Top 5 GTMv2 Features

If you’re anything like me, you saw the GTM v2 update coming with an impending sense of dread. You thought “oh no, another interface that I’m going to have to get familiar with” or “oh no, a slightly different system that’ll have slightly different quirks and tics and I’ll have to spend months relearning how to use it properly, argh (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻”. Back in June when everything got auto-updated, I sent an email to one of our clients apologising for the change. But guess what? As with pretty much everything, I was overreacting1. It’s been a month and a bit, and, whisper it, I’ve actually come around to thinking that most of the changes might be… good? Alright, there are a few interface things that I still think could do with a bit of work (the “Some Pages” rules editor (sorry, trigger editor) within the tag editor is a particular bugbear) but for the most part, it’s a step up – in many ways more straightforward, easy to explain to clients, and with a whole bunch of new, exciting features, with more being added as we go! What follows are my favourite of those, so cue the music, and:


Step by step!

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This is probably the one that is most immediately noticeable, once you get past the “woah, everything looks different. Try to create a tag or something and you’re led through a several-stop process where once you would have been given free reign. Originally this kinda wound me up – I’m a power user, stop trying to hold my hand, dammit! Gradually, though, I’ve learned to appreciate the way that it forces you to think through your tag construction.

Built-in event listeners!

Screenshot 2015-07-20 17.14.01

Another biggie: no more fussing around with listeners (unless you really, really want to)! Equally importantly, no more “event equals gtm.linkClick” firing rules – you can click one of the now nicely grouped-by-event-type triggers in the last step of your tag creation. Cleaner, neater, easier.



Screenshot 2015-07-17 17.04.04

It’s a sadly familiar condition: clients with loads of tags, some of which bear very little relation to one another – some GA, some agency advertising, some weird little bits of custom HTML held together with hope and jQuery – and no way to really sort them, save name, type and edit date. Even if you have the best naming conventions in the world and are able to consistently adhere to them (if you are: well done, you’re better than me), that’s still somewhat lacking. But now, folders! Granted, it’s not perfect – I’d like to be able to filter to see just tags or triggers or variables, and maybe to add things to multiple folders, and maybe some more stuff if I think hard but let’s not run before we can walk, eh?

Syntax highlighting!

Screenshot 2015-07-17 16.54.01

I’m going to go right ahead and make the assumption that if you’re reading a blog post about Google Tag Manager you probably use it enough to have the Code Editor for GTM extension by fifty-five (you know, the one there was that beef about on the… oh you didn’t? Ask me about it sometime, it was hilarious). Well, tear that up and throw it to the wind because you don’t need it any more. Google have finally seen fit to include syntax highlighting, automatic indentation and all that good, good stuff. I mean, unless you prefer the black background, or are particularly attached to the ability to make the editor go fullscreen in which case you might want to keep it around.

CSS Selectors!

Screenshot 2015-07-17 17.16.04

I’m not going to say it’s a bad thing that the lack of these in earlier versions meant I was forced to learn Javascript and jQuery at the beginning of my time with Measurelab – because they’re definitely very useful languages in which to be conversant (and there are, of course, other things I need to use them for) – but good grief, if this saves me half the time I’ve spend fiddling around with jQuery selector macros (sorry, variables – see how hard this is?), it’ll make me very, very happy. Obviously it’s not quite a panacea – it’ll only select the first matching element, and there are plenty of circumstances I can think of where it wouldn’t be quite what I need, but still: jolly useful.

That’s just the stuff there’s been so far! Hopefully we’ll continue to see more updates like this going forward!


  1. there’s still a dent in the wall from when I lost my rag over the fact that we’d run out of teabags ↩
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