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All marketers like to be at the leading edge of the digital marketing game. There are so many new marketing technologies available on the market to help in the game. Most of these digital marketing solutions rely on getting the script on to the pages to track user activity but also to optimize and personalize the user experience. And these tags should be placed where they belong, and they should be maintained just like site content, and they should be able to evolve just as quickly as sites grow or business requirements change.

Tag management solutions available on the market help in making digital marketers more agile by easily and quickly implementing these tags without going through bureaucratic IT processes.

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Challenges in Using Tags without a Tag Management Solution

Here are some of the points that you should keep in mind while implementing a tag management solution for deploying tags on your site.

1. Web Content Management Systems are time-consuming and rigid

This leads to many challenges.

  • Placing the tags in the first place is difficult - If the requirement is to place tags on specific pages on the site, then there are two options. Either place the tag in the templates used by that page (which leads to the tag being placed on pages where you may not need them) or place it on each page (which makes it difficult to manage them if there is a need to update or disable the tag in the future).
  • It is difficult to manage the tags once they are placed- Unless the web content management system has very good reporting (there are few that have good reporting), it will be hard to find out all the pages that contain specific tags (in case you want to update or disable them in the future). This is one reason why I see that there are more than a dozen different types of tags on a B2B company, and more than half are those that the website does not know about.
  • Marketing is no more agile - It takes a long amount of time to go through the process of placing tags or updating them – Since there are quite some decisions involved (whether to place tag in a template or on the page itself. Will it conflict with anything else on the page/Template? Etc), I have found that developers and content-owners have little time and inclination to work with tags even as marketers need them to understand the success or failure of digital content.
  • Pages and templates become more complex – With all the tags on the page, it makes the overall page code more complex and difficult to develop and test, slowing down the whole process.
  • Playing catchup with including/excluding tags on new/updated pages- When website developers are developing new pages or updating existing ones, they are not as careful about tags as they are about content because they do not fully understand all the tags that are being used on the site. Many times, they would place the tags on the pages where they are not needed, and other times, they would forget to include the tags that they should have included on the page. Because of this, it's always a challenge to check the site pages for tags and play catch-up to make sure pages have the right tags.

2.The Impact on Web Site Pages

When you use Web Content Management systems to manage tags, you make decisions to place the tag at the time of content creation and not at runtime. E.g., if the business requirement is to provide a particular experience to the visitor on the site coming from a mobile device, then Web Content Management will not be able to place the tag on the pages dynamically. You should instead go ahead and place Target tags on all the pages of the site to achieve this requirement. This means that pages need to load the tags even when they are not used.

3. Tag License Cost

Some tags, such as Adobe Target, are licensed based on the number of server calls. In such cases, if tags are placed on the site pages but not used, it leads to costs that can be avoided.

Benefits of Tag Manager

Here are some of the key benefits of Tag Manager that might drive you to deploy it on the site.

1. Agile Marketing

The Tag Manager allows marketing technologists to place or remove marketing tags from the website without going through the trouble of modifying the pages. For example, in the past, if there was a need to implement a new marketing tool (such as Bluekai or Adobe Target or AddThis), marketers would have to work with IT to go and update all the pages where this tag would be placed. This might work but leads to countless hours of work from the web team in working together on getting the instructions, making the changes, testing it out and then rolling it to the production site. Given the amount of work, this effort would typically get tied to the web team's release plan, and therefore, deploying any new technology, even if proven and tested, will take at least a few months, if not quarters, to get deployed.

2. Replacement of Javascript Tags

The Tag Manager replaces all the Javascript tags on the site with one set of tags. The rest of the marketing tags are deployed dynamically on the site by Tag Manager. Given that pages are not touched anymore, there is no web team involvement anymore, and therefore new marketing technologies can be implemented in hours/days instead of months/quarters. Similarly, if there is an issue that is found on the site because of these tags, these tags can be disabled at the click of the button without going and touching all the pages. The cost savings involved with manual effort in deploying new tags or removing old tags are expected to be enormous.

3. Cost Savings

Having the ability to conditionally deploy tags on the page also helps with cost savings. E.g., licensing certain tags is based on server calls. This means that if a visitor comes to a website page with the tag, you must pay for it regardless of whether the page is personalized or tested. Significant recurring annual savings in license costs at current traffic volume are expected when the tag is only fired when needed. Savings of countless developer hours to deploy the tags, or remove them if there is an issue, is additional.

4. Improved Performance

The Tag Manager also enhances the performance of the website. There are times when marketing tags need to be implemented only on selected pages. Earlier, tags were applied in Web Content Management templates and were deployed on all pages using these templates rather than solely on pages where they were needed. Not loading additional tags on the page improves performance.

5. Tags by Tag Manager can be loaded synchronously or asynchronously

Which means that tags load when they’re ready to load, in parallel with other page elements. Slow tags won’t hobble your site or prevent other tags from firing. This can lead to faster page loads and more data collection.

6.Simplifies Site Development makes it easier to create and maintain pages

Once all the tags are taken out of the page, it makes the pages simple and therefore easy to develop and maintain. Moreover, since Tag Manager deploys the tags at runtime, the tags can be implemented without being part of the template or on a one-off basis.

Robust Tag Manager's Key Features

Here are some of the key features that you should expect from a robust tag manager that are useful.

  1. It allows pre-defined conditions as well as complex custom conditions based on which the tags can be deployed on the pages.
  1. It should be able to deploy all types of tags, including Web Analytics and non-Analytics tags.
  1. IT-Friendly—Has workflows for approval and publication based on user access rights.
  1. hosted on Internet Edge Servers to improve performance.
  1. allows event-based rules that can be very useful for Web Analytics as well as for targeting visitor behavior based on certain events on the site.
  1. It should have a browser plugin that allows turning on and off the staging versus production rules as well as turning on and off the Tag Manager debugger.

Summary

In summary, deploying a tag manager on the site is a big step in the direction of not only making digital marketing more agile but also saving marketing money that can be used for other productive activities.

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