One of the best coaches I’ve ever had always used to say, “The will to succeed means nothing without the will to prepare.”
Now, while we can’t credit him with the quote itself, we can credit him with knowing the secret to succeeding in team sports.
He understood that without a sound game plan, our team stood little chance of achieving our overall goal: beating the competition.
The same can be said about marketing and tag management.
For example, if marketing is football, tag management is the coach’s game plan. Marketing tags are akin to the plays being designed and executed:
What are marketing tags?
- Web beacons
What do marketing tags do?
Marketing tags power online marketing and analytics. Without tags, you won’t know who visited your website, what they’re doing there, or why they left.
- Instruct web browsers to collect data
- Read and drop cookies
- Extend audiences between multiple websites
- Integrate third-party content into a website, such as social media widgets and video players
- Deliver advertising
Conversion tracking, ad campaigns, customer insight tools and Google Analytics all run on tags.
What do marketing tags look like?
Tag code is inserted into the "source code" of your web page or landing page. Here is an example of Google Analytics dynamic remarketing tag (highlighted in yellow):
The dynamic remarketing tag collects data, such as the IDs of the products or services that people viewed on your website, the types of pages viewed (such as shopping cart pages), and the total value of items.
Google Analytics will now record any user who visits the site through the above URL that come from ClickZ after clicking on a banner ad as part of the launch campaign.
What is tag management?
Marketing campaigns encompass multiple applications like email, social media and online ads, and each has its own set of tags. Tag management is your game book, your plan for coordinating, executing and tracking all those plays — er, tags.
Tag management is handled through tag management tools designed to accomplish two main things:
- Minimize code deployed on websites and in apps
- Allow many pieces of code to be managed from a single area without editing the site or app
Why should marketers care about tag management?
Tag management puts the power in the hands of marketers, rather than web developers or IT, saving time while providing direct control over tag placement.
According to Econsultancy, nearly 75% of manually entered tags take more than a day to implement, and 47% require more than a week! Tag management cuts activation to less than a day:
How do tag management systems work?
Tag Management Systems (TMS) offer a platform to implement tags without manual coding by deploying one master tag across multiple applications. TMS uses an intuitive web interface to add, edit or remove tags in a fraction of the time it would take to do it manually.
Optimizing tag performance
Tags are essential for delivering appropriate advertising and tracking results. Tag management is crucial for optimizing tags. TMS offers solutions to common tag issues:
- Slow load time: Too many tags on a given web page can dramatically slow load time. TMS can make smart decisions about when to fire each tag, i.e. the first visit only, reducing the number of tag loads.
- Broken tags: Typing in code is always subject to human error. The sheer volume of tags deployed in a given campaign increases the odds of a broken code that can disrupt tag function and possibly your landing page or website. TMS reduces the risk to a single point of coding. Many systems also offer to monitor and will deactivate broken tags to protect the site.
- Sensitive data: More data leads to better marketing decisions, but data such as past transaction history is too sensitive to pass through a tag. Most TMS providers offer a backend process to send this data server-to-server, securing the data while reducing tag loads (Marketing Land).
Cool tag management features
A chief benefit of using a TMS is the one-stop-shopping user interface. Marketers can edit tags across multiple mediums from one location. Other perks include:
- Integration: Most TMS offer one-click tag activation for other ad-tech companies, connecting all the players in your marketing strategy.
- Tag Marketplace: Marketers click on a vendor logo, decide which sites to load the tag on and hit publish, without ever touching the vendor’s web page.
- Create data rules: TMS works with a page’s data layer — the collection of behind-the-scenes information — to create customized data rules to govern when and where a tag fires. The data layer separates the data into logical sections that are easy for your TMS to read and manage.
For more information on using data layers for digital marketing, click here.
3 tips for choosing a tag management system
There are several TMS solutions available online. Here are three things to look for when selecting a TMS:
- User-friendly: Marketers should be able to manage tags with point-and-click simplicity.
- Vendor-neutrality: TMS should work seamlessly with all vendors rather than being restricted to proprietary solutions, allowing the integration of existing marketing technologies with new solutions from independent point providers (Econsultancy).
- Mobile-friendly: Look for a TMS solution with mobile-optimized cross-channel capabilities.
How will marketing tags help you increase conversion?
Anything you tag, you can measure. Display activity, email campaigns, social media posts, sharing widgets, and mobile app links should all be tagged. This information allows you to look across channels to analyze all aspects of your digital marketing efforts to see what is driving traffic and how to optimize accordingly.
Whether you use a tag management system or handle the coding internally, marketing tags are an essential element of effective marketing strategies.
Instapage is continuously adding to its collection of custom widgets and components for you to easily incorporate into your page, including tracking tags for external conversion pages. Tracking is especially important for A/B testing as you need to know which page drives better overall results.