How To Create A Tag Management Strategy hero image
How To Create A Tag Management Strategy hero image

In today’s crowded digital marketing landscape, data plays an essential role. Whether you have a website or an app, the right data can help you understand how your platform is performing in terms of customer journeys, conversion funnels, or leads.

But how does a website collect data, you ask? There are plenty of tools, or technology vendors, that help you collect website visitor data. Examples include Google Analytics, which collects user behaviour data, or Hotjar, which allows you to film session recordings and see how users interact with your website.

While all this data is helpful, without proper management it can become overwhelming to the point where you don’t know what data your website is collecting and why.

Enter: Tag management.

What is tag management?

First thing’s first: A ‘tag’ is a snippet of code that you place on your website. This code gives the technology vendor access to the website and, in turn, the ability to start collecting data. 

A tag management strategy is the process of implementing, maintaining, and organising said tags. To build a tag management strategy, you’ll need a tool with a user-friendly interface that anyone on your team can use if need be. Examples of tag management tools include:

  • Google Tag Manager
  • Tealium
  • Dynamic Tag Management by Adobe
  • Signal

There are many benefits to using a tag management tool. First, a tool will keep your marketing team aware of what data your website is collecting and why. Second, it will help separate concerns: While a website focuses on displaying content, a tag management tool focuses on giving technology vendors access to the website through tags.

Other benefits of a tag management tool include:

  • Access to quick implementations from the technology vendor 
  • Ability for marketers to launch tools themselves to gather insights
  • More efficient, and therefore more cost-friendly, data collection
  • Easier management of data

Now that you can confidently answer the question “what is a tag management system?”, it’s time to develop a tag management strategy.

The 5-step tag management strategy

There are a number of different ways to manage tags, but a strategic approach will keep you focused and help you achieve the best results. Read on for five easy steps to developing an effective tag management strategy.

1. Call a marketing meeting

No matter what industry you work in, your business will certainly have a number of goals and targets to meet. Getting buy-in from the relevant team members and stakeholders from the beginning of your tag management project will help you make sure that these goals are met.

Once you’ve gathered all relevant parties, you’ll need to decide on:

  • A tag management tool, if you don’t already have one, that suits the complexity of the data you wish to collect and the time and resources your business is willing to invest.
  • Technology vendors that can help you gather the insights you’re searching for.
  • Champions, or team members who can manage the implementation of said vendors. In some cases, implementation may mean more than just inserting a piece of code, so bear this in mind when choosing a champion.
  • A tag manager, or team member who can manage the entire tag management process and check in on assigned champions.

2. Audit current site

Once you’ve decided on all of the above, it’s time to conduct a tag audit using a tool like Wappalyzer. In short, you’ll need to investigate all the current technology in use on your website and assess how well it’s working. Issues to keep an eye out for include:

  • Duplicate tags
  • Tags reaching their End of Life (EOL)
  • Broken tags
  • Inability to access certain technology(/ies)
  • Tags that are no longer relevant

In doing this, you’ll be able to work out which tags you do want to keep and move them into your tag management tool, if they’re not already there.

Top TipBrowser extensions like Google Tag Assistant can help you analyse Google-related tags, while Tag Explorer can give you a closer look at other marketing tags. Alternatively, you can bring up the Network tab on your browser to see if any tags are failing.

3. Remove bad tags

The results of your completed tag audit will tell you which tags are not needed and can therefore be removed. A bad tag can be removed in one of two ways:

  • With a tag management tool, by following the tool instructions for tag removal.
  • Without a tag management tool, by speaking with the website manager, developer, or another person who can remove the tag manually.

4. Speak to technology vendors

At times, implementing a tag can require more than just implementing a piece of code. In these cases, your champions should contact your technology vendor, who will then assign you an implementation manager.

Most technology vendors are aware of tag management tools, and will have the in-house expertise to set up – or help you set up – their tool. In order to do this, they’ll need access to your tag management tool, so be sure to provide them with the relevant permissions. Notably, some tools may require a developer for implementation, since your website may need to communicate directly with the tag management tool.

5. Manage the implementation

Once each of your champions have successfully communicated with all the necessary technology vendors, it’s time to implement! Depending on the specific implementation process required, you may even be able to do this step yourself by following the technology vendor’s instructions. 

Every technology vendor will have their own methods for testing the implementation of their tool. For example, Google Analytics Pageview can be tested using the Google Tag Assistant. It’s the champion’s job to ensure that the tag meets expectations and works as it should. If implementation isn’t rigorously tested, you may end up with inaccurate insights.

For best results, test your implementation on a staging site. If you don’t already have a staging site, now is a great time to set one up! A staging site will allow you to test new technology on your website without impacting your live site. In order to test on a staging site, you’ll need to check if your tag management tool supports multiple environments. For example, Tealium supports production, QA, and development environments.

If your tool doesn’t support multiple environments, you can always create another tool property and sync the changes manually.

Managing your tag management strategy

You’ve finished the 5 steps and successfully set up a tag management strategy – now what? The worst thing you can do now is assume that you won’t need to look at tags again. Business needs and priorities inevitably change, and your strategy should change with them. As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to conduct a tag audit whenever your marketing strategy has changed.

To help you maintain your tag management system and keep it up-to-date, follow this handy checklist version of this article.

  1. Call marketing meeting
    • Choose your:
      • Tool
      • Technology vendor(s)
      • Champion(s)
  2. Audit current site
    • Check for:
      • Duplicate tags
      • Erroring tags
      • Tags that you don’t have access to
      • Tags that you don’t require
    • Move good tags to your tag management tool (optional)
  3. Remove bad tags
  4. Contact technology vendor
    • Get assigned an implementation manager
    • Provide vendor with access to tag management tool
  5. Manage implementation
    • Create staging site (if you don’t already have one)
    • Check in on assigned champions

Collect the right user data with a tag management strategy

Reliable user behaviour data and useful insights start with an efficient tag management strategy. By organising the information your website collects and the methods it uses to do this, you’ll be able to see your data clearly and apply it more effectively.

At Yoghurt Digital, our love of data-driven marketing extends to well-organised, well-implemented tag management strategies. For more advice about managing your website tags or help with setting up your tag management strategy, get in touch with our team today!