A question I have found myself asking, on more than one occasion, when implementing tags and tracking pixels is: “Why is this so difficult?”
Well, to be perfectly honest, it was more emphatic. Something along the lines of “WHY is this so difficult!?!” while staring at my computer screen as if to imply that the screen itself had forsaken me.
First, there is the need to secure the tag from the digital platform vendor, then pass to dev with a description of where it needs to go and why, followed by the inevitable back and forth for instructions and/or feedback…then playing the waiting game to ensure it is properly tracking data. And if it isn’t collecting data in the way it should or is collecting the wrong set of data for some reason, the process resets.
Oh, and the above doesn’t even touch on the need for verifying it meets security and performance standards now and throughout the tag’s lifetime with continuous monitoring.
So, for marketers and developers alike, I present the case for a painless option: Tag Management Systems (TMS) and robust tag management processes.
Not convinced it’s worth the effort? Check out the top five reasons to tackle the project now in order to receive big benefits later!
Reason 1: Time Savings
Please reference paragraph three. In short, manually implementing tags is a slow process for both marketing and development departments.
A TMS can help speed it up by:
- Allowing non-developers to manage tags
- Not committing tags/tag changes to source code
- Creating easy access + processes for tag changes
Reason 2: Accountability
Developers tend to submit their source code through a repository, tracking their commits so changes can easily be reverted and issues can be traced back to the source.
However, what happens if marketing is trying to quickly implement tracking so they deploy the tag by directly adding it to a content page or block? Well, that’s a lot less traceable. It’s harder to fix if something goes wrong; it gets lost in the thousands of content pages, so it is forgotten about and is never removed or updated.
There is a middle ground here, though.
The first step is to have solid processes in place. Everyone should know that there are processes for this and it’s not the wild west. A good first step is to audit and create policies and documentation that can be referenced. (P.S. Check out our Tag Auditing Checklist for a definitive guide)
A more advanced step would be implementing a TMS, which allows marketers to add the tags but with a layer of accountability. If a tag is added that did not go through the vetting process or that has a significant impact on site performance, it is a straightforward process to determine who to work with for remediation and/or process training.
Reason 3: Performance
Site performance isn’t everything, but it is important. How important?
Check out our article on The Impact of Tags on Website Performance for more information and stats from KissMetrics, but here’s a quick excerpt for you: If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1-second page delay could potentially cost $2.5 million in lost sales every year.
Performance matters, day in and day out, across all departments. It is not one person or one team’s responsibility to monitor and maintain an acceptable website performance metric; everyone has a role to play and solid tag management processes can help.
Here are a few ways they can do so:
- You’ll review tags before implementing, giving you an idea of the impact they may have
- Ongoing monitoring solutions (such as Tag Inspector or Tag Inspector Realtime) can notify you of increased performance impacts
Reason 4: Data Quality
It feels like a few short paragraphs ago that I told you performance wasn’t everything, and I stand by that claim. That said, data quality might be.
Think of it this way: I tell you I have a lemonade stand and that, after placing an ad on a local website, I went from selling 75 cups of lemonade per day to 100 cups per day. However, upon watching every transaction that occurs over the course of a week, you notice I’m only selling 85 cups per day.
That raises questions, right? It makes you wonder if it was just a slow week or if you should always double check the numbers I give you. It makes me wonder if my ad money was well spent, as I actually saw a much lower (or temporary) increase in cups sold than I initially thought.
Either way, suddenly no one trusts the data. And it’s the same way within real, non-lemonade stand organizations. Believe it or not, there are very large and otherwise digitally savvy enterprises out there don’t use data to make decisions because nobody within the organization trusts the data they have.
It’s a problem, but it’s nothing to be shy about. In fact, the sooner everyone admits that they don’t trust the data, the sooner it can be fixed. Because believe us, it can be fixed.
With proper tag setup and monitoring, data discrepancies can be greatly decreased. Then you’ll trust the data, your organization will trust the data, and everyone can confidently make decisions and track campaign success with (you guessed it!) the aforementioned data.
Reason 5: Data Security
I’ll keep this area short: Don’t open your organization up to data leaks. Be it a competitor collecting information about your visitors to gain an edge or a nefarious party accumulating details that could result in a serious data privacy breach, it’s important to be ever-vigilant.
Reviewing your tags before implementation, revisiting them often for regular reviews and monitoring for tag piggybacking are your first line of defense.
Are you unsure how your organization stacks up on tag management processes? Take our Tag Inspector Benchmark to receive a score and feedback on steps for improvement.