Best Practices of Tag Management Systems: How to Become Power User
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Best Practices of Tag Management Systems: How to Become Power User

With the advent and gradual evolution of new tag manager techniques over the last four to five years, it has changed the way analysts and marketers manage platform implementation today. In the early days, organizations captured and measured web behavior by parsing and analyzing web server log files.

As the industry evolved, we started looking at page tagging concepts which produced more custom reporting for marketers, analysts and CXO professionals.  Users came to prize the JavaScript tag over the log file for its relative accuracy, extensibility, and ready-built support for software-as-a-service analytics offerings. With increasing security concerns over the source code, we started looking at server-side tag configurations to make the security process more robust.

As we move into the next level of insights that focuses more on app and customized analytics offerings, tag management solutions will play an integral role in an organization’s ability to succeed. Adobe has led the way through its dynamic tag manager (DTM) platform which seamlessly integrates different capabilities.

Through Blueocean Market Intelligence’s exposure to different clients and experiences with our valuable partners over the years, we have learned a few best practices around tag management systems (TMS) that we believe can help others, including industry leaders, marketers and analysts.

General Best Practices

  • Understand and accept the risks: Normally during a new implementation process, where the clients and existing vendors are learning the nuances of DTM tag management system, it is important to accept inherent risks. Examples include historical uptime and downtime trends, product release process, disaster recovery plans, overall business strategy during development.
  • Match the capabilities to your own goals: Different sets of TMS are designed to fulfil different objectives, so you need to understand how to find the right balance between multi-channel data integration vs. pure play tag set up.
  • Answer the governance question early: You may be plagued with common issues like poor planning, week access controls, lack of organization buy-in and low adoption during DTM or any other tag management system development. However, understanding these aspects early during the implementation phase and finding ways to circumvent these challenges is an important stage.
  • Make the “efficiency” use case during implementation: To make the best case for tag management, focus on immediate and tangible benefits – primarily time and costs savings to IT generated through more efficient tag maintenance. Do not bet your business case on benefits such as improved page load performance and improved marketing measurement, as these are difficult to accurately predict and relate to hard return on investment commitment.
  • Invest in the right skill sets: As IT involvement is usually minimal during the TMS setup, it is important to ensure the right skill sets are in place within your digital analytics or marketing teams or the entire initiative may fall flat.

Technical Points to Remember

  • Set up the right container tag: The container tag is the JavaScript link to connect your website with DTM. The placement of the container tag is important and each tag manager has a different set of guidelines for implementation. Most of the TMS insist that the container tags should be implemented on the header page source. That way it connects with the page before all the elements on the page are loaded and will not hamper page load performance at all.
  • Tag execution rule sets: It is important to understand when to execute the tagging rules. We have experienced many times when the logic is correct, but the tags do not fire correctly, leading to issues with the data reported in Adobe Marketing Cloud. It is to understand when to trigger the execution rule (e.g. clicks on a button should be tracked using a rule that states it should execute only when someone clicks on the button and not when the page loads / immediate execution).
  • Categorizing the tags with a user-friendly label: Each website will have multiple tags, so it is important to label the tags as per marketing vendor or agency so the debugging exercise during an issue becomes easier.
  • Tag rule naming convention: It is always recommended that you follow the proper set of rules and naming convention. For example, if we wanted to create a rule around implementation of the kenshoo tags on the click of “Learn More” buttons on UK location, the rule name will be Kenshoo_LearnMore_UK. This allows you to find the target rule easily during the debugging process.
  • Managing second- and third-party codes for Marketing: It is highly recommended that you do not implement tags of different marketing vendors within a single rule. It is better to implement different rule sets for different agencies so that the debugging and tag retirement process is simple.

As digital ecosystems become more complex, it will be important to track the right metrics with proper accuracy. For complicated websites or those with an extensive tag footprint, investing in a tag management system can yield multiple benefits based on efficient processes and accurate tracking. By following some of the best practices mentioned above, it can help you tackle the tag management journey with renewed zeal and confidence.

Bhaskar Dey

For over a decade, Bhaskar has worked on complex projects covering multi-channel data points in an organization's digital ecosystem. He had been instrumental in conceptualizing...

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