Google Tag Manager vs. the Global Site Tag - Carney
The Daily Carnage

Google Tag Manager vs. the Global Site Tag

Google Tag Manager and the Global Site Tag can seem interchangeable, but they are two different tools. Luckily, MeasureSchool has a full guide on the similarities and differences between them.

So, what are we talking about here?

  • Google Tag Manager: is a tag management system that acts as a common tool for running all different tracking tags.
  • The Global Site Tag (gtag.js): is a tracking code that tracks information to forward to other Google tools like Google Analytics. You install it in the header section of your website.

Okay…what’s the difference?

So both methods can deploy tracking points to a variety of Google tools. But let’s get into how they are different:

  • Third-party marketing tool compatibility – Despite the name, the Global Site Tag only plays nice with Google Tools and the Google Tag Manager allows you to send data to any tool that has a JavaScript-based tracking code.
  • Functionality – gtag.js is very straightforward as far as functioning with data, but the Google Tage Manager has more features, especially for testing or debugging.
  • User Interface – Google Tag Manager requires very little coding knowledge with a more user-friendly interface (with features like those previously mentioned). With the gtag.js, you’ll need to do all your site’s tracking coding on your own, so it’s an invisible part of your site.

Cool. So which one do I use?

Both have benefits depending on your tagging purposes. For the most part, Google tag Manager is easier for marketers to navigate, especially without developer help. Global Site Tag is a mini segment of Google Tag Manager, so it’s just not as flexible as Google Tag Manager. If you have a need for manual tag set-up, though, gtag.js is the move.

To see more technical examples and how-to’s (and no-no’s), check out MeasureSchool’s full article with an accompanying video.


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