This article should give you an overview on a few aspects around tag management systems and help you utilize it to its full potential.
Choose your tag management system
Yes, you have to pick one. There are plenty of them on the market. Here are a few big players – Ensighten, Tealium, Tagman, Google Tag Manager (Google gives it for free). From the performance/technology point of view, they are all quite advanced nowadays and there is not much difference between them, just nuances. The most important factors to consider should be:
– compatibility with the marketing/tracking tags we are using or we are planning to use
– good user management design with ability to setup privileges for different user types
– compatibility with mobile platforms (e.g. apps)
– ability to automate marketing processes e.g. auto deduplication for affiliates
– ease of use and customization
– training and support
– pratner business stability (most of tag management companies are startups, still heavily dependent on investors. Make sure that the partner you are planning to rely on have a stable business model)
Any tag management system is worthless without the access to the data. Therefore you need a standardized data object on all your pages. It should consist of all the dynamic information that describes certain site. E.g. imagine you are in a e-shop, on a product page showing a mobile phone. Such a page could have the following values in the data object:
– phone price
– product SKU
If you have all of these information in a data object you can easily pass them to retargeting provider (e.g. in order to reach people who viewed red phone) or your own analytics tool (e.g. collecting information how many visitors got interested in 5 inch phones).
Recently W3C organization created a proposition of such a standardized object – [download pdf]. Discuss it with your tech team. They will be glad to have such a standardized dictionary of all necessary variables for marketing and analytics use.
Standardized data object is really worth implementing. If you couple it with all your tracking tags across the site you will get one version of truth about your visitors. Basically you will be able to pass the same format of information to any marketing tool making it all aligned.
Some tag management providers can assure that you don’t need data layer, because all values can be taken from html of your site. Don’t trust it. Scraping as a method of getting web data is not reliable and usually causes data discrepancies.
Tag management governance process
Tech team can act as a tag management system operator and marketing team can be a client. In this scenario it would be good to setup SLAs for new tag implementations and ongoing support as well as standardized tag implementation process.
You can also have someone technical within marketing or analytics team responsible for tagging/tracking. This person can update tags. However pushing the changes live should be tech responsibility. Some tags when implemented without proper testing and customization can cause critical errors on the website.
Tag management system can speed up your business and make web data collection more reliable and agile. To achieve this it has to be setup correctly on your website and what is more important within your organization structure.
If you have any questions or you already have experience with tag management systems please share it bellow in comments.