Tag Management Governance: Stay organized for scalability and efficiency
Published: November 9, 2016
Author: Jack Pace
Maintaining 1st- and 3rd-party tags on web platforms with many changes and dynamic content can be a bothersome task. Pages, content, URLs, and code changes happen all the time and more often than not break the analytics. Keeping tags within the tag management platform organized and having analytics in mind during development is crucial to staying ahead of the curve.
Tag management systems (TMS) are your wingman when running campaigns and experiments. With tools deployed through a TMS, visit behavior and conversions are tracked, and campaigns and experiments are measured. TMS, when configured correctly, can give visibility into how users reached content and how they interacted with it. In order for a TMS to work properly, analytics engineers need to be involved at the early stages of planning to scope out the work involved with the collection of data and the formulation of KPIs to judge the campaigns’ and experiments’ success.
Keep teams in communication with each other so that when changes to web platforms happen, no one has to run to fix the tag manager’s rules and tags. When expensive campaigns are running and measurements must be taken, it is imperative to have those conversations during campaign planning. A good starting point would be, “How does this impact our current analytics implementation?”
With great power comes great responsibility. Tag Management Systems are very powerful, and the users behind them must be knowledgeable and responsible. Changes made to rules and triggers can cause destruction if done improperly. The users should be known across the teams so they know who to go to when something breaks or needs to be updated or implemented.
Time is everything when campaigns and experiments are running. No one wants to find out that their test is running and not collecting data. Involve your analytics teams early in planning to scope out the impact and time estimates for maintaining the implementation.
Naming Conventions and Folders
Google Tag Manager assets include variables, tags, triggers, folders, workspaces. Adobe Tag Manager assets include data elements, page load rules, event-based rules, and direct call rules. When implementations get older, they tend to fill up with lots of these assets. Some assets may be depreciated and should be either archived or deleted.
Having a strict set of rules around governance of those assets can significantly decrease your maintenance time. These rules should include a templated approach to the naming of assets. No more time spent searching page after page in the TMS for that old conversion tag and trigger implemented before the migration to the new ecommerce platform before you got there. What was the other guy’s name? Scott? Chris? Anyone have his number?
Not only should analytics help conceptually and aesthetically influence the platform, it should also influence how it is developed under the hood, starting with a data layer to provide the analytics team with as much useful information as possible. Buttons, calls to actions, and other elements must be tagged with common but unique anchors (attributes) for the tag management platforms to listen to. Attributes are like meta data; the more the better! (As long as they are kept clean.)
The upshot? TMG is absolutely critical for protecting the resources you’ve invested in driving clean, powerful data collection. Make sure all teams are aligned and communicating openly to knock out issues before they start.