Google Analytics Tags

How to Track to Multiple Google Analytics Properties in GTM (Google Tag Manager)

In Analytics, The Digital Marketing Blog by Scott12 Comments

The short version:

  • You can’t just add two properties side by side in the tracking ID section within Google Tag Manager
  • If you want to track GA events across multiple properties, each property has to have a unique tag for each GA property

The background…

A colleague of mine recently headed off to Mexico and left me a bunch of GTM handover notes.

“It’ll be fine, just press publish when they launch the new site and make sure they’ve added the new container ID”.

Ok, easy.

This was a task for a client who was about to upgrade to v2 of their latest site. We’d already made the switch from Classic to Universal Analytics via GTM and the next step was to track a few different GA Events using GTM tags.

Of course, it was never going to be as easy as just pressing publish.

A very important lesson about tracking to multiple GA Properties in Google Tag Manager.

On the day the client’s new site launched, I tested the GTM configuration using Preview and Debug mode and all the Events were firing as expected.

So I pressed publish (as instructed) and waited for the flood of event recordings to crash the Google Analytics servers.

And I waited.

And waited some more.

Real-time reports in Google Analytics were showing me NOTHING and so I moved on to testing using Tag Assistant Recordings.

Sure enough, none of the Events were tracking as expected and instead all of my Tag Assistant Recordings were returning “Property tid errors”.

parameter tid error in google tag assistant

Hmmm…

I went back into GTM and started to try and reverse engineer my colleague’s tag configuration process.

One of the first things I spotted was this:

ga events via gtm tags to multiple properties

My two initial thoughts when I saw this were:

  1. Can you do that? I am not sure that you can.
  2. You should be able to do that.

I suspect there are a lot of people out there who have tried adding multiple Analytics tracking IDs in GTM tags, which is why I am writing this post. You’d perhaps expect a solution like Google Tag Manager to be a little more intuitive when it comes to this particular scenario, but unfortunately, it is not.

I jumped back into Preview and Debug mode for closer look at the configuration for each event that was being fired and spotted that upon firing, the two property IDs listed in the tag were being combined into one hybrid-mutant of an ID.

two accounts firing in gtm tag

After a little research, I was surprised to find little information about this topic.

So, at the same time, I posted for help in the GTM/GA Help Forums.

Pentasia Case Study

Here’s how you track multiple properties using Google Tag Manager.

Fortunately, king of GTM, Simo Ahava replied to my help thread and confirmed my thinking – you can’t track multiple GA properties in one GTM tag.

You have to set up separate GTM tags for each property you want to track to.

He also noted that the potential method of creating multiple tracker names isn’t necessary and can be quite difficult to implement.

All fixed.

Once I had tweaked the tags and published the new version of the container, everything worked as expected. No parameter tid errors were reported in Tag Assistant Recordings.

This is a simple mistake to make. I am sure a lot of people out there using GA and GTM have tried this.

Well, now you know.

I should point out that although it can be time consuming if you have lots of tags that you need to duplicate, there is a little copy button right at the bottom of each GTM tag page to make life a little bit easier. All you need to do is copy each tag and then change the property ID for each unique property you want to track to.

copy a gtm tag

I think that perhaps, the ability to duplicate tags to another property would be a neat, time-saving feature in Google Tag Manager.

But for now, just make sure you have separate GTM tags for each GA property that you want to track to.

Test everything in Preview and Debug mode.

Then it should be as easy as just pressing “Publish”.

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Comments

  1. Hi Scott,

    thanks for your post, it is really helpfull for multiple tracking scenarios. I have a problem and I would like to tell you in order to get pro feedback.

    I have scenario A, with GTM installed and event/pageview/transaction tags for a basic track
    Another scenario, B, with GTM installed and using measure protocol in order to track pageviews and transactions

    A is the website itself
    B is the callcenter

    As you can see, I’m trying to measure an ecommerce.

    A sends pageview/event/transaction tracks to Google Analytics, and B makes the same one via measure protocol.

    The problem is: how can I send tracks from A to B using GTM within A container? I’ve setted up two different tags for pageview and transaction, one for transactions via online (A) and another one for transactions finished by telephone (B). At the first two o three days everything worked properly but now, I’m getting problems with transactions in Google Analytics. I think it probably becomes from this tags configuration.

    Thanks for your help, regards!

  2. Author

    Thanks for the comment. Big question!

    I can’t give you a 100% answer as it’s quite complex but these are the steps I would take to help resolve it.

    1. Post this question up in the Google Analytics Help Forum and maybe also in the Official Google Analytics Google+ community. There are likely to people (far smarter than me!) who have experienced this issue before and might be able to help.

