Why Nonprofits Should Use Google Tag Manager
If it happens on your website, it can (almost) always be tracked. Most nonprofits we work with are already using Google Analytics, which is a powerful tool for understanding the behavior of your website visitors. But fewer have heard of Google Analytics' "big brother" in the conversion tracking space—the almighty Google Tag Manager.
While Google Tag Manager (GTM) has an incredible number of uses, the one we will focus on here is tracking specific types of conversions. Using GTM, a non-technical marketer can set up tracking for all types of user actions without having to resort to writing any code. The best part? This conversion data will flow naturally into Google Analytics (GA), keeping all of your website analytics in one convenient place.
In particular, nonprofits can use Google Tag Manager to track:
- Submissions of forms (such as volunteer application forms, donation forms, contact forms, or any other form)
- Clicks of key buttons or links (such as donate buttons, email signup buttons or clicks to download a PDF form)
- Clicks out to an external resource (such as a third party donation portals or partner websites)
Why Tracking Matters—A Story
Each of these actions are crucial for establishing the true value of a given visitor to your website. Without tracking on these types of conversions—and 99 percent of the nonprofits we begin working with do not yet have this tracking set up—it becomes almost impossible to measure the impact of digital marketing efforts.
For example, imagine that you just have GA set up. You can see the number of people visiting your website and what pages they navigate to, as well as how long they stay and where they are coming from geographically.
Let's envision a scenario in which you run two advertising campaigns, campaign A and campaign B, using Google Ads paid for by the Google Ad Grant. Both cost $100 and lead to 100 new people visiting your website. You also notice that 25 new people joined your email newsletter over the same period, and one submitted a form to request information on volunteering.
Which campaign performed better?
The sad truth is, you can't know. Did those 25 newsletter subscribers comes from just one ad campaign? A combination of both? Neither?
Lifting the Blinders
With GTM and proper conversion tracking, the picture is radically different. Imagine running the same ad campaigns and being able to immediately see that 18 of the new email subscribers came from Campaign A. Five came from Campaign B, and the rest were from people finding your website other ways. The prospective volunteer found your website by clicking on a link in an email blast you sent out a month ago that they must have finally just gotten around to reading.
Suddenly, we have insight on a variety of levels. We know, in this hypothetical example, that Campaign A outperformed Campaign B. We know that our email marketing is producing some fruit. And we know that none of this would have been possible without effective conversion tracking.
Taking the Next Step
If you have been meaning to establish more robust conversion analytics but haven't been sure how to start, we created an in-depth video on implementing GTM that might be of some help. There are also a variety of resources available on YouTube offering similar videos, walking you through the process step-by-step.
Grant Hensel is the founder of Nonprofit Megaphone, an agency focused exclusively on acquiring and managing the Google Ad Grant for nonprofits. His team takes pride in their 100 percent success rate helping nonprofits receive the grant and in helping dozens of organizations use the funds to make a difference.