What are the Benefits of Using a Tag Manager?
:: By Maciej Zawadzinski, Clearcode ::
They say you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but a tag manager will go a long way toward accomplishing this, and there are a lot of digital enterprises that can benefit from one.
Why? To grasp the tangible benefits that a tag manager provides to marketers, we must first understand what a tag manager is and what it does.
Tags: The Bread and Butter of Digital Marketing
Tags can tell you, for example:
• When someone views a page
• If a visitor arrives on a site or landing page after clicking on a Google AdWords ad
• How often visitors liked or shared content from your site via Facebook or Twitter
• Which items a visitor viewed or purchased on your site
The examples above show how tags can be useful for analytics, as well as conversion-tracking purposes, but that’s not all. Tags have many other functions including:
• Advertising: Ad tags help facilitate digital ad placement by communicating between publisher websites, ad servers and other platforms.
• Retargeting: Retargeting tags help keep track of your website’s visitors in order to later target them with ads on other sites they visit.
• A/B testing: Tags allow you to easily collect data about users’ behavior as you optimize your website, landing pages or email campaigns.
• Other website functionalities: Using tags, it’s possible to get more insights into user engagement with feedback and survey forms, including form abandonment. They can also facilitate live chat services by reporting user behavior leading to proactive chat opportunities.
Who needs tags? Anyone requiring data about online activity and wants to enhance or add extra functionality to their website, and, as the examples above show, digital marketers in particular. But here’s the problem:
Creating and managing these tags is a technical process that requires inserting code snippets into a Web page and setting them up to report to an analytics tool like Piwik or Google Analytics. Of course, not every marketer is also a programmer. This puts tags and tag management at the intersection of two relatively different fields — marketing and IT.
Management Made Easier
This is where a tag manager comes in. It serves as a tool for marketers with little or no technical experience, allowing them to easily work with tags in order to gather the data they need.
How does a tag manager work?
First and foremost, a tag manager serves as a dashboard for creating, editing and managing tags on any number of pages. This “all-in-one-place” aspect is particularly important as businesses grow and they need to deploy more and more tags across their website. With a tag manager, creating and implementing tags is a matter of just a few clicks, and marketers are able to easily test and fix tags to make sure they’re working properly so they don’t miss out on valuable insights about potential customers.
From a technical standpoint, a tag manager does many things:
• All the tags to be fired on a Web page are placed in a container tag. This replaces manual tag insertion into the source code of the website and speeds up the process of tag management.
• A tag manager allows its users to easily select the triggers or actions (viewing a page, clicking on a link, etc.) that will cause a tag to fire or report to the analytics platform it is linked to.
• Tags can also be set with variables in order to collect more specific information (e.g. if there was an e-commerce purchase of over $100).
• For tracking standard activity such as AdWords conversion or social sharing, there are templates to make tag creation even quicker.
• Perhaps most importantly, a tag manager allows its users to test and debug the code of a tag before it goes live — a big step toward avoiding headaches down the road.
People Who Benefit From a Tag Manager
Tag managers are extremely useful tools that have the ability to meet the expectations and needs of a wide variety of people, including:
Yes, the customer is always most important, and believe it or not, customers are some of the first to benefit when you start using a tag-management system.
There are a couple reasons for this. One, being able to keep better track of tags, including third-party tags, means it’s easy to remove those which are no longer necessary or may be gathering unauthorized data about your users, leading to data leakage. Your customers will be glad for that, especially if your business or organization handles sensitive financial or healthcare data.
Second, without a tag manager, your site may have performance problems. The more tags you use, the more code each page contains. Each tag that has to load and execute separately slows down the overall page-loading time — not the kind of thing that contributes to a positive customer experience.
In fact, statistics have shown a full 40 percent of Internet users are likely to abandon a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Add that to the fact that over 60 percent of online shoppers won’t return to a site if their first experience is bad, and it’s easy to see why it’s important to keep your tags under control.
A tag-management system addresses this problem quite well. Thanks to container tags, pages can load much quicker because there are fewer requests being sent. Also because the code controlling all the tags on a page loads asynchronously, it does not impede the loading of other elements.
Your IT team
It goes without saying this can lead to headaches, miscommunication and tension, especially when IT has a lot more complicated tasks on its plate.
Implementing a tag-management system streamlines the process considerably, and even if IT has to be involved from time to time, the built-in features of a tag manager like templates, pre-set variables and previews (to check for bugs before firing) make their job a whole lot easier.
Marketing and Sales Managers
While the day-to-day use of a tag-management system may not be their domain, both sales and marketing managers will be delighted with the improvements it brings.
For one thing, a robust tag manager is designed to integrate smoothly with data analytics and data-management platforms (DMP), making it easier to quickly segment audiences for more targeted campaigns, track conversions and better analyze marketing ROI.
The ability to quickly update and add tags also makes marketing and sales processes much more agile.
Having up-to-date data on user behavior means it’s possible to react quickly to trends, implement promotions and quickly target customers who are likely to convert, all without waiting for IT support or worrying about broken code that may skew or leave out vital information.
For these reasons, tag-management systems are becoming a staple tool of the modern marketer and their digital enterprises.
Maciej Zawadzinski is the CEO at Clearcode, a software development house that specializes in building programmatic advertising solutions.