As Google continues to push out and make improvements to its Google Analytics 360 suite one major area of concentration is Google Optimize.

Optimize allows users to setup and perform easy to implement A/B and multivariate tests. As testing has become a part of most marketing teams’ culture this tool stands out. Optimize provides an easy drag and drop interface, while being able to expand to more technical implementations as well.

One concern with getting up and running with Google Optimize is the need for someone to place code on the site. Luckily Google has us all covered. You can implement the Optimize script right within Google Tag Manager.

Setting Up an Google Optimize Container

While we aren’t diving deep into the setup of an experiment in Optimize, in order to understand how to get proper GTM tagging in place, we need to start here with creating a container.

Within your Optimize account create a new container. Then name your container whatever you would like.

create google optimize container

From there you will be presented with the setup checklist of creating an experiment. We won’t walk through these step-by-step in this article, but you’ll need to first link your Google Analytics property.

Once you link your Google Analytics property, a popup will show where you can click to get your snippet. Click on that. What you are looking for here is just a small part of the snippet. We need the Optimize Container Number. This will start with “GTM-“, followed by a series of letters and numbers.

Copy this to your clipboard or a separate document and then head over to your Google Tag Manager account.

google optimize snippet

Creating Your GTM Optimize Tag

After setting up the container within Google Optimize, head over to Google Tag Manager. If you are familiar with GTM, this step will be a breeze. If not, follow along and you’ll be up and running in no time.

First create a new tag within the tags section. When selecting the tag type, you’ll see Google Optimize as an option. If this doesn’t show right away in your account, search for it to make it appear.

Once that tag type is selected, fill in the two required fields for the tag. The first is your Google Analytics UA number. Grab this directly from your Google Analytics account. For future use with other tags, you’ll want to create a constant variable to house this number.

There are other advanced options within the Google Optimize tag, but for now stick to the basics.

google optimize tag in google tag manager

After your tag details are filled in, you’ll need to assign a trigger to that tag. For those unfamiliar a trigger inside of GTM is what tells a tag to fire, where and when. For the Optimize tag, you can simply have this fire on “All Pages” which is a built-in trigger to Google Tag Manager. When you click to select your trigger, the “All Pages” trigger will be available immediately.

You can get more detailed with your trigger, but this will take care of any current or future test you want to run. Click to save the tag once finished.

Publishing and Running Your Test

Once the tag is created, it is time to publish. Simply select publish from your overview screen within GTM. Once everything runs through the new tag will be published to your GTM container. Now you are ready to setup your Google Optimize experiment and start testing.

You can make sure that the Optimize tag is firing correctly through tag manager by selecting to preview your container from the GTM interface and navigating to your site to make sure the tag populates on all pages.

Once you publish and start your experiment within Optimize, it will automatically start running your experiment using the tag you set up in tag manager.

Two things to keep in mind moving forward. First, make sure your experiments are all ready to go and don’t need further testing before publishing them. Once you do they will immediately start to serve on your site.

Secondarily, within the Google Optimize interface, it will still show that you have to install your Optimize snippet. This is because you ran it through Google Tag Manager. If you were to publish it directly on your site this would be checked. Don’t worry about this, the experiments will still run.


Google Optimize is a powerful tool now available for free to the masses. If you are currently running or are thinking about running A/B and multivariate tests, check this program out. You will be amazed at the speed and depth of measurements you receive.

As you can see it is an easy setup to learn even more about your customers. Let me know below how you have utilized Google Optimize thus far.

Chris Kujawski

Founder and instructor at Digital Metrics Guru.

A passionate and driven digital marketer, specializing in Google Analytics, Tag Manager and Data Studio. A qualified expert in Google Analytics and Adwords, with more than 10 years experience delivering sound solutions to clients worldwide.

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