Why Online Marketers Should Learn How to Code – Part 2

Using Javascript in GTM and AdWords Scripts

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at why exactly an online marketer should learn how to code. In this part, I will cover how we use JavaScripts in our clients’ accounts to help us achieve our goals.

Event Tracking helps marketers monitor performance

We marketers love to track a huge range of metricswe live and die by the results.

Setting up conversion tracking is one of the first things you do with a new website or client. If you’re wondering how exactly our analytics programs know how to track events, the answer is that someone has to install a tag consisting of a short piece of JavaScript code that sends information to your analytics program of choice. You can leave tag management to your developer, or you can dive right in and tag up everything you want to track. This requires an understanding of how web pages work, i.e. where in the HTML to put your tag for it to work properly, and CSS selectors to track the right things. Once you understand how it all functions, you can easily set up a new event in 5 minutes without needing the help of anyone else.

AdWords Scripts will increase your productivity

AdWords Scripts are extremely powerful and one of the best features of AdWords; what’s more, they also make it very fun to use.

With AdWords Scripts you can access the data and objects with a script, and it allows you to perform bulk actions that are not possible through the user interface or even AdWords Editor. This useful tool isn’t limited to retrieving data, but can also be used to make many changes that would otherwise take a lifetime if done manually. It also allows you to personally customise solutions for each client, rather than rely on a generic 3rd-party software. It has increased our productivity at Sparro by many magnitudes, as we use it to automate reporting, bid management, tracking spend, build campaigns from a feed, and much more.

While currently I’m still learning how to  build a functional and useful script on my own from scratch, I understand JavaScript and thus can understand the meaning of scripts I find online or that my developer has written. This means that I can copy and paste useful parts from multiple scripts to create a powerful Frankenstein script, change variables within the script to change the reports’ recipients or metrics, or adjust the maximum amount bids will change by in our bid adjustment tool. By no means am I a whiz, but a minimal working knowledge can make you feel like one.

Personally, I’ve found the best resources for improving my JavaScript/HTML/CSS ability have been Khan Academy and Codecademy, but there are many other quality courses available as well. And of course it is practice that really solidifies my learnings. In the final part of the series we will be looking at methods for cleaning and manipulating data using scripts.

– Zac Nicholson

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