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How to install Parse.ly with Google Tag Manager

How to install Parse.ly with Google Tag Manager

You can use Google Tag Manager (GTM) to install the Parse.ly tracker. In some cases, you may want to use this method if you are familiar with using the GTM dashboard. Parse.ly also works with the WordPress Content Management System (CMS) to install the tracker and deploy metadata for your site in one step. Refer to the table below in considering which method to choose.

ToolCostTracker InstallationMetadata InstallationAdvantageDisadvantage
Google Tag ManagerFreeYesNoChanges in new site builds can be rolled back more conveniently.Cannot be used to deploy metadata on site pages.
Wordpress CMSFreeYesYesPlugin supplies both installations in one procedure. This is the most common method for integrating Parse.ly.Rolling back JavaScript changes can require more editing time.

The following FAQ may provide additional insight into using the GTM tool.

How do I know if GTM is already being used on my site?

Perhaps the easiest way to check this is to view a source page for your site and then search for the GTM tag (gtag), or a string like gtm.start. If the tag or string is present on the page, then your site is using GTM. The specific steps for doing this depend on the browser you are using. For example, in a Windows Chrome environment, you right click the web page, select View page source, and then search (Ctrl-F) for gtag.

Inspector G-tag

If I already have GTM on my site, should I use it to install the tracker?

Because GTM does not install metadata, It is not necessarily easier to use, even if it is already on your site. If your preference for using GTM to manage the JavaScript snippet on each page outweighs the time to take the additional step of adding metadata to each page, then you may want to use GTM.

When would you possibly use GTM to install the Parse.ly tracker?

  • When you regularly use the GTM dashboard and feel more comfortable using it to manage the installation of the JavaScript
  • When you want to make the tracking changes to your production site immediately without having your site code handy or without having to use a developer to deploy it
  • When you know you want to deploy metadata on site pages with a custom method
  • When you prefer to use GTM to manage individual changes and rollbacks to site pages
  • When you have an enterprise account with Parse.ly and want to provide easy access to your GTM account for Parse.ly engineers

If I decide to use GTM to install the Parse.ly tracker, how do I do it?

You can use GTM to install the Parse.ly tracker in one of two ways. Both methods are accessible from within the tool itself.

#Method 1: Install the Parse.ly GTM Community template

This is a good option for a standard setup or when you don’t plan to customize the Parse.ly integration in any way. To install the template from within GTM, you can view a video demonstration of the steps, or do the following:

  1. On the left side of the GTM Workspace, click Templates and then click the Search Gallery button.

    Search Gallery

  2. On the Import Tag Template panel, click the magnifying glass icon so that the search field appears. Type Parse.ly in the search field and then click on the Parse.ly tracker.

    Import Tag

  3. Click the Add to workspace button and then confirm it by clicking Add on the pop up screen.

Add community template

Open the Template Editor by clicking Parse.ly Tracker in the Tag Templates list and then click the Save button in the upper right.

Save Template Editor

Now that the Parse.ly template is added to GTM, you need to add the tag. Click Tags on the left side of the screen.

  1. Click New in the upper right of the Tag Templates list.
  2. In the upper left of the tag editor, type the name Parse.ly as the title and then click in the Tag Configuration space.

Tag Configuration

  1. Click the magnifying glass icon so that the search field appears and type Parse.ly.
  2. Click the Parse.ly tracker.

Click Parse.ly Tracker

  1. Under Tag Configuration, enter your domain name in the Parse.ly Site ID field. If you do not know your Site ID, you can email hello@parsely.com or integrations@parsely.com.
  2. Click on the Triggering space and then choose a trigger from the list that appears. The recommended practice is to have Parse.ly trigger whenever Google Analytics triggers, so to do this, choose All Pages and then click Save.

Triggering

  1. Click the Submit button in the upper right of the GTM Workspace. Review your changes and click Publish. You can optionally add information to the Container Version Description. To finish, click Continue.

The Parse.ly template is now installed and your tracking code will be deployed on the pages of your site.

#Method 2: Use a GTM Custom HTML tag

This method is useful when you want full control in your custom integration and in how you will use Parse.ly code snippets.

In this case, you define your Custom HTML tag, or provide a reference to it, in the Tag Configuration form in GTM , as shown below:

Tag Configuration

What are some additional details I should know about how GTM operates in a Parse.ly integration?

  • GTM operates only at the JavaScript level of the page. GTM calls this a data layer. As a result, it is limited to installing and customizing only what is placed within the
  • Because GTM operates only at the JavaScript level, it is more convenient to roll back changes from a new site build than if done at the CMS level or with a plug-in.
  • Tag managers like GTM operate when JavaScript executes on the page and not when HTML is rendered. Parse.ly standard metadata integrations require metadata to be rendered into the HTML.

Can I use GTM to setup Parse.ly across multiple sites that run a different CMS?

Yes. That is a feature of tag managers in general for any tracker.

What happens if I install the tracking code with GTM and do not install metadata?

Because Parse.ly has auto-crawl technology that can infer page metadata even when it is not expressly structured, the Parse.ly dashboard may still work. This might be a useful intermediate step in working toward full integration with multiple steps. However, to leverage the most meaningful data possible for your site, it is strongly recommended to provide the page metadata at some point. Also, remember that initial page metadata installations can always be improved with subsequent installations.

Can I use GTM to install the tracker and WordPress CMS to install the metadata?

Yes. Although the current version of the Parse.ly WordPress plugin does not provide a way to separate the task of installing the metadata from installing the tracker, you can still use a customized method. This includes using a Custom HTML tag that references instructions for having WordPress install metadata, as shown in the previous discussion of using Custom HTML tags in GTM. This involves having a developer provide this in a programmatic way for your site.

Which tag managers besides GTM work with Parse.ly?

Adobe DTM, Ensighten, Tealium, and TagMan all work similarly to GTM with Parse.ly. They involve deploying tags via code snippets through an interface and they all provide a similar workflow to GTM.

Adobe Launch, Segment, and mParticle are dissimilar tools that act less as tag managers than JavaScript frameworks for event data. They are more likely to translate Parse.ly calls to methods within an Analytics.js framework.

If I’m using a Single Page App (SPA) or doing dynamic tracking, can I use GTM to deploy Parse.ly?

Yes. in most cases. If you are using an SPA, Parse.ly support can activate SPA autotracking for you. This tracking listens for virtual navigation changes and sends pageview events when calls to the browser’s history interface are detected. Usually, you can use GTM to install this Parse.ly tracking. For more information, see Single Page Application Tracking or email integrations@parsely.com.

If I have distributed content channels to track beyond the Website channel, would I be able to use GTM to install Parse.ly tracking to all of them?

GTM has direct support for Google AMP and Parse.ly supports Google AMP, with either the direct integration or a GTM-on-AmP installation with a Parse.ly tag configured.

For channels other than the Website or Google AMP, it’s unlikely that GTM will be an option, and you will have to install Parse.ly tracking using a different method. Mixing and matching integration options across channels like this is an accepted and frequent practice. So for Facebook Instant Articles, Native iOS, and Native Android channels, you can use different methods.

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