Google Tag Manager (GTM) vs Google Analytics (GA) – 15 key differences

Following are the main differences between Google Tag Manager (also known as ‘GTM’) and Google Analytics (also known as ‘GA’):

Difference #1

The tag used to install Google Tag Manager on a website is called the ‘container tag’.

The tag used to install Google Analytics on a website is called the ‘Google Analytics Tracking Code’.

Difference #2

The container tag is made up of two parts.

The first part of the GTM container tag is placed in the head section (<head>…..</head>) of all of the web pages on your website and the second part of the GTM container tag is placed immediately after the opening <body> tag of all of the web pages on your website.

The following first part of the GTM container tag is placed in the head section (<head>…..</head>) of all of the web pages on your website:

<!-- Google Tag Manager -->
<script>(function(w,d,s,l,i){w[l]=w[l]||[];w[l].push({'gtm.start':
new Date().getTime(),event:'gtm.js'});var f=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],
j=d.createElement(s),dl=l!='dataLayer'?'&l='+l:'';j.async=true;j.src=
'https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtm.js?id='+i+dl;f.parentNode.insertBefore(j,f);
})(window,document,'script','dataLayer','GTM-TXAAA');</script>
<!-- End Google Tag Manager -->

The second part of the GTM container tag is placed immediately after the opening <body> tag of all of the web pages on your website:

<!-- Google Tag Manager (noscript) -->
<noscript><iframe src="https://www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-TXAAA"
height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden"></iframe></noscript>
<!-- End Google Tag Manager (noscript) -->

The Google Analytics tracking code is not made up of two parts.

The entire tag is placed in the head section (<head>…..</head>) of all of the web pages on your website:

Difference #3

The container tag can not track any users’ interactions (pageviews, events, transactions etc) and website usage data on its own.

In other words, the container tag is not an analytics tag.

Whereas the Google Analytics tracking code can track users’ interactions and as such is an analytics tag.

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Difference #4

The container tag is used to hold one or more marketing and analytics tags and their corresponding triggers and variables.

Whereas the Google Analytics tracking code tag can not be used to hold other tags.

Difference #5

The container tag which does not contain any marketing or analytics tag is called the empty container and is such pretty much useless.

Whereas the Google Analytics tracking code is a complete tag on its own.

Difference #6

The container tag is used to deploy one or more marketing/analytics tags on a website or mobile app.

For example a container tag can be used to deploy Google Analytics on a website.

Similarly, a container tag can be used to deploy Facebook pixel tracking on a website.

Whereas the Google Analytics tracking code tag can only be used to deploy Google Analytics on a website.

Difference #7

The user interface of Google Tag Manager account looks very different from the user interface of Google Analytics account.

Difference #8

A Google Analytics account is made up of one or more properties.

Each property (a property represents a website or a mobile app) is made up one or more reporting views.

A view is a profile which contains all or segmented data of a GA property.

A view is made up of several reports.

Following is the general structure of a GA account:

A GTM account is made up of one or more container tags.

Each container tag represents one website or mobile app.

A container tag contains tags, triggers and variables.

Following is the general structure of a GTM account:

GTM Accout Structure3

Difference #9

Since a GTM account does not contain any reporting view, you can not see any reports in Google Tag Manager.

That is not the case with Google Analytics which is choke full of reports.

Difference #10

Through GTM you can: add, edit, enable, disable or remove any tag, with just few button clicks.

That is something, which is not possible with Google Analytics.

Difference #11

GTM is a tag management tool.

Whereas Google Analytics is a website/mobile app tracking tool.

Difference #12

‘GTM’ is primarily used to route data from one data source to another (like from your website to Google Analytics or from your website to a data warehouse).

It is not a data source in itself.

Whereas Google Analytics is a data source in itself.

Difference #13

GTM is not a database.

It does not store any analytics or marketing data.

Whereas GA is sort of a database (though the data is actually stored on GA servers).

Difference #14

Google Analytics process the collected data according to your configuration settings (like ‘dimension scope’, tag rule) and designed functionality and then report on the processed data via reports.

GTM does not process or report on collected data.

Difference #15

In GA you can query the data either via the reporting interface or via the API. You can not query the data via GTM.

Learn about the Google Analytics Usage Trends Tool

The Google Analytics usage trend is a new tool which is used to visualise trends in your Google Analytics data and to perform trend analysis.


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Himanshu Sharma

Certified web analyst and founder of OptimizeSmart.com

My name is Himanshu Sharma and I help businesses find and fix their Google Analytics and conversion issues. If you have any questions or comments please contact me.

  • Over eleven years' experience in SEO, PPC and web analytics
  • Google Analytics certified
  • Google AdWords certified
  • Nominated for Digital Analytics Association Award for Excellence
  • Bachelors degree in Internet Science
  • Founder of OptimizeSmart.com and EventEducation.com

I am also the author of three books:

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