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How to Create YouTube Tags in GTM

Google has released a new set of tags, triggers and variables that make tracking YouTube videos, and how your visitors interact with them, a breeze. In the past, this was doable but required much more set-up. By following the steps below, you’ll be tracking start, complete and % complete in no time. I should note that this only works on YouTube videos so make sure the video you want to track is not another media player like Vimeo.

Step 1: Activate the YouTube Variables

  • If you haven’t done so already, navigate to the “Variables” Tab in the left rail and then “Configure” under the Built-In Variables section.

  • Scroll down to the videos section and select all the variables under “Videos”

Step 2: Create Your YouTube Trigger

  • First, you’ll want to select Trigger in the left navigation and title your new trigger “YouTube Video Trigger” or something you’ll be able to identify it as.
  • To create the trigger, follow these steps.
    • Trigger Type: YouTube Video
    • Check the following
      • Start
      • Complete
      • Progress
        • Percentages: 25, 50, 75
    • This trigger fires on = all videos
  • Save

Step 3: Create Your YouTube Tag

  • With you variables and trigger set up, choose “Tags” in the left rail and create a new Tag
  • Label your tag “GA - Event - Youtube” or something that makes sense to you.
    • There’s a few different ways to set this up but I’ve outlined a way below that will give you the basic implementation
      • Tag Type: Universal Analytics
      • Track Type: Event
        • Category: Youtube
        • Action {{Video Status}}
          • This will give you data like play, pause, % complete and buffering
        • Label: {{Video Title}} - {{Video URL}}
          • This format will give you the title of the video and the URL in your Behavior Event reports
        • Google Analytics Settings: Your user-defined UA number
  • Choose your Youtube Trigger to fire this event
  • Test by going into preview mode and using the Google Debugger tool to ensure your events are firing when interacting with your video.

In order to review the data collecting in Google Analytics, open up GA and navigate to Behavior > Events > Top Events. You can use your Event Label to see stats for specific videos or use the event category “YouTube” to see all of the events firing from your videos.


Setting up YouTube tracking is just one of the many ways to leverage GTM and it's capabilities are growing more and more everyday. If you’re curious to learn more about Google Tag Manager and how it can help you gain greater insights to your data, don't hesitate to reach out to the GTM and analytics experts at Marcel Digital. We're standing by and excited to help you with your questions or project!

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About the author

Dan Kipp

Dan Kipp is the Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager guru at Marcel Digital. He loves traveling, cooking, sports, and spending spare time with friends and family.