Companies We Work With

National Geographic - Google Tag Manager Case Study

We were tasked with migrating an in-house Tag Manager to Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics on the huge National Geographic website. We only had 3 months to complete this task!

Additionally the project was international and required the use of Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics within a global context.

The result was the project’s successful implementation in record time!

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Google Tag Manager is a great tool for business owners or marketing teams to see how their website is performing—what areas are working, what is underperforming, what functions are not being used like you thought, etc. We see it as a great way to collect live user experience data points on your site from real customers.

Our Google Tag Manager Specialties Include:

  • Website audit and tag mapping
  • Set up and configuration
  • Application and monitoring
  • Training

Tag management is an essential component of any tracking deployment. The most common reasons it’s used include:

  • Agility & Control
  • Remarketing
  • Deployment Cost
  • Site Speed
  • Privacy


Additionally, it standardises data capture, by using a common set of object names across multiple websites. This significantly simplifies installations as generic configuration files can be used (click below to see my 3 cheat sheets).

#digitalData JSON object names cheat sheet

GTM DataLayer cheat sheet (Enhanced Ecommerce version)

GTM DataLayer cheat sheet (App version)

Why you should hire us...

At MeasureMinds, we have had some of our most successful jobs with companies where all the materials were present on the website – what we had to do was streamline how that material comes together. Our tailored experience with Tag Manager will be used to ensure that your strategically-chosen tags are maintained in a refined order, that will be most applicable to Google Analytics and Google Ads, and most likely to maintain a steady flow of traffic.

Growth And Adoption Of Google Tag Manager

GTM is rapidly being adopted and it is used by some of the largest websites on the internet.

The Google Tag Manager Book

We’ve worked on 15 enterprise level GTM installations so we know how painful it is to start from scratch. Phil wrote this guide for developers, analysts and project managers like you, to share what we’ve learnt and give you a template to work from.

We’ve assumed a basic level of knowledge of Google Analytics and JavaScript. This resource is a summary of lessons learnt; if you want more specific examples, then watch this video playlist.

If you have any suggestions please contact

Guide Contents

Executive Summary


Installation Plan

To successfully implement GTM you need to cover 9 planning steps.

Macro level – migration planning

  • Review existing GA installation
  • Tactical planning
  • Technical planning
  • Conversion trigger planning
  • Getting IT buy-in & determining client development resources
  • Naming conventions plan
  • Quality assurance process
  • Reducing human errors (IT dept on-boarding & training process)
  • Security planning on Google Account

Tip: A Google quick start implementation plan is shown here.

These 9 steps are covered in the next sections. Additionally, the outcome of each phase such as technical planning, could have micro phases. For example using “parallel” deployment micro phases:

Micro level – deployment planning using a parallel tag

  • Create empty GTM container and add the code to global header of ALL pages.
  • Deploy parallel deployment of Universal via GTM, with GA classic running via hardcode.
  • Find & replace GA classic code with event called onload_ga_pageview.
  • Add ecommerce dataLayer to checkout thankyou page
  • Replace inline code gaq.push with equivalent dataLayer.push code and add GTM event tags within GTM settings, so there is a seamless migration.
  • Add better dataLayer for product pages and user-interactions.

Installation Questions

Is this a new installation and thus GA universal? If yes… Jump to B). If no….

A) it is an existing GA installation with historic GA classic data, then:

  • Has the account been auto-migrated to Universal processing already? You in settings you will see "upgrade complete" or "start upgrade".
    Only GA premium acconts have not be auto-migrated.
  • Is the client currently reliant on GA data? (or is an existing system such as Omniture
    et-al being used primarily for business reporting)
  • Does the client need to integrate with widgets such as Google+, AddThis, ShareThis, Disqus, Optimizely, LiveChat or PhoneCall tracking providers which currently only support legacy GA.js
  • Is native GooglePlus button tracking needed (not native in GA universal yet).
  • Is js being migrated or just ga.js? The Urchin sessionisation counts are different to GA universal calculation; hence parallel installation will be needed.
  • Is a local copy of utm.gif enabled for ABC publisher auditing using _setLocalRemoteServerMode and _setLocalGifPath? (easier in GA Classic, but possible via a custom script for Universal).
  • Is resetting of customVariables as they are translated to over to a new customDimensions field a problem? (Both are stored, but historic comparisons are trickier due to moving to the new customDimensions field).
  • Is custom code for reading GA client-side cookie values utmz or getVisitorCustomVar (1); on form submission being used?
  • Is retaining returning visitor cookies a problem? (analytics.js will piggyback returning GA classic utmx cookies on the first hit, unless legacyHistoryImport is disabled)
  • Is integration with offline CRM required? (universal only)
  • Does the client have a requirement to track multi-device journeys from registered users who are logged-in from Website to logged-in within App, and is a userId exposed on the login page? (universal only)
  • Is GTM for app part of the migration?
  • Is cross-domain or iframe tracking required? (easier in Universal)

B) Are multiple currencies tracking within localCountryTracker needed for Adwords ROAS reports? And is client planning to use rolled-up trackers or localCountryTracker?

C) Are any legacy analytics.js or ga.js script present? If yes, a clientnameTracker rather than pageTracker is necessary.

D) Is the client within ecommerce vertical?

E) Who is going to take-over the installation once the migration is complete?

GA Outcomes

  • Both GA.js AND Universal analytics.js in parallel (most likely outcome)
  • Universal Analytics.js only straight

Remarketing Outcomes

  • Native GA remarketing in Universal (most likely outcome)
  • Adwords remarketing (Only needed for RLSA: AdWords Remarketing Lists for Search Ads)