21 September 2021
Setup Google Tag Manager [Step-by-Step]

Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a free platform for managing your website tags without touching code. It’s an extremely versatile tool. In this post, I will show you all you need to get started right away with a basic GTM website implementation.


  1. What are website tags?
  2. Who sets up Google Tag Manager?
  3. When do you setup Google Tag Manager
  4. Where do you setup Google Tag Manager
  5. Why use Google Tag Manager
    1. #1 Free tag management
    2. #2 Fast to implement
    3. #3 No coding knowledge required
    4. #4 One place for all your tags
  6. How to setup Google Tag Manager

What are website tags?

Website tags are also known as tracking codes, pixels, scripts, and code snippets. They are used to collect marketing data and track user interaction on your website. Examples of tags are Google Analytics tracking code, Google Ads conversion tracking codes, and the Facebook pixel.

Who sets up Google Tag Manager?

GTM makes it possible for nearly anyone to setup because you can do it with little technical knowledge. If you have someone on your team in a technical role like a developer, webmaster, or analytics user, then you might want to defer the setup process to them.

When do you setup Google Tag Manager

Most of the time, you’ll inherit a website from a client or you’re working on an existing website so you’ll want to setup GTM as soon as possible. You’ll want to setup before you setup Google Analytics.

Where do you setup Google Tag Manager

There are many ways to install GTM because it all depends on how your website is built. For example, if your website is built on a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Drupal, then you’ll probably install GTM with a plugin (and you may have many options available). I will show you how to install on a basic HTML page on “How to setup Google Tag Manager.”

Why use Google Tag Manager

GTM is an extremely versatile tool. Without getting into complex use cases, here’s a high level list of reasons on why you should consider using GTM.

#1 Free tag management

GTM is free to use (like most Google products).

#2 Fast to implement

Gone are the days of having to wait for your developer or webmaster to implement your website tags. Once GTM is installed on your website, it can take minutes, not days to install your tracking codes. I’ll show you step-by-step in the following sections.

#3 No coding knowledge required

The beauty of GTM is that it abstracts the coding needed to implement your tracking and analytics configurations. GTM has a beautiful interface that makes it approachable for nearly anyone to contribute to your website tracking efforts.

#4 One place for all your tags

Managing tags can get tricky when they add up. Not only is GTM a great way to organize your tags, it also optimizes the tags for performance.

How to setup Google Tag Manager

  1. Create an account or sign-in at tagmanager.google.com.

  2. Once you’re in your account dashboard “Create Account.”

    Create GTM Account

  3. Enter your Account Name (ex: My Company), Container Name (ex: mycompany.com), and select “Web” as your Target Platform.

    Add New GTM Account

  4. Accept the GTM terms of service agreement.

  5. You’ll be presented with two code snippets to install GTM. Copy them. Don’t worry if you closed the window before copying. You can access the GTM code snippets by navigating to Admin > Container > Install Google Tag Manager.

    Install GTM Code

  6. Copy the top code snippet.

    GTM Code snippets

  7. Paste the top code snippet as high up in the <head> element on every page of your website.

    NOTE: Depending on your website implementation, you might be able to install the scripts in the template that contains your <head> element.

    Code Snippet In Head Element

  8. Now paste the bottom code snippet immediately after the opening <body> tag on every page of your website.

    Code Snippet In Body Element