The data layer is a layer of data that is placed between the webpage and Google Tag Manager, allowing information about user interactions with the website to be collected and sent to data analysis tools.
It’s an essential part of setting up data analytics on a website and allows marketers to track user interactions such as button clicks, page views and conversions.
This information may include user data such as your name, email address and other personal information, as well as information about your behaviour on the website, such as what you clicked on and which pages you visited.
By implementing the data layer correctly, you can ensure that all important user information is collected and stored in one place, making it easier to analyze and optimize your website and digital marketing campaigns.
Additionally, the data layer can be used to trigger custom tags such as Google Ads conversion tags, which makes setting up your data analysis tools much easier.
While data layer implementation may seem complex, it is a crucial part of any website’s data analysis strategy and can be easily set up with the help of an experienced developer or digital marketing agency.
How to check the data layer?
To verify that the data layer is being implemented correctly on your website, you can follow these steps:
- Access your website page in your preferred internet browser.
- Right-click anywhere on the page and select “Inspect” (or Inspect, depending on your browser language).
- In the “Inspect Element” window, select the “Console” tab and execute the following command: console.log(window.dataLayer);
- Press Enter and verify that the console displays the data layer contents.
If the browser console displays data layer content, then the data layer is being implemented correctly on your site. If there are any errors in the implementation, the console will display an error message indicating where the problem lies.
Furthermore, it is possible to use tools such as Google Tag Assistant or Tag Inspector to verify the presence and quality of the data layer. These tools can identify issues and suggest solutions to improve the data layer implementation on your website.
How to insert data into the data layer?
Each object contains a series of key-value pairs, which represent the information you want to send to data analysis tools.
There are several ways to get data into the data layer depending on the platform and tools you are using. Here are some examples of how to enter data into the data layer on a website using Google Tag Manager :
Adding data directly into the page’s HTML code:
You can add data directly to the page’s HTML code using the ; script tag. For example:
The code above creates a data layer object with three variables: the name of the variable, another variable and an event, which is used to fire a trigger in Google Tag Manager.
Using a Google Tag Manager Custom Element
Google Tag Manager allows the creation of custom elements to collect additional user data and send it to the data layer. For example, you can create a custom element that collects the user’s name and email from a form and adds that information to the data layer.
Using custom variables:
You can create custom variables in Google Tag Manager that allow you to collect user-specific information, such as the shopping cart value or the user’s current page. These variables can be added to the data layer for analysis purposes.
It is important to remember that entering data into the data layer must be done in a consistent and standardized way to ensure the accuracy and usefulness of the collected data. Be sure to follow best practices and standards for the platform or tool you are using to enter data into the data layer. Always remember to read the provided documentation.
How to collect Data Layer data with Google Tag Manager?
GTM is a powerful tool for collecting data from the Data Layer of a website. To collect data from the data layer via GTM, follow the steps below:
- Set up the Data Layer on your site: Before you start collecting data with GTM, it’s important to make sure the data layer is set up correctly on your site. Make sure the data layer is present on all relevant pages and that the data you want to collect is being stored correctly.
- Create a trigger (Trigger) in GTM: A trigger is an event that triggers data collection by GTM. There are several types of triggers available in GTM such as button clicks, page views and elapsed time. Choose the trigger type that best suits your data collection goals.
- Create a tag in GTM: A tag is a code that collects site data and sends it to your chosen analytics tool. In GTM, you can create a tag to collect data from any supported analytics tool like Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads and others. Select the appropriate tag for the tool you want to use and configure data collection options.
- Associate the trigger with the tag: After creating the trigger and the tag in GTM, it is important to associate the trigger with the tag. This ensures that the tag will only fire when the specific event defined in the trigger occurs.
- Test the implementation: Before launching data collection into production, it is important to test the GTM implementation in a test environment. Verify that data is being collected correctly and is being sent to your chosen analysis tool.
- Publish the version: After testing the tag and verifying that it is capturing the correct data, publish the new version of Google Tag Manager.
By following the steps above, you will be able to collect data from your website’s data layer using Google Tag Manager and send this data to Google Analytics. With this data, you can gain valuable insights into user behaviour on your website and make more informed decisions about your marketing and business strategies.
It is important to remember that the data layer must be set up correctly from the start to ensure that all important user data is collected and that your data analysis strategy is effective and accurate.