You Ask, I Answer: How to Set Up Tags, Triggers, and Goals in Google Analytics 4?

Tara asks, “It seems pretty quick and simple to set up GA4, but do I need to set up all of the different triggers in the Tag Manager separately? Or can I just set up one Tag with all of the triggers?”

Google Analytics 4 relies much more heavily on Google Tag Manager than GA 3 did. To answer this question, we need to clarify the roles of each piece of Tag Manager.

A tag is the thing GTM does.
A trigger is the thing GTM listens for.
A variable is data GTM does something with.

Goal configuration for Google Analytics 4 has now moved largely into Google Tag Manager. Watch the video for a complete walkthrough.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode, Tara asks, it seems pretty quick and simple to set up Google Analytics for but do I need to set up all the different triggers in the Tag Manager separately? Or can I just set up one tag with all the triggers? Okay, so Google Analytics for leans much more heavily on Tag Manager than Google Analytics three ever did in Google Analytics, three or Universal Analytics.

You could do everything in one application.

Now it’s broken up into a couple of different places.

So to answer this question, we have to clarify the roles of the different pieces of tag managers so that we understand what each piece is supposed to be doing in order to make, say, a goal work.

Let’s go ahead and flip over here.

Let’s go to Google Tag Manager, we have three fundamental things, we have tags, we have triggers, and we have variables.

Variables are where data is stored in Google Tag Manager for things that you want to track.

And initially, you’re going to rely heavily on the stuff that is built into the application.

So for example, there’s all these built in variables.

So these are the things that you can track, these are pieces of data that you can collect.

The ones that I find we typically use the most for Google Analytics are things like the URL that somebody is clicking on the page that somebody is on maybe the page title, although that’s really unreliable, the form that somebody is filling out.

So those are some of the big ones that out of the box, we tend to use things like scroll depth, etc.

Also, you’ll typically also have like a Google Analytics for variable in here, which is your tracking ID, it’s best practice to always have that just as a as a preset variable so that you don’t ever miss type it particularly since the new tracking codes are now letters and numbers and not just numbers.

So that’s what variables do.

Again, you probably won’t spend a whole lot of time there.

Triggers are what happened when Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager listens for something listens to something, the user doing something.

And when the user does the thing, Tag Manager raises its hand says, Hey, I see somebody doing the thing.

So Tara’s question, can you set up one tag with all the triggers? Not really, unless you want to have all these different triggers go off at the same time, which most the time is not going to be the case.

You know, for example, in Google Analytics for when somebody completes a newsletter signup, right? Then they reach this page has this URL fragment, I want this trigger to raise its hand say, Hey, I see somebody doing the thing.

Let’s let you know, I’m letting you know somebody is doing the thing.

Tags are what tag manager does.

So it listens for the trigger.

And then when the trigger goes off, it says, Hey, I heard the thing.

And then the tag is what tag manager does with the thing.

So in this case, with the newsletter subscription goal, what we see here is here, we see that it sends an event to Google Analytics for right it says it listens for this trigger.

And then it sends this piece of information, what’s the value of this thing? And what is the newsletter subscription goals.

So that’s how you understand the concept of the way Tag Manager sends data to Google Analytics.

So in order to build goals, we have to have a trigger for to listen to, or to have a tag for it to do something.

And we have to track the corresponding event and make sure we understand that set up as a conversion in Google Analytics.

So since I actually haven’t have not gotten around to fixing my own website yet, for a lot of these things, let’s build one of these sequences right now.

I want to know, when somebody let’s see, let’s let’s do when somebody visits this page, my public speaking page, right, I think that’s a important page for me to understand if you’re visiting or not.

So the first thing I’m going to do is I’m going to make a trigger I want to listen for when somebody visits that page, let’s name it something intelligent, GA for public speaking, trigger, one of the most important things you can do is have a good lexicon, a consistent lexicon, so that you can under so that your tag manager doesn’t get cluttered up with stuff is like I don’t know what that even means anymore.

We’re gonna do a page view, why do we some pages I want my page to contain public speaking.

Generally speaking, there are very few situations where you’re gonna want to do an exact match.

