Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager: What’s the difference?

In this blog post, I’ll compare Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics and show you the main differences :slight_smile:

About Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a website/app tracking tool. Google Analytics’ main purpose is to collect, analyze website visitor data and display it in various reports. Some things Google Analytics can do for you:

  • Measure where traffic is coming from
  • How many people visited your website yesterday
  • What country they come from
  • How many pages they visited each session
  • Which pages are the most popular, etc

Google Analytics is itself an analytics tag, called GA Tracking code or GA Javascript code snippet. This tag must be placed on every page on your website to track these user’s interactions.

Once an interaction occurs on your site (e.g. pageview), a Javascript snippet sends the corresponding data to Google Analytics. With Google Analytics, you can track general information like page views, bounce rate, session duration, referrals, etc.

However, if you want to track how many people sign up or book demo on your website, you will need to add custom tags (GA events) that send the data only when a visitor completes a specific action on your website. For example, book demo form on Magestore’s website.

This is what Google Tag Manager can help.

About Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager is a free tag management tool that allows you to create and monitor various types of tags on your website. It acts as a data transportation middleman between a website and 3rd party tracking tools (Google Analytics).

It’s used only for routing data from one data source to another. So there are no reports in Google Tag Manager. Google Analytics tracks these user interactions with the help of Google Analytics tracking code, whereas the tag used to install GTM on your website is called “container tag”.

Google Tag Manager is not a replacement for Google Analytics, but it works together. It changes in the way you add Google Analytics tracking code (tag) to your website.

To sum up, Google Tag Manager lets you manage various Javascript tracking codes (tags) on your website. Google Analytics tracking code is one of those tags.

In Conclusion

Here are the main points that should be emphasized when comparing Google Tag Manager vs Google Analytics:

  • Google Tag Manager does not replace Google Analytics. It helps you to easily add Google Analytics tracking codes (tags) to your website.
  • Google Analytics is itself a tag. Whereas Google Tag Manager is a tag management tool.
  • Google Tag Manager is a data transportation method between your website and a 3rd-party tracking tool (Google Analytics). It does not store any analytics or marketing data. While Google Analytics is a sort of a database