Improving Your Analytics With Tag Management

Digital media has helped to usher in the era of big data thanks to the direct link between consumers and outcomes. The field of digital analytics has become a vital component of digital strategy. However, many businesses are limited by the resources available to properly tag (implement tracking code) their web properties. Often tracking enhancements have undesirably long lead times based on the availability of the necessary development and IT resources.

Tag management solutions can save time and valuable resources

The resulting bottleneck has spawned the growth of tag management solutions that allow digital marketers more control over the digital data collection process. This leads to shorter lead times, enhanced responsiveness, and improved analytical potential. These solutions allow marketers and analysts with limited technical training to develop, test and implement deploy tags via an easy-to-use interface. What once may take weeks or never happen at all can now take minutes. Users will still need to be trained on how to use the solution which the vendor will provide. They will also need the expertise to know what they want to track and what code to deploy.

Tag management can assist in optimizing tracking

An added benefit of tag management solutions is how they can help optimize existing digital tracking. It is not uncommon for tracking to grow unwieldy over time. Dozens of people before you may have made changes to the tracking script, resulting in a piecemeal approach that can lead to inefficient script that can hamper the performance of your website. Tag management solutions often include a way to optimize the existing script, thus making data collection more efficient and may improve the quality of the data being collected.

Is tag management right for your business?

As with most everything the answer is…it depends. Although there are several benefits, there is usually a cost to implementing a tag management solution. Even with a free solution such as Google Tag Manager if you are operating a complex website then you will still need to engage your development/IT resources or an expert to deploy the solution. If you are operating a simple website then there may not be a need unless you are making constant changes to your website. Digital marketing consultants may already be using tag management on their client portfolio as they are able to deliver the benefits over several clients and can lead to economies of scale. If a business is considering bringing in a solution to be managed internally, then I recommend the development of an analytics strategy prior to throwing money and resources at a solution that may not be leveraged properly.

What solutions are out there?

Two of the biggest names in the tag management world are Google Tag Manager and Tealium. The benefit of Google’s solution is its price tag (free) and relative simplicity. For simple websites it may be easy to implement without engaging developers or experts. However, although Google Tag Manager can theoretically be used for web analytics solutions other than Google Analytics, documentation is non-existent and deployment may be more challenging.

Tealium is one of the leaders if not the leader in the industry. It is an excellent solution for various web analytics solutions, however, it is a paid solution that will require some sort of development work to deploy. Other commercial solutions include BrightTag Tag Management, and Ensighten.

Bottom line, research and demo the solutions to find the one with the best cost-benefit to your business.

Tag management is only part of the battle

Even though tag management can help many marketers and analysts take control of their data and analytics, it will be of no benefit without a sound analytics strategy and the expertise to know what needs to be tracked and how to deploy it. Avinash Kaushik’s blog is a greater resource for ideas and tips on enhancing your data analysis. He has also written two great books, Web Analytics: An Hour a Day and Web Analytics 2.0 are recommended reads for beginner and more advanced digital analytics concepts. Advanced Web Metrics is another great resource that can be leveraged to enhance your tagging capabilities.