4 Questions to ask before choosing a Tag Management System

Tags are critical to online marketing. To implement marketing technologies and campaigns and to collect the data on which digital marketers rely. But they cause real pain like site failures, data loss, campaign delays and having no freedom to choose and use new technologies. Tag Management Systems are the answer. By installing the same, tiny piece of code on site pages, you can be free to add, edit or remove any tracking tag in seconds, straight from the web page and gain control again.
But how might you go about selecting a vendor since there are many to choose from and not all will necessarily meet your needs.  Below are four questions to consider when searching for the right tag management system:

1. Can the system manage all the tags you may want to deploy today?
Turns out there are a boatload of tags out there and at least 100 of them are used regularly by leading emarketers.   Think of it this way, if your tag management system doesn’t support all the tags you plan on tracking, there will be some gaping holes in your reports, greatly diminishing the value of the overall system.  Also, you don’t want to find out three months into it that you need a new system to manage more complex tags required for A/B testing, live chat, segmentation analysis, attribution and social widgets.

2. Is the vendor agnostic and independent?
Given the growing interest in tag management, a number of digital service providers including agencies, web analytics and ad servers have slapped on a simple container to their systems, hoping to help their clients manage tags. As convenient as this solution might seem, it’s a bit like asking the fox to guard the henhouse.  Each of these service providers has a vested interest in the results as well as an overwhelming desire to lock the client into their particular system.  A tag agnostic system that is independent of all the tag providers not only insures optimal data integrity but also makes it easier for clients to consider swapping ad servers and/or analytics providers.

3. Does the vendor have experience in your category?
In a category that is only four years old, there is a temptation to accept inexperience under the assumption that experience isn’t out there or that your particular situation is unique.  The reality is that tag management systems have now been deployed on over 100 leading global ecommerce sites.  These companies can tell you first hand that experience matters, that every category has its unique characteristics and there are a number of critical steps to achieving optimal results.  The right vendor will also understand and provide the service and support needed for a successful and timely launch.

4. Does the vendor have a vision for the future?
Tags aren’t going away in the foreseeable future but how they are managed and deployed will undoubtedly change a lot even in the next 12-24 months.  Without insights and a clear vision, the system you invest in today could be obsolete before you’ve even completed your implementation.  The challenge therefore is to find a system that has a strong foundational platform, one that anticipates and supports your future needs. And with rising concerns about privacy, it is essential that you work with a vendor that is not just fully compliant with the latest privacy standards across the globe but also can anticipate where privacy regulations are heading.

More and more, our industry is moving towards a data-driven media ecosystem with technical and regulatory challenges. As a result, there will continue to be more and more pixels, tags and widgets that you need to trial, and more digital touch points that you need to combine and track in one report. Investing time in researching tag management systems now will save you a lot of pain and money in the future.

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