Or an equals very, very few because for example, if you get to a page and from Facebook, it’s gonna have that fb clid ID on the end.

And if it is, equals and stiff, contains Tag Manager won’t raise its hand.

Okay, if you have contains, that’s our trigger.

We’re saying Tag Manager, raise your hand when you see somebody on the Public Speaking page.

And here’s what I want you to do.

So we’re gonna call this ga for public speaking goals.

I like to call them goals, even though g4 calls them conversions just so that I remember, oh, that’s the thing.

We’re going to go to this to ga four tags, right? There’s the configuration, which is the base pixel, that you do once, and then you never touch it again.

And then there’s the events, this is effectively a goal.

We’re going to choose our ga for tag here, we’re going to call this public speaking goal.

Again, they’re not called goals anywhere.

But if you are trying to maintain sort of a lexicon is especially if you have Junior people on your team who may not have spent a whole lot of time working in in ga four, but they’re familiar with ga three, call it something intelligible.

Is there a value that goal goes with this goal? I’m going to call this let’s call it $25.

Right? Are there any user properties? I need to add? No, not at this time.

Anything else I need to do with the sequencing? No, not at this time.

I’m going to map this to my ga for public speaking trigger.

So now, could I add more than one trigger to terrorists? question, yes, if I wanted to fire this trigger on a bunch of different things.

In this case, I don’t in this case, I don’t want to know, I don’t, I only want one specific condition for this to match up to when hit save, actually, we’re going to copy this public speaking goal.

And then hit save.

And now we’re going to submit because otherwise, nothing ever happens.

And now we want to tell analytics.

Hey, listen for Tag Manager.

And when tag manager says something, here’s what we want you to do with it.

So I’m going to go to my conversions.

In gf, we’re going to create a new conversion event, and how to paste in the exact matching name from Google Tag Manager.

And now I’ve got this goal, effectively to conversion, it’s marked as a conversion already, you’ll note that you can set up just an event.

And then once it appears, you can flag it as a conversion.

I don’t trust that, I want to make sure that I’m declaring it upfront.

So I’m going to go ahead and make sure that that public speaking goals in place.

So now we’ve built this goal, we’ve set it up in Tag Manager, we’ve got our trigger, the condition we want it to listen in, and this, this is why Google has gone this way, there’s so much more flexibility with the kinds of things you can listen for, you can listen for link clicks, you can vote for some kinds of link clicks, you can listen for form submissions, whatever triggers you want that have support here, because there’s a whole bunch of different types you can support.

Java JavaScripts time on page, if you if that was a goal in the previous thing.

You can do all these things, how far down the page, somebody get on like, say a key landing page would be a cool trigger to listen for.

And then the tags that you have, of course, give you again, a lot of flexibility.

And you’re going to send data to different places, right.

So in my tags, I’ve got some Google Analytics, three goals in here, which here is marked with Universal Analytics.

And I’ve got a bunch of my Google Analytics for goals starting to be put into place as well.

So that’s how we, we do this.

It’s a lot more granular, right, it’s a lot more to keep track of.

If there’s more than one person working in a Google Analytics, for instance, in your Google Tag Manager instance, I would strongly suggest using things like workspace environments, to keep things straight, having policies and procedures, maybe even the spreadsheet to track what each tag does.

So that you know who put it in, and what they did with it, those are going to be really essential for keeping this a sensible, clean environment, you can see that this is just my account.

And there’s still a fair number of things in here, right? This is just my account, one person’s in here.

And it still can get a little bit messy.

So if you’ve got multiple people in there, you definitely want governance of some kind, maybe even having, you know, tags named, not just with what they do, but maybe who put them in, and maybe an expiration date to say like Yeah, when this after this date, remove this tag, or at least pause it so that you keep it clean.

Because your tag manager account as people switch to Google Analytics for your tag manager accounts gonna get a whole lot more busy because you can see for each individual goal and I’ve got to have a tag and a trigger to make it work well so it’s gonna get crowded in here.

So make sure you have good governance.

I’ve got follow up questions even in the comments box below.

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