During a meeting earlier this year with senior management to discuss the redesign of the company's website, Jason Paulsen, global analytics manager-e-commerce at Avnet Inc., was asked how many visitors view the website in foreign languages.
Normally, Paulsen would have to wait for the IT department to make some changes to the Web analytics code on the website to begin capturing that data. Not anymore.
Paulsen popped open his laptop during the meeting, logged into Tealium, a Web-based tag management company, and changed the Web analytics variables himself. Within an hour, he was able to provide his questioners with some initial trending data on the most popular languages used to view avnet.com.
“The faster we can get relevant information, the better we can make our decisions to impact users and the company,” Paulsen said, adding that using Tealium's Tealium IQ product has reduced the time it takes to introduce new digital campaigns and track the results.
Tag management systems offer Web-based software tools to help marketers deploy and manage all their digital marketing tags, including those for advertising, affiliate marketing, email, PPC and SEO, without having to call the IT department.
Web tags are small snippets of website code (also known as pixels) required by most digital marketing vendors. Each tag that sits on a website page slows the sites down, which means companies could lose visitors and potential sales revenue.
As digital channels expand, so, too, do the number of Web tags that marketers need to manage. What's more, each digital vendor requires a different Web code to add, edit or remove tags, which can add to the time it takes for marketers to fine-tune their digital marketing campaigns.
And because Web tags operate online in different silos, it's difficult for marketers to figure out which channel their customer used to arrive at their website and, subsequently, which channels generated the most qualified leads.
However, tag management is built on a universal Web code, enabling marketers to manage the performance of all their page tags simultaneously and get a much quicker read on which digital channels are providing the best return on their marketing investments.
Erik Bratt, VP-marketing at Tealium, said the primary benefit of tag management is that it takes what had traditionally been under the aegis of IT and puts it directly into the hands of marketers.
“Before, you'd have to wait for IT "release cycles' to get anything implemented,” he said. “You can move quicker in terms of launching [online] campaigns faster, without having to wait weeks or months for IT to deploy the solution. You can also more easily test vendors against one another to see who generates the best results.”
Onestop Internet, which provides e-commerce solutions to online retailers such as True Religion brand jeans and Nicole Miller, started to use Tealium's tag management software in 2011, according to Jeremy Hermanns, VP-performance marketing.
Prior to using the software, Onestop had to deploy from five to 30 Web tags for its clients' websites, depending on the individual client's digital footprint. For some clients, it could take up to two months to add or subtract Web tags. However, within the last year, the company has been able to cut the time it typically takes to change website tags for its clients tenfold, Hermanns said.
“We're constantly refining the implementation of our analytics, so whether I'm changing value within a given variable or adding new variables, I no longer have to rely on the IT group to make those changes,” he said. “Any time I can put less level of effort and have a better output and more throughput, no C-suite executive is going to complain.”
Indeed, for marketers, failing to coordinate their Web tags can be costly. “Companies lose roughly 20% of their data due to how pixels load on the page,” said Nancy Marzouk, chief revenue officer at TagMan, which debuted in 2007 and boasts such clients as Travelocity and Vodafone. “On a confirmation page, this can directly affect the way they track, test and refine media—which is a key component of driving the highest ad spend ROI.”
TagMan's SmartTag Loading & Tag Management technology creates a master tag, which sits at the top of the page and allows companies to manage how all their pixels are working on the their website in a user-friendly interface, Marzouk said. The master tag then populates all the subsequent tags from a single data source so it always equals 100%, as opposed to launching the pixels independently of one another, which results in a loss of data.
“As the digital age continues to evolve, companies will inevitably need to use more technology to power their websites, which leads to potential issues with how data is processed,” Marzouk said. “By using a tag management system, marketers can combat these issues and ensure seamless data flow, which helps [them] to accurately make the right decisions through digital analytics.”