Level up your Enhanced Tracking Ecommerce in Google Tag Manager

This article will explore the next level of e-commerce by using Google Tag Manager, which enhances your online tracking and reports granular information about the purchase lifecycle.

janet wong
5 min readDec 3, 2021

Standard vs Enhanced eCommerce

To recap of when "Standard" e-commerce works & when it doesn't, the co-founder of MeasurementMarketing.io, Chris Mercer, gives an inclusive illustration of the comparison.

The Standard Ecommerce reports can tell you the "what" details, i.e. what item was purchased, when that purchase happens, what their price points were, etc.., using the GA Transaction tag. However, it does not get into from a story perspective: "how" that happened.

And this is the significant differentiation between the standard and enhanced report.

Instead of learning "what" was purchased, Enhanced eCommerce tells you "how" it was purchased. It shows users the number of times that people were exposed to the product, the number of people that saw the details of the product, or the number of people who made to the checkout and purchased it within that final transaction and eventually passed the info to GA reporting. It basically gives you a complete picture of the whole purchase lifecycle.

Image reference by Chris Mercer, the CXL GTM coach, explaining the differentiation of Standard and Enhanced e-commerce.

Bear in mind that Enhanced Ecommerce doesn't use the transaction tag. It can only use page views or event tags for tracking.

Setting up Enhanced Ecommerce in Google Tag Manager

Before you go ahead with the setup, it is always recommended to access this link to learn about the different tracking methods for your enhanced e-commerce.

To set up Enhanced eCommerce, you would need to install your GTM ID to your website. If you are using WordPress, you can install a plugin called the Google Tag Manager plugin for WordPress and paste your container ID that can be found on the top right corner when you login into the GTM overview.

Please be aware that there could be a built-in integration, i.e. WooEcommerce, Shopify, etc., to set up the enhanced eCommerce where you can put some information in the data layer. And note that once it's in the data layer, it does not mean anything is happening within Enhanced Ecommerce in GA.

And there are two reasons for this:

  • Real-time is hard to get the information into Google Analytics quickly. However, even if I wait for a day, it still won't be there.
  • Because we have not instructed GTM to report the info in the data layer to GA.
GA Reporting does not receive order from GTM to show the eCommerce data.

And this is the step I would like to go through with you in GTM.

To push the info in the data layer for GA, you first need to go to your GA setting variable, and it's surprisingly easy to get Tag Manager to start paying attention to your request.

Your Global GA setting variable

Assume you are in the variables; go to the eCommerce and enable the features. And now come to the question, where do you get the information from? If you know that your information is already in the data layer, you can select the data layer. Or else read the data from variables could be another option.

Enable Enhanced E-commerce Features in the variable when you have your GA settings variable set up for.

Bear in mind that you can't technically see the event's details in the GA report quickly, and instead, you can use the GA debugger tools to pull the info out.

Using GA debugger tools to pull out the impression details of what product item has been viewed.

Now GTM will send every data to GA whenever it sees the info in the data layer, but you don't want GTM to fire the information every time. And you will be aware of the issue, especially when you make progress/ scroll on the website, because your scroll event will fire this variable through. ( Remember you have enabled the settings earlier that told GTM that whenever there is a GA tag that fires if there's anything in the data layer, I want you to go ahead and fire the info).

To avoid GA report collecting an impression with every single hit, you would need to turn off the settings earlier in the GA variable ( yea, double step, but it's better to explain it well!) The reason for doing this is that the GA variable is a global tag, and any tag using Enhanced Ecommerce will fire into Google Analytics. And we want to avoid repeated reporting, as mentioned earlier.

So now, set up a page view tag, select GA settings and Enable overriding settings in this tag where you will see More Settings—select E-commerce. And you will need to set the tracking ID to true because we don't want to inherit it. (Inherited from settings variable refers to the GA settings.) Last, tick the Use Data Layer.

Enable Enhanced Ecommerce in Page View Tag.

Once you are done, you can use your Google Debugger Tool to test it again. TBV. Test but verify.

Now, you will discover that only your product details will appear in the data layer once your page view event/hit type is firing.

One thing to note is that there is not always the case you will see the data layer push the info through the page in page view ( or some particular events). You may or may need to work with your developer to plan out the Ecommerce implementation strategy properly or to find out which specific events/tag has the data layer information along with your product details.

If you are not sure how to push the data layer to GA, you can check out the Standard Ecommerce of the GTM basic course in CXL here.

Eventually, you would also need to go to your GA Ecommerce to confirm if your info is available or has been pushed through.

Enhanced Ecommerce is a whole other level, so be sure to go through the following resources as much as you can. Building a roadmap to determine your tracking steps could help the implementation.




janet wong

“Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done.” Robert A. Heinlein.