What's the Difference Between Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Global Site Tag?

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Trying to navigate and understand Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Global Site Tag can be tricky! So what’s the difference between the three, and do you need them for all your landing pages? 

Google Analytics is a web analytics service and a metrics tracker that collects data from your visitors as they peruse your landing page. The data collected allows you to analyze your visitors' behavior to help you understand your traffic and stats. 

Google Tag Manager is a tag management system that allows you to send information to multiple software tools using a system of tags. By installing the Google Tag Manager onto your landing page(s), you can quickly and easily control what analytics deploys and to what tool. In addition, you can use Google Tag Manager to control the behaviors of many of your analytical tools, such as Facebook Pixel, or Google Ads. 

Note:

Unlike our direct Google Analytics integration, using our Google Tag Manager integration via Script Manager will not send through form, button, and link click events into GA. It will also not add the variant letter to the end of the URL path. You can still track forms, buttons, and links through Google Tag Manager, but you'll first need to manually set up custom event tracking tags. See our article for more information: How Do I Integrate Google Tag Manager With Unbounce?

You can set up your events and triggers in Google Tag Manager, and then put one code on your landing page rather than having to manipulate and add many different codes for all your separate trackers on each page. The advantage of Google Tag Manager is that everything is in a web interface, so you won't need to code any tags or triggers. This makes modification much simpler for anyone who’s not familiar with coding their own Javascript. 

Global Site Tag is a new way to connect your Google Analytics to all your services without adding multiple scripts on the same page. It performs a similar function as Google Tag Manager but is coded directly through javascript that you add to your page. 

Note:

Adding the Global Site Tag specifically for Google Ads won’t affect your GA stats as long as you don’t include Google Ads details in the script. 

Would I install Global Site Tag and Google Tag Manager on the same page? 

We recommend installing either Global Site Tag or Google Tag Manager, but not both simultaneously, as they have the same general function. If you are already using Google Tag Manager, you won’t need to install Global Site Tag, and vice versa. 

How are Global Site Tag and Google Tag Manager similar? 

Both Global Site Tag and Google Tag Manager can deploy multiple tracking points to multiple tools or software. However, Google Tag Manager is more universal and can work alongside other tools and products. In comparison, Global Site Tag (gtag.js) functions primarily alongside other Google products.

If you're new to either tool, it may be best to get started with Google Tag Manager, as its implementation does not require as much coding skills as the Global Site Tag would. 

What if I already have GA and Facebook Pixel/Another Tracker installed on My Landing Page? 

 You do not have to replace GA and your other tracker with Global Site Tag OR Google Tag Manager. In fact, you should not duplicate and install GTM or Global Site Tag if you already have these installed, as you will cause issues in your reporting. 

Should I switch to Google Tag Manager or Global Site Tag? 

You should switch to Google Tag Manager if you want the freedom to set up and modify your own triggers and events in a web interface without needing to hard code the scripts into your landing page. 

You should switch to Global Site Tag if you are experienced in Javascript and want to install the tags directly onto your page, and don’t want to have to fiddle with a tag management system. 

Want more info? Check out the pages below: 

Tag Manager and Gtag.js (Google)

Google Tag Manager vs. Google Analytics: What’s the difference?

What is Global Site Tag and What You Need to Know

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