How to install and use Google Tag Manager in Segment.com

If you are not already familiar with ‘segment.com’,here is a quick recap.

‘Segment.com’ (formerly known as ‘segment.io) is a tool used to route/send data between multiple data sources.

The data source from which the data is extracted is called the ‘originating data source’.

The data source to which the transformed data is sent is called ‘destination data source’.

The role of ‘segment.com’ is to ‘Extract’, ‘Transform’ and ‘Load’ data between different data sources.

It act as a hub between originating and destination data sources.

If you are new to ‘Extract’, ‘Transform’ and ‘Load’ (ETL) functions then read this article: Why you may no longer need Google Tag Manager where I explained the concept of ‘ETL functions’ in great detail.

I would strongly suggest to read this article first, so that you can make sense of what I am talking about next, in the present article.

I won’t be explaining the very basics of ETL functions in the present article.

Difference between ‘Segment.com’ and Google Tag Manager

#1 Both ‘segment’ and ‘GTM’ are designed to route data from one data source to another. However unlike GTM, ‘segment’ can be much more easily used to route data between multiple data sources.

#2  Both ‘segment’ and ‘GTM’ are primarily designed to be used by developers. However unlike GTM, ‘segment’ is much more non-developer friendly as it has the ability to automate many ETL functions.

#3 ‘Segment’ can automate ETL functions for your. GTM can never do that. This is the biggest advantage of using ‘segment’.

#4 GTM core is based on ‘data layers’. ‘Segment’ core is based on ‘API. As such there is no concept of ‘data layers’ in segment.

#5 GTM is a tag management tool. ‘Segment’ is not a tag management tool.

Though ‘segment’ often promote itself as an alternative to GTM, it is worth noting that it is not a replacement to GTM (yet).

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#6 Google Tag Manager has one very strong advantage over ‘segment’ and that is its ability to control tags. Through GTM you can easily control:

  1. When a tag should fire
  2. When a tag should not fire
  3. Where a tag should fire
  4. Where a tag should not fire
  5. How often a tag should fire
  6. In which order different tags should fire
  7. What the tag should do when it fire.

‘Segment’ lack that ability. So in many cases, you have to rely on a ‘tag management solution’ like GTM to route data.

However here is thing.

I don’t see any reason, why ‘segment’ (or any similar tool) in the near future, can not also provide the features of a traditional tag management solution.

If you keep this possibility in mind, there will come a time, when traditional tag management solutions may just no longer be required.

Because of that reason, I think the future of GTM is bleak.

Fow now, you have to use tag management solution along with ‘segment’.

Should I install GTM in ‘Segment’ or ‘Segment’ in GTM?

You can do both.

You can install GTM in segment or ‘segment’ in GTM.

‘Segment’ recommend installing GTM in ‘segment’. I am not 100% sure, why.

But here is my theory.

‘Segment’ has the ability to send same event data to multiple data sources in the format they understand.

So for example, ‘segment’ can send the same clicks on ‘add to cart’ button, to Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Kissmetric, Piwik etc.

For ‘segment’, GTM is just another data source.

So ‘segment’ can send the same event data to GTM in the format it understand.

For example ‘segment’ can convert existing events to data layer so that it can be used via GTM.

However for GTM, ‘segment’ is just another tag.

So if you install ‘segment’ via GTM,  ‘segment’ will either have a hard time translating and routing data in the format GTM and other data sources can understand or it will simply not work in certain cases.

So you should avoid installing ‘segment’ via GTM.

Installing Google Tag Manager in Segment.com

Follow the steps below:

Step-1: Create an account at segment.com. You can sign up for their free developer account just to get a taste of what ‘segment’ is.

Step-2: Select your originating data source. You can select ‘My Website’ for now:

Step-3: Copy-paste the segment snippet in the head section of all of the pages on your website:

Step-4: Click on the ‘Debugger’ link in the top navigation to confirm whether segment is recording events:

If the ‘segment’ is recording events, you will see the event data and it confirms that segment is successfully installed on your website.

Step-5: Login to your GTM account and note down the container id.

Step-6: Navigate back to your segment account and then click on ‘Integrations’ link in the top navigation:

Step-7: Find and click on ‘Google Tag Manager’ integration:

Step-8: Enter your GTM container ID and click on ‘Activate Integration’:

Step-9: Remove the GTM container tag code from all the pages of your website.

Note (1): Google Tag Assistant won’t work once you start using GTM within segment as it won’t be able to find the container code embedded on a web page.

Note (2): Do not activate Google Analytics integration within segment, if you are deploying Google Analytics via GTM.

Step-10: Use Google Tag Manager the way you normally do. However you will no longer be hard coding data layers on your website. You would track events via segment and segment translate the tracked events into datalayer so they can be used via GTM. In this way you can send same events to multiple data sources and not just GTM.

 

Do you know the difference between Digital Analytics and Google Analytics?


99.99% of course creators themselves don’t know the difference between Digital analytics, Google Analytics (GA) and Google Tag Manager (GTM).

So they are teaching GA and GTM in the name of teaching Digital analytics.

They just copy each other. Monkey see, monkey do.

But Digital analytics is not about GA, GTM.

It is about analyzing and interpreting data, setting up goals, strategies and KPIs.

It’s about creating strategic roadmap for your business.


Digital Analytics is the core skill. Google Analytics is just a tool used to implement ‘Digital Analytics’.

You can also implement ‘Digital analytics’ via other tools like ‘adobe analytics’, ‘kissmetrics’ etc.

Using Google Analytics without the good understanding of ‘Digital analytics’ is like driving around in a car, in a big city without understanding the traffic rules and road signs.

You are either likely to end up somewhere other than your destination or you get involved in an accident.


You learn data analysis and interpretation from Digital analytics and not from Google Analytics.

The direction in which your analysis will move, will determine the direction in which your marketing campaigns and eventually your company will move to get the highest possible return on investment.

You get that direction from ‘Digital analytics’ and not from ‘Google Analytics’.


You learn to set up KPIs, strategies and measurement framework for your business from ‘Digital analytics’ and not from ‘Google Analytics’.

So if you are taking a course only on 'Google Analytics’, you are learning to use one of the tools of ‘Digital analytics’. You are not learning the ‘Digital analytics’ itself.

Since any person can learn to use Google Analytics in couple of weeks, you do no get any competitive advantage in the marketplace just by knowing GA.

You need to know lot more than GA in order to work in digital analytics and marketing field.


So what I have done, if you are interested, is I have put together a completely free training that will teach you exactly how I have been able to leverage digital analytics to generate floods of news sales and customers and how you can literally copy what I have done to get similar results.

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1) The number 1 reason why most marketers and business owners are not able to scale their advertising and maximise sales.

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Himanshu Sharma

Digital Marketing Consultant and Founder of Optimizesmart.com

Himanshu helps business owners and marketing professionals in generating more sales and ROI by fixing their website tracking issues, helping them understand their true customers purchase journey and helping them determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.

He has over 12 years experience in digital analytics and digital marketing.

He was nominated for the Digital Analytics Association's Awards for Excellence.

The Digital Analytics Association is a world renowned not-for-profit association which helps organisations overcome the challenges of data acquisition and application.

He is the author of four best-selling books on analytics and conversion optimization:

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