Tags - those wonderful segments of code that give us so much. But, despite being so critical for collecting vital marketing data, too often marketing teams overlook the need for a robust website...
Tags - those wonderful segments of code that give us so much. But, despite being so critical for collecting vital marketing data, too often marketing teams overlook the need for a robust website tagging strategy. Thus, to remedy this, here’s our quick guide to tag management best practices!
A tag is a segment of code that is placed on a brand’s site in order to track user actions and collect data. Other names include; website tags, script tags, tracking tags, 3rd party tracking, floodlights, spotlights, and activities - largely depending on the platform that has produced the tag.
Tags play a crucial role in marketing enabling marketers to track data about user activity on their website and use that data to optimize campaigns, improve their customer journey, understand their audience better, and ultimately increase ROI and revenue for the company.
(For more on what tags are, check out our blog: What is a Marketing Tag (and what are they used for)?
Tag management is the process of organizing and managing all the tags on your site effectively and efficiently. While this can be done manually by, for example, a webmaster, it is arguably more common for marketing teams (and webmasters!) to utilize a tag management solution or software (TMS).
A TMS is a platform that enables marketers to manage their tags more adeptly. Popular vendors include Google Tag Manager, Tealium, and Adobe Launch. Aside from being a much simpler and more organized way of managing your tags, a TMS can often mean that web pages load more quickly by loading tags independently of the web pages’ content.
However, whether using a TMS or not, in order to get the most from your tags, it is vital to build a robust website tagging strategy.
Not actual website tags - more of a visual metaphor...
Question: Why do you need a website tagging strategy? Why not just deploy tags on all your pages?
Answer: Well, 99% of the time a single “all pages” tag is deployed across a website to track overall site visits and for general retargeting purposes. However, a robust tag strategy requires specific tags for your critical touchpoints (see below). And these additional tags should not be created for every single page.
Thus, instead of adding multiple tags to every single page across your website, look at your critical touchpoints and focus on them instead.
Check out our groovy collection of how-to and best practice guides!
Critical touchpoints on your website are always going to be unique to your business. That said, there are some generic touchpoints that all marketing teams are likely to have in common, and these are where you should start when building out your tag management strategy.
Campaign ad page(s)
When you run a marketing campaign, you’re generally trying to send your audience to a particular page, right? Whether it’s a landing page, a product page, or your homepage - tracking must be deployed on whatever page that your campaign is driving users to. This is so you can measure campaign success and power the activities that improve campaign effectiveness.
KPI and business objectives
Tags need to be employed wherever you have any KPIs that need tracking. Wherever data is needed to answer if your business objectives are being met - there needs to be a tag. For example, if you have a KPI around newsletter sign-ups/lead capture, make sure you have tag tracking on the form for newsletter sign-ups. Likewise, make sure to deploy tags on “Product Purchase Complete” pages (or similar conversion pages) to capture Acquisitions data. These can then be used in Cost per Acquisition (CPA) calculations.
Customer Journey Funnel
Try and understand what the customer’s journey is as they come into your website, down the funnel, and (hopefully) to conversion. Tags can help you understand this in the first instance, but you should also maintain tags right through the customer journey in order to track, for example, which pages or sections of the site visitors tend to drop off. In doing so, you can not only be alerted to any changes in that customer journey that require you to take action, but you can also continuously improve your strategy to drive future users down the funnel.
A Data Passback is where specific parameters are included in a tag in order to capture additional, richer, information from the page and the user.
For example, if a user needs to fill out a form (say for a sale or lead generation), a data passback means a tag on that page can pull the information from the completed form and add it to the other data already collected on the user. This means you can generate richer insights into your audience and campaign performance.
For example, let’s say you run a campaign with a very specific creative. By using a data passback at the point of sale, not only can you understand how well that campaign performed in terms of driving traffic and conversions, but also how that particular campaign translated to other variables - say the color of the car they bought or their age range. And you can use this information to inspire future creatives that resonate with those audiences.
Not an actual data passback. Again, visual metaphor.
In summary, don’t take tag management for granted - instead of bogging down both your website and your resources with a host of unnecessary and/or redundant tags, make sure you have a clear understanding of the critical touchpoints and KPIs you need to collect data on and build your website tagging strategy around them. Then, enrich those tags with data passbacks to ensure you are getting the most out of them - simple!
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