid versions with richer feature set, for example ecommerce reporting for WooCommerce webshops.
Limitations of Google Analytics plugins
So, what are the pitfalls of those plugins if they are so popular and widely used: actually their most important limitation is in their names: they are only able to send data to Google Analytics. And in most cases, for more advanced websites that use Facebook Ads, Bing Ads, AdRoll, etc. a Google Analytics plugin is just one of the many plugins that must be used to be able to properly manage the marketing of the site.
And the more plugins you use, the more complicated is the maintenance of those websites: you need to keep more plugins updated, properly configured, keep track of changes, etc.
What is Google Tag Manager?
Although I’ve written couple of articles for beginners about Google Tag Manager (GTM), I must admit that (at least) one important info is missing from them: GTM is mainly an additional layer between your tracking codes and your website.
Many beginner users are confused about GTM itself and therefore they are also confused about my plugin as it is not about entering an ID, setting up some options and go live with the measurement.
Google Tag Manager ≠ Google Analytics
You may use GTM to setup your Google Analytics tracking but it is much more than that: it is a free service that allows you to manage all ayour tracking codes in one place: on the GTM website and setup tracking of clicks and form submissions without the need for coding skills (at least in many cases)
Disadvantages of using my Google Tag Manager plugin
Just to be transparent, there is one important limitation if you are using my plugin for sure: entering your so called GTM container ID and checking some boxes on the option page will do nothing. No automatically populated Google Analytics reports, still no additional tracking for Facebook Ads, Bing Ads, AdRoll, etc.
You need to setup your tracking on the GTM website, adding tags and triggers. Sounds frightening? Don’t worry. It is not that hard. There is even a free course of Google where you can learn the basics and some people, like Julian at measureschool.com create great videos about GTM. You need to learn the tool or you can also hire me to setup GTM for your website.
So why would you then use my plugin and Google Tag Manager?
- Because you get a full featured plugin for free. No paid pro versions, no limited features (and yes, WooCommerce integration is also included for free!)
- Because you can uninstall lots of other plugins: no need for header and footer managers, specific plugins for Facebook Pixel, AdWords, Adroll, etc
- Because GTM’s website is great and you will love the feeling that you do not need to ask your programmer repeatedly to add additional tracking codes (and believe me, they will be happier too)