“Google Tag Manager is a free tool that makes it easy for marketers to add and update website tags — including conversion tracking, site analytics, remarketing, and more — with just a few clicks, and without needing to edit your website code.” (Google Analytics)
I first learned how to use Google Tag Manager (GTM) by reading a blog by Simo Ahava, a Senior Data Advocate and a web analytics guru. For a detailed description of how to set up GTM check out his two articles on Auto-Event Tracking In GTM 2.0 and Track Outbound Links In GTM V2.
Google Tag Manager is a powerful tool to grow your business and better understand your audience. All of the following examples are from my online dating website, Top Romp, which I grew to over 20,000 unique views per month while leveraging outbound links. Simply put, outbound links take you to another website. In Google Analytics they can be found under Behavior –> Events –> Top Events.
Let’s face it — we hear about Google Tag Manager and its importance for marketers all the time, but most of us have no idea what it actually is and why it’s so beneficial. So allow me to explain to you how GTM can assist different websites in all stages to be more efficient and precise with their data and to better segment their customer use and behavior (something that Google Analytics does not cover well). Outbound links can be applied to any type of website from dating to wearables.
Here are 7 ways you can leverage Google Tag Manager’s outbound link triggers and tags to grow your business and better understand your audience:
1. Learn What Your Customers Really Want
As highlighted below, you can see that Top Romp has the greatest number of outbound links from the article Which Friends Use Tinder. Each time a viewer clicks on a link, an event is triggered and displayed in your Google Analytics. Another outbound link that performs well is “Become an A-List Member” associated with the article, 7 Ways to Hack Online Dating With OkCupid’s A-List. This measures the number of Top Romp readers who are interested in OkCupid membership.
An outbound link holds far more significance than a page view or a Facebook “like”, since the user’s intent is to explore a new page and even possibly make a purchase, which can bring in revenue.
Who cares if you get 1,000 likes if you can’t monetize from it!
Understanding your audience can then help you begin to optimize your website and create new content based off of your outbound link frequency.
I recommend that you run experiments with outbound links to see which particular products and brands your users are interested in. Just remember to always keep it relevant to your overall message and brand to ensure positive user experience. Once you’ve compiled the necessary data, you’ll then be able to write content about specific products, rank for new keywords, and bring in additional revenue through affiliate marketing and online advertising.
2. SEO Optimization
In addition to the Google Analytics Acquisition — Queries page, you can also use outbound links to better understand how to optimize your SEO. Since the OkCupid A-List outbound link is often triggered, writing more content about OkCupid A-List would help optimize Top Romp’s SEO and rank for long-tail keywords, which are specific search phrases containing more than one word.
3. Show Tangible Numbers
Instead of telling an advertiser, “60% of our users are men,” you can actually show tangible numbers. For example, Top Romp can tell OkCupid that 100 of our readers visited their site through one of Top Romp’s outbound links.
4. Affiliate Marketing & Online Advertising
Once you have outbound click data, you can go to an advertiser and show how a partnership would be beneficial for both parties. You can then leverage your outbound link data for bringing in new brands.
For example, since the Top Romp audience is interested in OkCupid membership, as seen in the outbound link data, this is a possible affiliate or online advertising deal, which will bring in new revenue to the site. The risk is mitigated for OkCupid since Top Romp has been sending viewers to their membership page, and Top Romp can now build upon its OkCupid outbound links, tailoring more OkCupid content for our users.
5. Test Your Outbound Links
And speaking of finding good catches….
Let’s say you have a blog devoted to the sport of fishing, and you find your audience is continuously clicking on the link to the new PENN Fishing pole. But, your 10 other outbound links from different products and brands haven’t been performing as well. From this data, you can conclude that your audience is most interested in this specific pole by PENN fishing. From there you can go to PENN with your data and express your interest in partnering with them, as your audience is attracted to their product. They take on little risk, since you have the data to back it up, and everybody wins.
In the future, you can add new content for PENN fishing while making sure to highlight their products throughout. Tailor your content to fit the interests of your audience and provide them with the best user experience possible, while concurrently allowing your own business to grow and profit. Experiment often, cast a wide net (pun intended) and then narrow it as you begin to see what products your readers are most attracted to.
6. Better than Google Analytics Affinity Categories
The problem with Google Analytics’ affinity categories is that they’re far too general to truly help you understand your audience. For example, Movie Lovers is Top Romp’s number one category followed by TV Lovers. However, it seems like everyone falls into either of those two categories, so this information is not going to help me understand the specific interest of my audience. Using outbound links, you can know exactly what your users want.
7. Create a Synergy with the Marketing Team
When you successfully set up outbound links, you create a well-oiled machine. Your marketers will now use the outbound data to precisely understand their audience while the writers will write content based on this information. From there, you can optimize your SEO, create new partnerships, and please your audience at the same time.