Google Tag Manager Tag Limit Error

Draft Exceeds Maximum Size Allowed

Draft Exceeds Maximum Size Allowed

Google Tag Manager Basics

If you’re unfamiliar with Google Tag Manager, it’s a great product to get familiar with as it has some very powerful capabilities. By placing one snippet of JavaScript on your website, similar to how Google Analytics works, you’re able to manage all of the tags you would normally add directly into the source code, in an easily manageable UI (User Interface). In addition to handling simple tags or beacons, you’re able to go even further by managing things like Google Analytics Events. It also gives you the ability to directly manipulate JavaScript, which really makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

Google Tag Manager Failed to Create Container Version Message

“Failed to create a container version. The container draft exceeds the maximum size allowed,” is the error you get when you’ve reached the size limit for Google Tag Manager. When I first saw this error, I scratched my head and thought, wait, in Google’s Tag Manager support forum they said there was no hard limit. So, what’s the deal?

Fortunately, our agency does so much analytics consulting work that we have a great network of Google Analytics contacts, and after some further research we ultimately got help from the head of Google’s Tag Manager product, Brian Kuhn (@briankuhn). While the limit is indeed unpublished, Brian indicated that the maximum size for a container is 200KB. Great, we’re getting somewhere now and I’m not going crazy; there actually is a limit! However, what does 200KB translate to in the number of tags? This is where things get hairy and trying to give a definitive answer isn’t realistically possible. How do you accurately translate various sized tags, rules, and macros, into a finite number that’s less than 200KB through Google Tag Manager? In short, you can’t. So what can you do to prevent maxing out your container?

How to Prevent Maxing Our Your Container

Optimize your tags of course! This was also included in the response from Brian Kuhn as he mentioned that there are many techniques such as macros, lookup tables, and custom JavaScript to help you consolidate tags. I agree with Brian that optimizing your tags is a great practice, but when you’re using tag manager in its simplest nature of managing tags, this isn’t always an approach that works when dealing with multiple vendors with very unique tags.

Other than this one oversight of communication by Google, overall, Google Tag Manager is a great product! They offer plenty of helpful tips on their forums and getting started is super easy. In addition to all of the great support on the forums and from the Google Tag Manager team, companies such as LunaMetrics also offer insightful consulting for Google products and services.

Why this matters so much

Relatively unique to Zion & Zion, as compared with most full-service advertising agencies, is the fact that we have an entire department that specializes in analytics consulting, and knowing the answer to this tag manager limit question was key to allowing us to continue progress on a project for one of our key national clients.


Summary, we’ve learned that there actually is a limit to the container size for Google Tag Manager, which is 200KB. If you run into this issue, the solutions are to optimize your tags with macros, lookup tables, and custom JavaScript to help consolidate tags. Through my experience of dealing with Google Tag Manager, I would have to say your best bet is to stay under 100-150 tags, as this was the closest we got until finding a number that was over the limit.