For years, one of the most challenging aspects of digital marketing has been the manual process of adding online vendor “tags” to websites. With the rise of a new class of application called tag management, that challenge has been turned into an opportunity.
For the uninitiated, a “tag” is a snippet of code, also known as a tracking pixel, that nearly all digital marketing vendors require their customers to embed in their websites. These vendor tags are typically used for some type of tracking purpose, such as Web analytics, retargeting, affiliate marketing, social media, search marketing, and much more.
Unfortunately, getting these tags onto a website is no easy feat, often requiring digital marketers to get IT resources involved so they can start using these solutions to optimize results. This dramatically slows down marketing agility due to lengthy development cycles.
With tag management, business users are empowered to add, edit, or delete any vendor tag on their own through an intuitive, point-and-click Web interface. This translates directly into increased marketing efficiency, while freeing valuable IT resources to focus on more strategic initiatives. According to a study by eConsultancy, 87% of digital marketers now consider tag management key to their online success.
But how do you know if you need tag management? Here are five telling signs:
1. You find yourself waiting weeks or even months to launch your newest online marketing solution(s).
Without tag management, marketers are at the whim of IT development cycles to get their vendor tags on the page. Depending on IT schedules, this could take weeks or months. With tag management, marketers are put in control of their online solutions, helping them launch more revenue-generating campaigns faster and easier. Nearly 70% of organizations using a tag management system (TMS) were able to deploy a vendor tag in less than eight hours, according to eConsultancy. Compare that to the only 23% of non-TMS users who said they could add a tag in less than a day.
2. Your website performance is sub-optimal.
Some marketers tend to think of website performance as an IT function—but consider that a one second delay in page load speed equals a 7% decrease in conversions, according to a study by the Aberdeen Group. One of the biggest offenders of slow web pages are…tags, which have become so prolific on Web pages, they’ve begun to directly impact site performance. Tag management leverages a single tag, and can increase page load speed by as much as 49%.
3. Your Web analytics implementation is more than one year old.
Online business requirements change all the time. What you were tracking a year ago may not be as relevant today. Meanwhile, important new metrics keep popping up. However, changing your analytics implementation to capture these new datapoints is no easy task, requiring—you guessed it—IT involvement. Tag management lets digital analytics professionals adjust their metrics on the fly. This is hugely important to any data-driven marketing team.
4. You are spending too much time (and money) trying to munge different online data sources together.
More and more, digital marketers are trying to improve the effectiveness of their customer acquisition campaigns by seeking to understand online behavior across multiple touchpoints. However, accessing this data is costly and time-consuming, often requiring you to buy your data back from various digital vendors, and then trying to munge this data together on the backend. Because tags are essentially a mechanism for exchanging data with these vendors, enterprise-class tag management systems enable marketers to easily correlate the data these tags generate into a highly actionable source.
5. You are unable to test different vendors against each other.
Many marketers are familiar with A/B testing different campaigns and campaign elements to improve conversions. But testing different vendor solutions against one another? That’s something new. With tag management, marketers can quickly set up split segmentation tests between different vendors in near real-time to see which one generates the best results. This allows them to contract with best-in-class vendors and solutions at all times.
Almost unheard of by digital marketers two years ago, tag management is considered one of the most important digital marketing innovations of the last decade. For the first time, marketers are put in control of the mission-critical solutions they use every day to increase results. This is providing huge gains in marketing agility and performance. Consider the case of Ancestry.com, which recently reported that it was able to deploy as many vendor tags in one week as it usually does in an entire year.
Thanks to tag management, marketers are changing their tune when it comes to the subject of dealing with vendor tags. Where they once saw a difficult challenge, they now see as an opportunity.
Erik Bratt is VP of marketing at Tealium.