    2. Preview and Debug in Tag Manager.

    Based on your question, I am guessing you are quite experienced in using Tag Manager anyway, but I always find that going through all the data in GTMs preview and debug mode really handy.

    3. Test Using Google Debugger and then Google Tag Assistant

    Running through the more granular details using these tools might help to identify whether it’s a problem with Contain A or Container B.

    … and at least that would be a useful starting point!

    Let me know how you get on with these points. You have me very curious now…

    Scott

  3. Hi there Scott,

    thanks for your reply. Reading your words I’m little surprised with Google Debugger, I didn’t know about that tool.

    I’m cheking out analytics_debug.js and I think it could be really helpfull to solve my problem. Today I’m testing again both scenarios with some advanced filters so now I can add Google Debugger Mode to my testing enviroment.

    The main target of all of this is: how to keep source and campaign from transactions started online and finished in callcenter.

    I’ll tell you the solution and results of the project, promise!

    Thanks for all, cheers!

  4. Hi there Scott,

    I’ve solved the problem with Google Analytics Debugger mode, thanks so much for your help.

    Now, I have both scenarios A and B with traffic and conversions, everything is ok until this point.

    Keeping an eye on Adquisition data in Scenario B (call center) I can see two special cases:

    1) Traffic from scenario A: users from website
    2) Traffic from scenario B: users from website plus call center

    Everything fine but; if I have two tags in Tag Manager that sends a page view to both Google Analytics properties, why I can’t see the same traffic sources from A in B? Do I have to set UTMs manually in the second tag from Tag manager?

    I did it and now I can see every traffic source but I can not “trust” in data while I’m comparing scenario A and B

    This is getting more complex than I thought at the first time but, If it were easy it would not be fun 😉

    Thanks in advance, cheer!

  5. Author

    Hi Javi,

    This is good news 🙂

    This is a little hard to understand over blog comments. If you send me an email scott.colenutt[at]sitevisibility.com with some more information, perhaps some screenshots, if I can help, then I will.

    Thanks!

  6. Hi Scott,

    Do you think a lookup-table could be used for sending out to 2 properties, or will it stop looking with the 1st domain, when the condition is met?

    domain 1 – property UA-xxx-1
    domain 1 – property UA-xxx-2

    Thanks!

  7. Author

    Hi Béate,

    I am not sure. It’s not something I have tested myself. My guess is that it would stop at the first domain and that you could only use this in instances where you had separate domains.

    But, as I said, I haven’t tested it.

    If I find time to test it, then I will and I’ll email you the results.

    If you test it before me, please email me and let me know what happened :).

    Scott

  8. Hi Scott,

    Just set up a test.
    Doesn’t work 🙁

    Nice to know: it seems the table is checked from lowest in position to highest.

  9. Author

    Well, that sucks.

    I’d suggest posting about this problem in the Google Analytics Help Community and Google Analytics Community on Google+. Some of the support and feedback in those groups is tremendous.

    If I eventually get around to testing this, I will email you and let you know my results.

    Also, we sometimes share tips and resources to our email subscribers so I’d recommending signing up 😉

    Scott

  10. Very interesting read on the article and comments. I am about to embark on a large analytics implementation project for a series of websites, some have their own UA tracking code and some do not. I found a solution which seems to solve the problem elegantly using a lookup table + variable. The article which seems to indicate this might be a simple method -http://flintanalytics.com/track-multiple-websites-with-one-google-tag-manager-container/

  11. Author

    Hey Richard,

    Yes, this solution works fine when you’re tracking several properties within a container for different hostnames.

    The problem that a lot of people have (including the guys in the comments above) is when you try and tracking multiple properties for the SAME hostname.

  12. I came here researching opinions on a very similar issue, but I love the solution provided by Richard two posts above, even though Scott does poke a hole in it if you some kind of lunatic wants to put multiple GA properties in one domain. Which is what I’m faced with right now. 🙁

    I wasn’t the original lunatic, but this has fallen in my hands. It kind of irks me actually because in my case, my company has a GA account tracking traffic, but the vendor also has two separate accounts. I have no idea why, either. I can’t just strip theirs out because I need them to implement GTM for us. What will most likely happen is that they will install GTM for us, allowing me to have my own GA tag, and they will put their GA scripts outside of my container. We’ll see.

    The answer that I was hoping to find is that multiple web sites can, and should be tracked, via one GTM container AND 1 GA account. I did this at my previous job using cross-domain tracking in GTM. It allowed me to follow customers all throughout our web ecosystem which added great value to our web analytics data. I do not claim to be any sort of wizard or GTM guru, so I’m poking around to see if if I happened to stumble onto a good thing, or if there is a much better way of tracking statistics for multiple sites. Any opinions?

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