With the introduction of tag management solutions over the past few years, the way a company or advertising agency will implement marketing tags or analytics tags on a website has changed. Because of this, the way the implementation is tested has changed also.
A Tag Management Solution (TMS) is the equivalent for analytics and remarketing tags as a CMS is for the content element of the site. Essentially it provides an interface allowing non-technical people to implement “pixels” across their website in real time. TMS require once off implementation across the website which then gives the marketing administrators real time access for implementation.
Google give a great explanation of what a TMS is here.
There are several considerations to take when selecting the TMS you should use for your company’s website. The budget is usually the main sticking point for most companies. Basically all companies want to get the most from any product they are using for the cheapest price possible. If you’re looking for a free TMS then look no further than Google Tag Manager (GTM), this free TMS fully supports all google tagging requirement such as Universal & Premium Analytics, Doubleclick, Adwords and many more. GTM does however have some drawbacks which are to be expected if the product is free to use, the main issue being that there is no dedicated support team within the google support service and you’re required to “reach out” to the google community via forums and helpful blogs, people like Simo Ahava who have taken it upon themselves to create helpful guides to allow people to do interesting work with GTM.
If this isn’t what you’re looking for and actually you’d rather spend some money and get dedicated support for the system you’re using, then perhaps opting for Tealium or Signal (Formally BrightTag) who’s product is very similar to Google’s with the added bonus of a support might be the better option for your organisation.
When integrating any TMS there are two stages, Stage 1, Copy and paste the TMS code into the body of the HTML… Easy! Stage 2, implement a data layer into the body of the html above the TMS code you’ve just pasted over.
“But what is a data layer”
Google describe a data layer as “A data layer is an object that contains all of the information that you want to pass to Google Tag Manager”.
Simply put, a data layer is a list in the form of code which containers key information from the page its implemented on. In an example of a sales confirmation page for a clothing brand your data layer would contain information such as, revenue, order ID, item name, item quantity, item cost, new or existing customer etc…
Simply put, do you want to save time on analytical and marketing code releases? Then yes, the difficult decision is which TMS to use and not whether or not to use one in the first place. Taking the time to implement the TMS across your site correctly, with a robust data layer will save your company a lot of time and development costs in the future.