When it comes to digital marketing measurement, tags make the world go 'round. The number of tags deployed on marketers' websites has been increasing faster than the policies in place to manage the flow of data and the applications to our businesses. Enter tag management solutions.
From web analytics, to ad servers, bid management systems, affiliate marketing systems, CSE feeds, attribution reporting, DSPs, CRM platforms, and vendors targeting and profiling, it's become a chore to keep track of, let alone proactively manage the vast number of tags deployed on a website today. This scenario has created several issues -- including drawn-out implementation timelines, increased page load time, accidental removal of tags, conflicts between marketing and IT and, in many instances, duplication of reporting. Some marketers employ more tracking systems than others. For example, a retailer will have more tags than a CPG brand. While tag management will benefit all companies, the advantage of a tag management solution is proportionate to the number of tags being utilized. I would argue that tag management is mandatory for direct marketers.
Efficiency Out of Chaos
Every organization works under some degree of constrained resources. Consider the operational efficiencies created by drastically reducing, or even eliminating, dependence on IT and/or development resources to implement tags for each new marketing system or channel, targeting or profiling initiative. Imagine reducing the implementation time for a new marketing tool from months to days, enabling you with increased speed to market. These are win-win scenarios made possible via your friendly neighborhood tag management solution. The fundamental premise of a single tag container, in which all tags can be deployed via an intuitive web-based interface, immediately streamlines IT requirements and resources, exponentially improves workflow, and creates a new level of accountability and quality assurance.
While the implementation of a tag management solution is technological, the successful business application all comes down to strategic planning.
The single biggest unaddressed accountability challenge for direct marketers is duplicative tracking and reporting of conversions and revenue across disparate systems. Tag management is only part of the solution here, but it can become the actionable component -- or at least one approach to it. Quality tag management solutions provide marketers with the ability to apply conditional rules on how and when specific vendor tags are deployed in order to prevent some duplicate tracking - which is actually more of an attribution issue than a tagging issue. The complete solution to prevent duplicate tracking is a tag management solution and a robust attribution reporting and modeling system. I've addressed this in a previous column on attribution modeling.
Choose Your Solution
Several tag management solutions currently lead the market, including Tag Man, Ensighten, Tealium, and Bright Tag. New vendors are steadily emerging. They each provide the basic tag container capability, but differ in their tag management interfaces and features, which are sure to evolve in the near future.
If creating operational efficiencies in your digital marketing process and enabling an actionable mechanism for reducing duplicative tracking sound good to you, then a tag management solution has earned its place as a vital part of your growing tool set.
I'm eager to hear the good, the bad and the ugly of your tagging experiences. How can tag management help your business?