Global Site Tag vs. Google Tag Manager – A Comparison

Global Site Tag vs. Google Tag Manager

A Comparison

Understanding the nuances between Google Tag Manager (GTM) and the Global Site Tag (gtag.js) is crucial for making informed choices in web tracking

Global Site Tag vs. Google Tag Manager – A Comparison

Understanding the nuances between Google Tag Manager (GTM) and the Global Site Tag (gtag.js) is crucial for making informed choices in web tracking. Although these tools might appear interchangeable, they serve distinct purposes, and selecting the right one depends on your specific needs.

In this side-by-side guide, we delve into the Global Site Tag and Google Tag Manager, exploring their features, similarities, differences, and the scenarios where each excels.

Global Site Tag: A Tracking Code for Simplicity

The Global Site Tag is a tracking code designed to be inserted into the header section of your website. Introduced by Google in 2017, it consolidates tracking information and forwards it to Google Analytics or other Google-associated tools. The implementation of this all-in-one code aims to simplify the tracking process compared to the previously separate tracking codes for different marketing products.

How It Operates:

Installing the Global Site Tag involves adding the script to the head section of your website. This code takes precedence over other tracking scripts, enhancing efficiency by reducing the need for multiple script executions. The result is a streamlined HTML and JavaScript execution with a more efficient data flow.


Google Tag Manager

A Centralised Tag Management System

Google Tag Manager, on the other hand, is a tag management system designed to serve as a central hub for various tracking tags, similar to the Global Site Tag. However, it goes beyond Google tools and accommodates a wide range of third-party tools, such as Meta (Facebook) Pixel and LinkedIn Tag.

How It Operates:

Google Tag Manager simplifies the deployment of tracking tags by offering a central interface. This allows you to manage not only Google Ads and Google Analytics but also other tracking tags. With features like code testing, a graphical user interface, version control, and trigger options, it provides more flexibility compared to the Global Site Tag.


Key Differences Between Global Site Tag and Google Tag Manager

Third-Party Tool Compatibility:

Global Site Tag: Compatible only with Google marketing tools.

Google Tag Manager: Compatible with all third-party tools using JavaScript-based tracking code.


Global Site Tag: Limited functionality; straightforward implementation.

Google Tag Manager: Advanced features like testing, version control, and a graphical user interface.

User Interface:

Global Site Tag: Lacks a graphical interface; requires JavaScript knowledge.

Google Tag Manager: User-friendly interface, making it accessible for marketers without extensive coding experience.

Choosing Between Global Site Tag and Google Tag Manager

Global Site Tag:

Suitable for basic tracking needs with Google Analytics and Google Ads.

Consider for legacy cases or when replacing old codes with Google Tag Manager is impractical.

Google Tag Manager:

Recommended for most scenarios.

Particularly useful for managing multiple tracking codes, testing, version control, and compatibility with third-party tools.

Purple Dinosaur Recommendation:

Given the choice, Google Tag Manager is preferred due to its versatility, advanced features, and user-friendly interface. However, Global Site Tag might have specific use cases where simplicity is essential.

Frequently Asked Questions

Installing Global Site Tag through Google Tag Manager.

It's possible to some extent, but tools should be installed into Google Tag Manager, not the Global Site Tag script directly.

Can you use Google Tag Manager and Global Site Tag together?

Technically possible but it can lead to conflicts and complications. It is recommended to use either one for individual tools.

What's the main difference between the two?

Third-party compatibility, additional functionalities, and user interface distinguish the two tools.

When should you use each?

Use Global Site Tag for basic Google tools; Use Google Tag Manager for third-party tools and advanced features.

Purple Dinosaur Conclusion

Google Site Tag or Google Tag Manager

In summary, while Global Site Tag serves simplicity in certain cases, Google Tag Manager stands out as a comprehensive and adaptable solution for diverse tracking needs.


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