All marketers like to be at the leading edge of the digital marketing game. There are so many new marketing technologies available in 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 should be able to evolve just as quickly as sites grow or business requirements change.
Tag Management solutions available in the market help in making Digital Marketers more agile by easily and quickly implementing these tags without going through bureaucratic IT processes.
Challenges in Using Tags without Tag Management Solution
Here are some of the points that you should keep in mind while implementing Tag Management Solution for deploying tags on your site.
1. Web Content Management Systems are very Rigid and Cumbersome.
This leads to many challenges.
Placing the tags in the first place is difficult. - E.g., If the requirement is to place Tag 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 in each page (which makes it difficult to manage them if there is need to update or disable the tag in 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, I see that that there are more than a dozen different types of tags on a B2B company and more than half are those about which 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 that tags that they should have included on the page. This leads to the constant challenge of auditing the site pages for tags and playing a catchup game to ensure pages have appropriate 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 the runtime. E.g., If the business requirement is to provide a particular experience to the visitor on the site coming from the 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. License Cost of Tags
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, then 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
Tag Manager allows Marketing Technologist to place or remove marketing tags from the website without going through the trouble of modifying the pages. E.g., in the past, if there was a need to implement a new marketing tool (such as Bluekai or Adobe Target or AddThis), marketers will have to work with IT to go and update all the pages where this tag would be placed. This might work but lead to countless hours from web team in working together on getting the instructions, making the changes, testing it out and then rolling to the production site. Given the amount of work, this effort would typically get tied to web team release plan and therefore deploying any new technology, even if proven and tested, will take at least few months if not quarters to get deployed.
3. Cost Savings
Having an ability to conditionally deploy tags on the page also helps with cost savings. E.g. Licensing certain tags is based on Server calls. Which means that if there is a visitor comes to a website page that has the tag, you need to pay for it whether there is any personalization or testing on the page or not. Significant recurring annual savings in license cost at current traffic volume are expected when 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
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 are needed. Not loading additional tags on the page improves performance.
5. Tags by Tag Manager can be loaded synchronously and 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 the Pages simpler to Develop and Maintain
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 the one-off basis.
Key Features of Robust Tag Manager
Here are some of the key features that you should expect from a Robust Tag Manager that are useful.
- Allows pre-defined conditions as well as complex custom conditions based on which the tags can be deployed on the pages.
- Should be able to deploy all types of tags including Web Analytics and non-Analytics tags
- IT Friendly – Has approval and publish workflows based on user access rights
- Hosted on Internet Edge Servers to improve performance.
- 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.
- Should have a browser plugin that allows turning on and off the staging versus production Rules as well as turn on and off Tag Manager debugger.
In summary, deploying a tag manager on the site is a big step in the direction to not only make Digital marketing more agile but also save marketing money that can be used for other productive activities.