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
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”.
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”.
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:
My two initial thoughts when I saw this were:
- Can you do that? I am not sure that you can.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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