The short answer is: ‘Yes, it can’. With Google Tag Manager (GTM) the UX domain can seize back the quantitative collection of user data focusing on an improvement of user experience. With GTM we can tag and track (almost) all interactions in the user interface without coding a single line.
Instead of asking your IT guys or developers to implement individual tags on functionalities and interaction points across your website you can edit, implement, and manage these tags yourself.
Familiarize with Google Tag Manager
If you are a UX’er and are unfamiliar with GTM you should start familiarizing. With GTM your organization can streamline and simplify website and mobile app tagging. With this simple, yet extremely powerful tool you can define your own tags and collect data exactly the way you want.
With Google Tag Manager you can create your own tags and define when they should be triggered and in this way track when certain events happen in the user’s interaction with your website.
Done with sucking up to the developers
So let’s say you have a product page with a multi-variant size and color selection where you want insight into how users play with the selection before actually adding the final product color/size combination to the shopping basket.
Here is a code example of a selection of gloves ranging from size 7 to 11 without tracking.
In the user interface it looks like this:
Due to different test and deployment procedures the process of implementing the tracking codes could take weeks – or even months in some organizations we have worked with. If we need insights to support, for instance, a new design hypothesis we can’t wait for months or even weeks to start collecting data. We need insights now.
Define your own tag
Luckily, with Google Tag Manager you can define your own tags based on the existing mark-up in the html and publish the changes to your website within minutes.
From the code example above we trigger a tracking event each time the user changes the value of a selector (drop-down) marked up with a css class that contains ‘product-custom-option’ and collect the value from the size option.
The values are then sent back to Google Analytics as an event (with Category, Action, Label, etc.), which we use as data for our analysis of how users interact with the size/color variation before actually adding to the basket.
Simple but powerful tracking of… everything
With Google Tag Manager the first tag you create is the classic ‘Google Analytics’, either as Classic Google Analytics or Universal Analytics, and exactly the same tracking that you know from your old Google Analytics implementation will be available to you.
GTM starts to be interesting for me as a UX professional when we tag and trigger on events. This gives us valuable insights into the actual interactions on each individual page.
For our clients we have implemented simple, but very powerful tracking of a broad variety of user interactions without changing a single line of source code:
- Hero Banner Carousel – Tracking of how many users click on the second, third or fourth hero banner in a carousel on a main page (which is none!).
- Variant selection – How users interact with form fields in registration and shopping funnels.
- Web Form Interruption – Tracking of what field is triggering the interruption of a web form funnel.
- Main Menu Navigation – Tracking of user navigation in a drop-down menu.
- Auto completion – Interaction with auto completion in website searches.
But you are not limited to track this. From the GTM interface you can choose to tag based on:
- Page View
- … and many more
And you can choose to trigger your event based on:
- Page View
- Form Submission
- History Change (browser history)
- … and many more.
In the configuration of a trigger you can choose what variables it ‘fires on’ from a lot of html elements that you are already familiar with:
- Click Classes
- Click Element
- Click ID
- Click Target
- Click Text
- … and many more.
And GTM even lets you create your own variables to suit your specific needs.