What is Tag Management?

First Things First: What is a Tag?

A tag is a piece of JavaScript code that most digital marketing vendors require their customers to integrate into their web and mobile sites. In many cases, these tags collect visitor behavior information. Tags also can serve functionality, such advertising, live chat, and product recommendations.

What are tags?

Tag management is…

A tag management system (TMS) makes its easy to manage the implementation of digital marketing technology solutions. Tag management also serves as a foundation for driving better omnichannel experiences.

What Tag Management is NOT

Tag management is not the most exciting name for such a crucial technology, often getting confusing with blog tags, tag clouds or search engine meta tags. Tag management is not related to any of those. Tags aren’t even really about tags per se, but about data. Tags are little more than a means to collect and shuttle data between a web site or mobile app session, and the vendor. Nevertheless, that is how the industry evolved, and the name stuck, although it is quickly becoming part of a larger customer data platform conversation.

Tag management digital marketing technologies

The Rise of Tag Management

Tag management systems emerged in the late 2000s to address challenges posed by the explosive growth in digital marketing technologies, which now stands at 1,876, according to ChiefMartec.com, a leading authority on marketing technology. Tag management helps streamline tag deployments and management, which previously required ongoing IT assistance to support.

The Perfect Storm of Martech Growth

“The explosion of marketing technologies is the perfect storm of three things. First, marketers have an incredibly diverse set of needs and desires in their digital marketing programs. Second, marketing technology vendors are doing a tremendous job of innovating solutions that address those needs and desires and inspire new possibilities. And third, the advancement of marketing technology platforms and middleware — including tag management — is making it easier for marketers to put these pieces together in a cohesive marketing stack, tailored to their business.”

— Scott Brinker, ChiefMartec.com

Tag Management Extends Beyond the Web Site

Tag management has moved rapidly to help manage tags and data outside of the traditional web site. The chart below shows how companies are using tag management across channels and devices. One important thing to note about mobile apps is that instead of using a master tag from the tag management provider, they leverage a library that serves the same important purpose. Once the library is baked into the mobile app, marketers and mobile developers can add analytics and other solutions without having to recertify the app in the mobile app marketplaces.

tag management extends chart

How Tag Management Systems Work

Tag management systems control the deployment of all other tags and mobile vendor deployments via an intuitive web interface, without requiring any software coding. Tag management systems make it easy to add, edit or remove any tag with point and click simplicity. Enterprise tag management solutions – compared to free tag managers – also deliver a variety of advanced capabilities, such as customization, data management, privacy controls, mobile application support and much more.

tag management

5 Key Benefits of Tag Management

Accelerate campaign time to market – Marketers can launch more revenue-generating campaigns faster and easier.

Leverage best-in-class solutions –Test new vendors and use the applications that best fit your evolving business requirements.

Improve web site performance – intelligent tag loading and superior architecture.

Reduce costs – Free up valuable marketing and IT resources for other strategic projects.

Standardize your data – Make sure all of your vendors are using the same data definitions to ensure consistent, accurate sharing across vendors.

What is Tag Management?
Women with pink hair thinking about tag management

Why Should You Care?

Because of its strategic position in the flow of data, tag management systems have rapidly evolved to become a key foundation for data management and enrichment. Marketers can use this platform as a single source for creating universal 360-degree customer profiles, which can be used to drive more timely and relevant omnichannel experiences. This robust first-party data can also be used to fuel business intelligence initiatives and streamline enterprise data warehouse projects.

Are You Ready for Tag Management?

There are many factors in determining whether you need tag management. Here are five sure-fire signs you need tag management …

  1. You are actively using more than five digital marketing solutions
  2. You are using a complex, enterprise analytics solution, such as Adobe SiteCatalyst or IBM Coremetrics
  3. You are about to expand your acquisition or performance marketing activities, i.e., launching new campaigns and attribution tracking
  4. You are about to deploy mobile apps – the same benefits that tag management provides for traditional sites, also apply to mobile apps
  5. You are about to redesign your web site – maintaining analytics and campaign continuity is crucial

… and two signs you really don’t:

  1. You only use a few digital marketing solutions, and no enterprise analytics
  2. You have an unlimited number of resources to help deploy tags quickly and efficiently
ready for tag management