If you're using Google Analytics 4 to understand your website's performance, there are some significant updates you should know about. In September 2023, Google released two new settings variables that streamline how you configure Google Analytics 4 through Google Tag Manager. These new variables – Configuration Settings Variable and Event Settings Variable – offer improved flexibility and efficiency. They work seamlessly with a new Google Tag template set to replace the Google Analytics 4 configuration tag.
This article will describe how to use Google Tag, Configuration Settings Variable and Event Settings Variable when configuring Google Analytics 4 using web Google Tag Manager.
Now, you can add Google Tag (gtag.js) to your website. Once in place, it acts as a channel for various Google products and services. Think of it as a multi-purpose tool in your digital toolkit. Instead of juggling multiple tags for different Google accounts, you can add this single tag across your entire website. This one tag can then be connected to various destinations, including but not limited to Google Analytics, Google Ads, and other Google services in the future. For now, Google Tag is only compatible with Google Analytics and Google Ads descriptions.
The most obvious advantage is that you'll significantly reduce the number of tags you must manage. Instead of a different tag for each Google product you use, you'll only need to deal with one! This is especially helpful if you're not tech-savvy or if you simply want to streamline your website's code for better performance.
Google Tag replaces the Google Analytics 4 configuration tag and is a critical data source for your Google Ads account.
In the Google Tag Manager container, users have a second tab that shows all Google Tag that they have access to. By opening each Google Tag, it’s possible to:
The Google Tag: Configuration Settings Variable is a sort of "recipe" for how your Google Tags should behave. Once you create this recipe, you can apply it to multiple tags simultaneously instead of inputting the settings one-by-one for each tag. It's a way to create a set of rules that any Google Tags you choose can follow.
For instance, you run an e-commerce site with multiple product categories like electronics, clothing, and home goods. You want to segment your audience based on the category they're interested in. Creating a configuration variable that includes a product category parameter allows you to apply this setting across all your relevant Google tags efficiently. This eliminates the need to update each tag individually.
However, this variable comes with a minor drawback. Previously, there was a user-friendly interface that made it easier to input these settings. You'll need to type in the field parameters you want to configure manually. This may be more challenging for a beginner, but once you get the hang of it, the flexibility it offers is a significant advantage.
And we’ll show you how!
1. Create and set up a server Google Tag Manager container. Or if you already have one, go to your Account.
2. Click on Variables on the left of the menu and choose New.
3. Click on Variable Configuration and choose Google tag: Configuration settings.
4. Type what parameters you want to reuse, like in the screenshot below.You can take a look at Valid parameters for configuration settings or type a custom parameter.
5. Don’t forget to name the Variable and click the Save button.
The Google Tag: Event Settings Variable lets you easily manage and standardize "events" or specific actions that users take on your website, like clicking a button or filling out a form.
You can create a list of these event parameters and settings in one place and then apply them to multiple tags.
Let's say you operate a news portal and want to monitor the number of people who click on a "Read More" button for featured articles. Instead of manually inserting a "Read More Clicks" parameter into each separate tag, you can centralize this setup by creating a Google Tag: Event Settings variable containing that parameter.
Moreover, even though this variable is designed to be used with various products, it offers a dedicated field for adding Google Analytics User Properties. This means you can customize how you track specific user behaviors, offering a more nuanced understanding of your audience.
2. Click on Variables and choose New.
3. Then, on Variable Configuration and Google Tag: Event Settings.
4. Type what parameters you want to reuse, like in the screenshot below. You can take a look at Valid parameters for event settings or type a custom parameter.
5. To transmit event-specific parameters solely for certain GA4 events, include the event settings variable within a GA4 Event tag. Go to Tags and select GA4 Event tag.
6. Select a Google Tag: Event Settings variable from the dropdown list and edit the parameters as you’d like.
7. Don’t forget to click Save and publish the changes.
Google is working on a more straightforward way to set up tracking for their products using Google Tag and Google Tag settings variables. They aim to reduce the need for many tags that do the same thing for different platforms.
Google tag settings variables help cut down on repeated tasks. While the Google Tag configuration variable might not be used often, the event setting variable will be handy.
However, both the tag and its settings variables need some improvements. We can likely expect updates in the future.
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