How to Use Trigger Groups in Google Tag Manager

June 16, 2019

Google recently introduced an interesting feature to Google Tag Manager called trigger groups.

Google recently introduced an interesting feature to Google Tag Manager called trigger groups. The feature allows a tag to match multiple trigger conditions by establishing a grouping among those triggers. In the past, it was possible to achieve similar results with tag sequencing. However, this new feature allows for faster and easier trigger dependency creation through the grouping mechanism. What makes the trigger groups feature so interesting is it combines the benefits of tag sequencing without the limitations of tag firing order. This enables us to work with the AJAX nature of a page to meet various tag matching conditions. The application of this can be seen in various use cases, such as user behavior-based tags, remarketing tags and more.

How to Set Up Trigger Groups in GTM

Trigger groups are a newer trigger type option in Google Tag Manager. Detailed instructions can also be found in this Google support article. To get started, the first step is to create a new trigger with trigger configuration set as “Trigger Group”:

The next step is to add required triggers into this trigger group by adding existing triggers or creating new triggers:

If we need certain trigger conditions to happen multiple times (such as specific clicks indicating funnel steps), we need to add those triggers separately to the trigger group.

The trigger group will make sure every instance of trigger in the group is fired once and only once, regardless of trigger firing order. This is very interesting as this provides a great handle on setting up user behavior-based patterns for tag firing or making sure exact conditions are met in the funnel process without creating complex workflow conditions.

The trigger group provides additional flexibility via the “Some Conditions” checkbox, which adds extra conditions on top of the added triggers. Once this setup is complete, the trigger group is ready to be attached to the tag.

Use Cases

The multiple trigger dependency building leads to several interesting use cases. Many of them revolve around user engagement use cases. Here are a few use cases we’ll use as examples:

1. User Engagement Check

Suppose we want to fire a tag on our whitepaper pages, which also feature YouTube videos. In order to truly recognize an engaged user, we need to set up the tag firing condition as a user who has seen at least 10 percent of the video and has clicked the whitepaper download link.

We can achieve this by creating a trigger group housing two triggers: one “YouTube Video Engaged” trigger with progress given as 10 percent and a second trigger for the whitepaper download click condition. Once this group is created, we simply associate this with our desired tag, and we are good to go.

Historically, to do this we would have needed two separate tags associated with each individual trigger. Then we would have used them in our choice of tag as a tag firing prerequisite by placing them in tag sequencing and creating tag firing order amongst those two tags, thus indirectly creating a trigger fire condition. The new trigger group logic helps here tremendously. Now, we can not only avoid the two unnecessary extra tags, but we’re also not limited by which action the user takes first. In short, this setup effectively covers multiple user paths that can span across the user engagement journey in a single group.

The asynchronous multiple dependency trigger mechanism has huge advantages in setting up simple patterns to understand user engagement. Ultimately, this can help to have better tracking for remarketing tags as well as analytics events.

2. Conversion Funnel Engagement

Another great way we can use such groups is to set up conversion funnel tracking and measuring user engagement there. If we have a cart checkout page where the cart URL does not change as the user proceeds through multiple steps of the checkout process, then through the trigger groups, we can find out if a user has completed the required steps or not before firing required tags. For example, if only three out of five steps of the funnel are necessary, then we can set up a trigger group using triggers for only those three conditions. As soon as a user finishes those three conditions, a tag can be fired indicating the user’s interest in the checkout process. Such tracking can help in identifying the valid SQL or even understanding cart abandonment behavior in detail.

Trigger Group Limitations

There are few limitations to consider as well. Even though a trigger group matches all the triggers, it does not match them in order. If trigger sequencing is important to your setup, then this solution may not work. A tag sequencing solution might be still better in that case. Unlike normal triggers, a trigger group does not reset after firing. In other words, the trigger group will match a condition only the number of times a trigger is listed in the group. This means once a trigger group is fired, even if all conditions are matched again, it will not fire again since it has been considered matched and fired. There is a great blog article by Simo Ahava explaining these limitations in greater detail. He also explains interesting use cases such as form engagement and user consent tracking in more depth.


The trigger group is a must-have feature and is definitely a welcome addition to the GTM feature list.  It gives marketers a great handle to analyze user behavior for remarketing purposes and even to nurture audience building across various platforms.

Trigger groups are a must-have feature in Google Tag Manager and are a welcome addition to the GTM feature list.  

With the introduction of trigger groups, we are just one step away from trigger sequencing in these trigger groups, which should complete this feature. Regardless, even in its current stage, trigger groups will enable more granular and focused tracking without the cost of complex workflows or dev changes.

How are you leveraging trigger groups to understand user behavior? Comment below to share your unique use case with us!

Need help setting up trigger groups or with Google Tag Manager set up? We’re here to help – contact us to meet your next dedicated analytics expert.

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