Get Jess | Blog | Setting up Google Tag Manager to Track Events

Setting up Google Tag Manager to Track Events

Setting up Google Tag Manager to Track Events
This is the third in a series of articles on setting up Goals in Google Analytics, and we are going to introduce Google Tag Manager event tracking. In our previous installment, we showed you how to set up Destination Goals. Now, we’re going to show you how to use Google Tag Manager event tracking to set up and communicate with Google Analytics so when your site’s users perform certain actions, they will be recorded as Events. Common actions you might want to track include clicks of the submit button on a form, clicks on links that trigger phone calls from a mobile device, or clicks on email links. Once you are recording your events with the help of Google Tag Manager, can set up an Event Goal to track them, which we will cover in Part 4.


Installing Google Tag Manager


There are two ways to set up event tracking. You can hand code your event tracking, but unless you have in-house website developers or are particularly technical, this isn’t a particularly easy way to go. A more convenient way, and the subject of this tutorial, is to use Google Tag Manager. While you must first install Google Tag Manager on your site, once it’s there anyone on your team can add events or code blocks (e.g. tracking pixels) to the site.

If you aren’t currently using Google Tag Manager, you’ll need to go to set up an account and install it using these steps:

Click Create Account


Google Tag Manager Create Account


Enter your business name into the Account Name field and your web address into the Container Name field. Click Web as your target platform.


Google Tag Manager Add a New Account


Click Create

Accept the Terms of Service

Next, you’ll need to install some code on your site in the <head> and <body> place of every page. You may need to enlist a web developer to help you out.


Set Up Google Tag Manager Variables


Google Tag Manager Workspace


Once you have Google Tag Manager in place, it’s time to create your first tag. But first, you need to make sure some variables are enabled. Click Variables, then Configure. We’ll be looking to track clicks, so make sure the 6 variables under Clicks are checked.


Google Tag Manager Configure Built-in Variables


Now, let’s create a tag.


Create Your First Google Tag Manager Tag


Tags are bits of code that are added to a site in order to collect information for use by a third party application. This code is run when a specific action you specify as a Trigger occurs. In this tutorial, we are going to set up a Tag to communicate with Google Analytics. The tag will tell Google Analytics what to do, and the trigger will tell the tag when to run.

As mentioned previously, you can use tags to track a wide range of actions, but in the steps that follow, we are going to set up a tag that triggers when the submit button of a form has been clicked. Remember when we enabled the variables earlier? We will use one of them to identify that the submit button of a particular form was clicked specifically.

Now, let’s review the steps to create a new tag:

Click Add a New Tag


Google Tag Manager Workspace


Click the Tag Configuration box and select the type of tag you would like to use. Since we would like to track Google Analytics Events, we will choose Google Analytics.


Google Tag Manager Choose Tag Type


Under Track Type choose Event.

Now enter the names of the tracking parameters you would like to assign. For example, you might want to name something descriptive like Category Form Completion and the Action Click to track the click of a contact form submit button. You can use any name you want, but choose parameters you will remember. You will need to be able to recall what they are exactly when you set up the Goal in Google Analytics which will cover next.


Google Tag Manager Configure Universal Analytics


Under Google Analytics Settings, click New Variable and input your Google Analytics ID so Google Tag Manager knows where to report the event. If you don’t know your ID or how to log into Google Analytics and find it, follow these instructions.


Google Tag Manager Setup Google Analytics


Click Save.


Create a Trigger


Now you need to add a Trigger so the Tag knows when to run, so click Add Trigger.


Google Tag Manager Add Trigger


Click the + sign and then click the Trigger Configuration box.


Google Tag Manager Choose Trigger


Since we are tracking a click chose Click – All Elements.

Since we are only looking to track the click of a specific button, choose Some Clicks.

Now, you’ll need to choose a variable that you can use to uniquely identify the click. This is the trickiest part. Right click the button you want to track and click Inspect. In my example, my button has a class that identifies it. In some cases, you will need to use another variable. Choose Equals and copy in the class name exactly or choose Contains and copy in just a portion of it.

Next, click Save and name your trigger.

Name your Tag and click Save.


Google Tag Manager Submit Form


Finally, you’ll need to save and publish your container.

Click Submit, type in a few words that will describe what you created (or updated) and click Publish.


Google Tag Manager Submit


Test Your Tag


Now it’s time to test out what you did. Open Google Analytics. Open your website in another browser tab or window. Navigate to the contact form, fill it out, and submit it. Quickly go back to Google Analytics and click Realtime. Verify that Event Category and Event Action match what you set up in your new tag. If you see them, you are all ready to set up your event tracking goals. If you don’t see an event tracked at all, carefully retrace the steps above. In particular, make sure you have used the right logic in your variable and be sure to re-publish the container if you make any changes.


Google Analytics Realtime Events


Google Tag Manager can be used to track a lot more actions than just user clicks, but we covered a lot already, so that’s for another day.

If everything looks OK, you are ready to read our next post and learn how to set up the Event Goals in Google Analytics.

Confused by Google Tag Manager event tracking? Just post a comment below and we will try to help out. Ready to move beyond Google Analytics? Check out Jess marketing analytics software.

Don’t miss out on our next tutorial! Please subscribe to our marketing newsletter.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter


To Our Newsletter


Want to know if your advertising is really working? Click to learn how Jess can help you manage your marketing spend