Google Tag Management System Links Channels

Laura-HolmesGoogle introduced a tag container and management platform Monday to support companies using multiple tracking tags. The bits of code set in a container embedded in Web pages measure site traffic and visitor behavior. The goal is to understand the impact of online advertising and social channels and improve Web site performance.

Nearly 70% of marketers using a tag management system to create and modify tags in less than a workday, and nearly half report that the process takes less than one hour, according to The ROI of Tag Management Survey from Econsultancy and Tealium. The survey also found that 64% had an increase in Web site speed load times, with 34% describing the increase as significant.

Google's container will hold hundreds of tags from a variety of companies, such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook and others. "You can add and update your own tags, with just a few clicks, whenever you want, without bugging the IT folks or rewriting site code," according to Laura Holmes, product manager of Google Tag Manager, with experience in supporting Google Analytics and multichannel funnels.

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Some see benefits and opportunities to create industry standards, while others see challenges.

"Google wants to grow their market share by simplifying and automating any steps involved in profit resulting from paid advertising," said Jon Baron, CEO and founder of TagMan, which supports tag management. "As paid advertising becomes data-driven across different vendors and devices, automation becomes even more important to ensure Google retains control. In some cases, that benefits advertisers and in some cases, the simplicity comes at a cost."  

Web page load times increase and processes become easier for non-technical marketers, but Google faces issues around "vendor neutrality," according to Ali Behnam, CEO of Tealium, one of several companies like TagMan that supports tag managers and containers.

Since Google owns Google Analytics, some believe it's not in its best interest to integrate competing solutions for Web analytics, retargeting and advertising, but actually the service launched with a vendor program.

Industry skepticism abounds. Insiders suggest the data from tags will allow Google to see whether a channel or company can help to increase or decrease the performance of paid-search ads.

Tag management provider industry execs question Google's access to data collected by third-party tags, but the newcomer insists its Tag Manager privacy policy states it "will not share this data with any other Google product without your consent." With all that data flowing through Google's tag manager, will the company turn a blind eye to competitive data? In Google's use policy it states the company is not responsible for third-party tags, if a company has third-party tags delivered through the service.

Some marketers testing the process are happy with Google's tag management service. "Google Tag Manager took one big chunk of time out of the tagging process," according to Ameet Arurkar, director of SEM at QuinStreet, suggesting what took two weeks now takes less than a day, sometimes hours.

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