This blog post gives the importance and differences of Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager in the same page
Also gives the general implementation errors before installing Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics.
Google has been offering services by their different platforms providing users to capture the progress of their business activities. One of the two important Google platforms are Google Tag manager and Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a web analytics service and a metrics tracker that collects data from your visitors . The data collected allows you to analyze the behavior of your visitors to help you understand your traffic and stats.
As simply explained, Google Analytics simply explains “Who visits your website”, “Where they come from”, “What they do”, “How long they stayed in website” “What actions they took”.
It gives the overall insights about the user behavior as a whole.
Google Tag Manager is a container, where you can install all your analytics trackers, not just Google Analytics, but you can use Google Tag Manager to control the behaviors of many of your trackers, such as Facebook Pixel, Google Ads tracker, remarketing etc.
As per google “A collection of tags, triggers, variables, and related configurations installed on a given website or mobile app is called a container.
A Tag Manager container can replace all other manually-coded tags on a site or app, including tags from Google Ads, Google Analytics, Floodlight, and 3rd party tags”.
Are Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager same?
Both Google Analytics and Google Tag manager are different and serves different role with different purposes.
Google Analytics has different code which is inserted in website, where as Google Tag Manager has different code (Java script tracking code).
They are known as TAGS. But Google Analytics tracking code is one of those TAGS.
It simply means you don’t want to manually insert Google analytics codes in each page of your website and instead you can use Google Tag manager container snippet in your website.
It enables Tag Manager to fire tags by inserting (gtm.js) into the page. There are two configurations here.
Tags and Triggers. Triggers are the specific conditions (It can be Page view, Clicks, User engagements etc) that you can set up to count as an event.
Tags are metrics that will keep track of the number of times a trigger (or triggers) has fired. Common tracked actions include things like clicks, downloads, form submissions, sign ups. So if any action users take, tags are fired.
Key difference here:
Whenever the tags are fired, Google Analytics will receive the report due to his reporting feature whereas Google Tag Manager doesn’t have a reporting feature.
The sole purpose of Google Tag manager is to have all the tags assigned and to do a specific job. Specific job of firing each tags.
Do I really need Google Tag Manager or just Google Analytics enough?
This depends on your business goal. If you just wanted to have an overall information of user visits, page views, clicks etc., you can limit yourself with Google Analytics by placing Google Analytics tracking code in every page of your website.
But what if you want to have tracking of specific features (Where you have to insert multiple tags (PDF downloads, filled forms, outbound link clicks or button clicks)?
You have to spent lot of time in inserting multiple custom tags and have to rely too much on developers.
There comes the importance of Google Tag Manager where you deploy the entire tags (Code) in the website within the (Google Tag Manager)
E.g. Google Analytics code, Google Analytics event, Google Ads Conversion Tracking Tags, Google Ads Remarketing Tags, Google Optimize Tags, LinkedIn Insight Tags, Pinterest Tags etc.
How do we know if Google Tag Manager & Google Analytics are inserted properly?
It’s quite important to know if you have inserted Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager properly. One of the easiest way is to install Google Tag Assistant.
It’s a free google chrome extension, which helps you to know if the tags are properly inserted.
How to know if the Tags are fired?
There is a recording option in the Google Tag Assistant which when enable, will record the entire activities associated with the website in a specific time you choose.
You will get the report of recordings and will get the entire details of the tags fired in the full report.
Inserting both Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager in the website
Straight answer is NO. Because you will get ERROR message like “Same web property ID is tracked twice / Non-standard implementation“ . This will also show results in abnormal readings in the Google Analytics reports mainly (Bounce rate, Page views etc.).
You can get the message in Google Tag Assistant and what you have to do is to remove the Google Analytics code you have inserted in the website, as you have already added it as a TAG in Google Tag Manager.
Incorrect placements of Code in the website
Another important issue is placing the code in wrong position in the website.
It’s necessary to follow the instructions provided by Google.
So based on your business goals you can either choose Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager but I would personally suggest to use it through Google Tag Manager.