top of page

Google Tag Manager vs Google Analytics - What's The Difference?

Google Tag Manager vs Google Analytics - What's The Difference?

Someone's recommended to you to use Google Tag Manager on your website or you are looking to engage a website development or marketing agency and you've been told that you need to get Google Tag Manager alongside with Google Analytics.

If you're not familiar with Google's marketing toolset it can be quite confusing as it sort of sounds like both of them do a similar kind of thing.

Tracy Ng

15 Mar 2024

What's the difference between these two platforms?

Firstly, let's look at the similarities of these two. Both of them are

  1. google products that google provides for  marketers

  2. free - you don't have to spend any money with google to use them

  3. need to be installed on your site

But point 3 is where the big difference comes …

Google Analytics is ultimately a data collection and analysis tool to help you in collecting data on how your website is used and how your marketing campaigns are performing which leads to conversion.

Some of the Google Analytics main features are:

a. visualizing how many people have been to your website

b. tracking on where they've come from in terms of geographic and channel (organic google search or directly navigating from a website or email or Facebook or whatever the case may be)

c. monitoring top performing content that people are looking at

d. identifying potentially valuable data like breakdowns of device types and browsers that the users are using when browsing

Google Tag Manager on the other hand is tag deployment system. It's implied in the name so google tag

manager itself doesn't really collect data. What you do with tag manager is you install it on your website and  you use tag manager to deploy other tags and codes.

This is where there's some crossover with google analytics and people can get a bit confused. Let's say you've already got google analytics installed on your website. Now your marketing freelancer or agency is suggesting that you need to get google tag manager on the site.  You might be thinking well I've already gotten Google analytics what could a Google tag manager give me?

Well, the whole point with Google tag manager is that you instead of installing Google analytics directly on the site you would install Google tag manager and then install or deploy Google analytics via Google tag manager. 

Basically, Google tag manager has two key components:

a. it has tags

b. it has triggers on other tags on your site. Examples are: LinkedIn Insight tag, form submission tracking, clicks on PDF files, a Facebook pixel or a custom tag for a different ad platform which you might be using. Triggers are basically conditions that have to be met in order for that tag to work. Another relatable analogy would be Google analytics. If you wanted to work on every single page on your website, you would have a Google analytics tag set up in Google tag manager and then you'd have a trigger for all page views on your site.

On the other hand, if you're doing something like tracking conversions, say you want to track the number of people who actually click on your click to call phone numbers on your website. Well, with Google analytics, you can actually do this. However, with both Google tag manager and Google Analytics, you can do other things like tie those phone call clicks back to LinkedIn ad clicks or Facebook Ads or anything like that.

In short, to keep things organized, the best practice would be - you can have your Google analytics conversion tag or event tag within Google tag manager and then use a trigger that only fires off when someone clicks on a phone number link in order to pass the sort of criteria through for that event to fire off.

Still unsure of it, get in touch with us!

Tell us about your project

Get in touch to find out more about our services and how we can help your business.

bottom of page