watching a YouTube video on a plane
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Tag managers arrived on the technology scene years ago, making analytic tag adjustment easier for marketers. Over the years, they have saved marketers time by making it possible to integrate sources for reporting. 

Marketers should stay on top of updates to tag managers, because the new features can make data exploration easier.

In one recent development, for example, Google introduced a time-saving YouTube video integration for Google Tag Manager. The new feature allows Google Analytics users to measure visitor engagement with videos embedded into websites or apps. The results can reveal whether the content has an influence on important metrics, such as conversions.

A Trigger That Fires the Tag

To get started, enter the Tag Manager interface to create a new tag, using the tag type and configuration tools. The YouTube integration takes the form of a trigger, a setting that allows the user to define the precise circumstances that will activate (or “fire”) the tag and send a hit report to Google Analytics.

To do this, navigate to New Triggers in the Google Tag Manager user interface. Under Trigger Configuration, select the YouTube Video trigger type.

You can then configure the trigger to select the type of video behavior that you want the tag manager to capture. Here are the options, which Google lists on its YouTube video trigger help page:

  • Start: When you select this option, the trigger fires the tag when the video begins to play.
  • Complete: The complete trigger fires the tag when the video finishes.
  • Pause, seeking and buffering: These triggers will fire the tag if the video is paused, the scrub bar is moved or the video buffers.
  • Progress: Progress triggers will fire the tag when the video reaches specified progress points, defined either in terms of amount of time elapsed or percentage of playback.

The next step is to create a Google Tag Manager container so that the activity from these triggers is incorporated into the data used for reporting. Container creation is standard Tag Manager procedure, and in this case the process involves video variables. The video variables carry the data as a data layer, which can then be used in reports as dimensions and metrics.

Related Article: How YouTube Watch Time Is the Metric Marketers Need

Analytics Benefits

Google Tag Manager’s YouTube trigger offers a number of analytics benefits, including these:

  • The integrated data can be a conversion goal: The trigger enables Google Analytics to treat video views as events. The events can be displayed in conversion reporting based on visitor interaction with the videos, allowing a marketing team to determine which videos are drawing customer interest.
  • The reports can provide a better view of visitor interactions with videos: When data is available within Google Analytics, you can track and compare the behavior of visitors over different time periods, or based on their acquisition source or other traffic properties in Google Analytics. In Google Analytics, you can see which videos were most popular, which led to conversion and purchase, and so on.
  • The ability to see which types of visitors viewed the videos more than others: Analytic tools are generally designed to highlight segments of data to indicate how visitors are engaging with content. In this case, Google Analytics can indicate which videos are most popular with different groups of visitors. They also identify which segments of videos were excellent and which weren’t good enough, giving marketers more detailed information beyond the fact that visitors didn’t like a particular video. Marketers can use that information to refine any personalization plan for the video content.

Google Tag Manager’s YouTube trigger also provides an administrative benefit. The integration reduces the amount of back-and-forth effort between Google reporting platforms that is required to view reports.

Marketers should expect more integrations between tag managers and platforms such as YouTube. The emphasis on engagement will rise in the coming years, especially for social media sites as video usage increases in popularity on those platforms. Taking advantage of strong integrations allows marketers to quickly identify strengths and concerns and better create and manage content that speaks to customers.

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