Marketing and measurement pros still coming to terms with Google’s required shift from Universal Analytics to GA4 may have reacted with heightened anxiety to last week’s announcement of the new Google Tag. With even a little inspection, though, we’ve got some good news: the Google Tag is bringing simplicity to the new tag-heavy world of measurement.
First, a little context. For years, Google Tag Manager (GTM) has provided advertisers with the necessary measurement tools for tracking various interactions across a website. This data helps answer questions like: “What time is my website the busiest?” or “Which state did I sell the most products in?” And the shift to GA4, which is forcing marketers to track events and behavior rather than rely on soon-to-be-extinct cookies, is leaning hard into tags as a new foundation of measurement.
The problem: even Google-only tags historically needed dev support, and coding, and a robust management strategy that helped marketers and devs avoid superfluous tagging that could slow down site speed. The new Google Tag isn’t an extra tag to add to this picture; it’s a mitigator, and it should be easy to put in play.
How Does Google Tag Work?
Start with the understanding that you, as a user, won’t have to lift a finger to implement this change immediately; while Google’s clunkier, code-heavy ‘global site tag’ will be sunset, you’ll still be able to use it. But ultimately, one single Google Tag—applied across all pages of your site—will enable you to use one UI for Google Ads, GA4, Campaign Manager, and major content platforms like HubSpot (with more integrations surely to come).
Google Tag promises to be more user-friendly than the global tag, working with less in-page coding and leveraging more privacy-safe features. Their new tag will also arm users with the ability to launch more privacy-centric measurement tools, such as the ‘Privacy Sandbox’ and ‘Consent Mode’ slated for release in the coming months. Essentially, the new Google Tag will help set up advertisers for a privacy-first future, which is approaching quickly as new national and global regulations take shape.
Global economic uncertainty means that marketers are under even more pressure to justify every dollar of ad spend even as cookie measurement weakens, and Google Tag will provide a more user-friendly, unified means of data collection to help. (Data analysis and resulting marketing strategies, of course, will take more resources.)
If you have any questions on Google Tag capabilities or implementation, let us know - we’re always happy to help!