Spotlight on Google Tag Manager: Open and Secure Tag Management

With Google Tag Manager and Tag Manager 360, we make it easy for marketers to manage tags on their sites and apps for fast, flexible implementation of new marketing technologies. Last week at SMX East, we announced that we’ve added more than 20 new tag templates to Google Tag Manager to empower marketers to move faster and make decisions with confidence. This is one of a couple recent changes to make Tag Manager more open and more secure.

New third-party tag templates

Google Tag Manager already includes easy-to-use tag templates for many Google and non-Google tools. And, while we support implementing all other tags using a variety of custom tag types, we’re dedicated to expanding the number of third-party tag templates available to you. Tag templates make it easy to add and maintain tags on your sites and apps without code. This means that less technical users can be more involved, errors are less likely, and your sites are ultimately more secure.

To make it easier and safer to deploy third-party tags, we’ve developed an open format that allows vendors like Microsoft, Twitter, and Nielsen to implement and maintain their own tag templates in Google Tag Manager. For companies whose products depend on tags, having a tag template in Google Tag Manager is a great way to make implementation easier than ever.

“The seamless integration of Digital Content Ratings — a key component of Nielsen’s Total Audience measurement framework — into Google Tag Manager will enable easy deployment and rapid adoption of Nielsen measurement with savvy digital clients.”
– David Wong, SVP of Product Leadership at Nielsen

Our Vendor Tag Template Program allows tag providers to natively integrate with our tag templating system. Google performs a security review of each tag that is submitted through the program. The resulting tags are integrated into Tag Manager, and displayed with the company’s logo and an easy-to-use form to configure and deploy the tag.

“At Hotjar we’re obsessed about giving our users fast and actionable insights about how their visitors are using their site. Our top most priority is making it easy and simple to set up Hotjar. For this reason, we’re extremely excited to provide ‘out-of-the-box’ support for Google Tag Manager.”
– David Darmanin, CEO of Hotjar

Some recent additions include:

Are you a vendor who would like your tag supported? Learn more about the Vendor Tag Template Program and enroll here.

Secure container loading

At Google, we constantly look to develop products with best in class security. Google Tag Manager already has a host of security features such as user access controls, 2-step verification, malware detection, and tag blacklists. We’ve now also made some changes to the Google Tag Manager container snippet — given out in our user interface and documentation — to improve security and performance even more.

Previously, the Tag Manager container snippet loaded containers in a protocol-relative manner. That is, on pages with an https:// URL, the container would be loaded securely using HTTPS. Our new snippets will always use the secure protocol (HTTPS) by default, regardless of the protocol of the page. This helps protect containers from malicious parties and snooping, and in many cases, will also improve performance.

You’ll also notice that we’ve made a change to how we recommend Tag Manager be implemented, now with the container snippet split into two parts:

  • A JavaScript snippet that should be implemented as high in the <head> of your page as possible to ensure the best tag performance. This change is especially important if you plan to use Tag Manager to deploy Google Optimize.
  • An iframe snippet that should be implemented just after the opening <body> tag. This snippet handles firing of image pixels for users with JavaScript disabled, and also enables Google Search Console verification.

To get the best performance, it’s recommended that you implement both container snippets following the latest installation instructions.

What if you already have Google Tag Manager implemented on your site? Not to worry: These changes are optional, and your existing implementations will continue to work without a problem. To get the highest level of security and performance, you can update your implementations at your earliest convenience.

Happy tagging!