You’ve learned about Tags, Triggers and Variables.
Now it’s time to test your implementations in Google Tag Manager to ensure everything is working correctly before publishing them live.
All of this follows structured steps, a workflow.
Knowing your workflow will help to fit everything together in a specific order.
You will know a structured process you can use each time you implement changes in Tag Manager from start to completion.
- We’ll talk very briefly about the Preview Mode and some tips so you can quickly get the hang of it. Because in the workflow section, we’ll practice hands-on the Preview Mode.
- We’ll learn what should be your workflow when you implement changes in GTM.
The Preview Mode In A Flash
1. Test And Verify Changes
Preview mode (the orange block) allows you to see and test the changes you’ve made in Google Tag Manager before going live. You can verify if everything is working the way you expect.
To use it simply select Preview:
You’ll have your Preview Mode activated in your container and on your website (Quick Preview).
2. Refresh The Preview Mode and Your Web Page after any change
Whatever changes you make in GTM (like changing the name of variable etc.,) always refresh the Preview Mode and your website page.
Because just refreshing your website page won’t apply your GTM changes and vice-versa.
3. Minimize your preview Mode quickly
In the quick Preview on your web page at the corner, you can select this small dropdown arrow to minimize your preview mode instantly to have more visual space.
4. Make sure that you preview the right container.
To do so look at the Container ID from your main dashboard in GTM and compare it with the one in your preview mode the web page where you are.
5. Left Column & Summary
On your web page while you have the preview mode on, what you see everything you see in the left columns are called Events.
It’s how GTM shows you what is happening on your page based on the configurations you set in GTM (tags, triggers and variables).
6. Closing the Preview Mode
Once you’re satisfied with your results you can close the Preview Mode by clicking on “Leave Preview Mode” and also don’t forget to refresh your web page.
Workflow From Your Workspace
Now le’ ts see how your workflow in GTM works in real life and tips to start making changes from beginning to end easier.
At this point, you should have an understanding of the purpose of Tag Manager, its Tags, Triggers, and Variables.
Tags are a way to tell GTM what we want it to do. Triggers tell GTM when to do it (when we want it to “fire” those Tags) and Variables are re-usable information that adds details to all so that GTM knows exactly where to fire those tags. The Preview Mode is a way to test and verify if all the above work correctly.
However, we’ll look at a short example of how all of this works in a structured sequence each time you need to implement changes in GTM.
This starts with the Workspace.
When you come to GTM, you find yourself in a workspace by default (the default workspace).
You can create a new workspace which will be a separate temporary workspace to the default one (you’ll understand why we say temporary).
Why Creating A New Workspace?
For example, if 2 people are working at the same time in your GTM container, there is a chance that one’s changes will override the other’s. To prevent this from happening, you’d want to create a separate workspace so that Tag Manager can alert you first before updating anything and merging the 2 workspaces into the defualt workspace.
That being said, this is optional and is more suitable for when multiple people work in one same GTM container. If you’re alone, the default workspace is fine.
Let’s create a workspace.
Simply select workspace, the rename it and save it.
Now you can see your temporary new workspace called “Eric Digital Workspace”.
Now, here you’ll implement all your changes.
But once you’re done with your work in GTM, this workspace will be saved as a version. The version is a record of your changes and implementations in GTM at that time. If you are confused, just keep reading, everything will make more sense.
Now let’s add some Forms from our pre-built variables just to make some changes we can use for illustration purposes. This is just to serve our example of how your workflow in GTM should be.
Selet ” Variables” and then “Configure“
You can now click on “Overview” and you’ll see that the Workspace name has changed and you can also see your recent changes (the form variables we added).
💡 Tip: you can always remove a change you don’t want by selecting “Abandon Change“. Clickon the 3 dots you see at the right side.
Do Not Publish Yet, Go To Your Preview Mode
You might be satisfied with adding your variables and making some changes. But before publishing it for the world to see, you’d want to 1st test your changes by using the Preview Mode.
Like we did earlier, go to “Preview” within your workspace.
Then go to your website page or refresh your website page.
Here we can see that the variables we recently added are present.
Click on the event panel to the left on “message” or “Pageview“
This means its GTM is listening and waiting for something to happen (but nothing will because there’s no Tags and Triggers linked to them).
Now go back to your GTM workspace and “leave preview mode“.
Go to your web page and refresh it.
“Submit” your new version
After you make changes to your workspace and are ready to “Submit” these changes, know that you are submitting what’s called a Version of your recent work.
A very good example of what Submit does and its relation to a container Version is given by Chris Mercer (co-founder of measurementmarketing.io):
“Just like in a WordPress post, […], as soon as you hit update it doesn’t automatically go, you have to hit publish and then it publishes to the web, otherwise it’s saved in a draft mode of some sort, it’s kind of the same thing with Tag Manager”.Chris Mercer
Before submitting anything, your changes remain in a version of the container which remains private.
The preview mode allows you to see and test them before the public can see it.
Rename your Version appropriately following a clear naming convention.
Initially, my Version Name was called ” Eric Digital Workspace”. But this is not really descriptive.
Renaming it : “Initial Setup – Added Form Variables” helps understand what this version was about.
The following image shows you that you can publish your version changes to a dev or staging server. But this requires a certain setup and most times you will only use the live version, so you probably don’t need to bother about that.
Now hit” Publish”
Now you can see your Version (record of what you did, like a blog post that’s been updated).
Go back to your workspace.
You’ll notice 2 changes :
1- You’re back to the workspace default
2- GTM wants you to update your Workspace (do it).
This is where your workflow ends.
Just for safety. Verify again everything by relaunching the preview mode and going back to your site to see if everything is working fine.
You started by creating a new workspace or using straight the default one. Creating a workspace is optional
Then you made your changes, that you previewed and tested.
You left the preview mode, refreshed your web pages, and published your changes.
As soon as you published your changes, you have a Version that is created automatically which is a record of everything you did.