by Russell

01/10/2012

Internet Marketing

What are the business benefits of the Google Tag Manager?

Let’s start with getting some context – what are tags?

Tags are typically small lines of code (javascript) that sit on pages on your website. Third party software such as Google Analytics, AdWords, Omniture and affiliate software use these tags to make their software work on your site.

Research by Econsultancy has shown that on average websites have tags from 14 different third party vendors.*

What is a tag container?

It’s a bucket where all your tags live. This makes the management, deployment and configuration of your tags MUCH easier, quicker and cheaper.

Tags typically have to be deployed across multiple pages on your site – often all pages. This can be slow, cumbersome, expensive and risky and most companies end up with lots of old tags littering their site. With a tag container, all your tags end up in one tidy bucket.

Is this a new thing?

Nope. Tag containers have been around for a while and have proven to be hugely valuable. What is new is that Google have now released their own tag container running on their fast, reliable infrastructure.
Plus, it’s free, something that must have the competition worried!

What are the business benefits of the new Google Tag Container?

Benefit 1 – Move faster

A common problem for most online businesses is getting changes made quickly and reliably.

If you want to deploy a new tag onto your website you’re dependant on your web developers. This can take days, weeks or sometimes months to deliver if your development team is busy.

With the Google Tag Container deployed across your site, tags can be deployed via a web based control panel in a matter of minutes. No heavy coding, no developers, just simple deployment via a web interface.

This means you can move quickly – want to launch a pop-up survey for the weekend? Add the tag for the survey software into the Google Tag Container interface and it’s live. Leave it running for the weekend and remove the tag on Monday. Quick and simple with little or no dependency on your web developers.

The flip side to this is trust. You need to ensure the team members who are authorised to deploy tags are trained and competent in using the tools. Google Tag Manager helps here with an approval mechanism.

Benefit 2 – Get a faster website

Tags add weight to your pages and sometimes slow the loading of your pages. Customers hate slow websites and this can lose business.

If a tag is of use and adds value (such as allowing you to measure your website performance) then this is a good trade off and one that’s worth making. The problem is old tags – old, legacy bits of code that are no longer used but they still sit on your pages making them bloated and slow.

Removing old tags is a pain, it takes time and more often than not (humans being humans) mistakes are made and the odd tag is left on the odd page. Worse still your developer never gets round to spending a few hours removing the old tags because there are bigger priorities.

With the Google Tag Container (or with any decent tag container) all your tags are held in one place, rather than being individually dropped onto each and every page of your website. The tags sit in the tag container (the bucket) and it is the tag container that is installed on every page.

In practical terms this means from one control panel you can see all the tags on your site and then easily remove the ones you no longer use. The removal is global and instant.

Furthermore, the Google Tag Manager loads the tags independently of your page content – tags loaded by the Google Tag Manager do not affect your page download time.

Benefit 3 – Protect your data and respect your customers’ privacy

Tags are powerful things. They can collect data from your website and can even change some aspects of how your website works. If you have old, unused 3rd party tags sitting on pages these could be recording data about your website and your business.

This shouldn’t make you panic, but it’s good practice to ensure old tags are removed from every page.

Benefit 4 – Be consistent

Tags need to be in the right place at the right time to work properly. If a tag isn’t on a page it won’t work, and this in turn will mean tools such as Google Analytics have incomplete data.
The Google Tag Container can help. Once you are confident it is deployed across every page on your site you can be confident that when you add a new tag it to sits on every page of your site (and you don’t miss pages off). If you want to deploy a tag to a few specific pages this is easy to do by setting rules in the admin interface that state which pages a particular tag lives on.

Benefit 5 – Get control back

Once you make a big tag deployment (for example deploying analytics across your entire site) you can find yourself ‘locked in’.

Switching analytics platforms becomes a big job – you’ve got thousands of pages to de-tag and re-tag and the process can be long-winded and expensive.

We commonly find that big clients have this problem and the result is paralysis. They’re prevented from making the best decisions for their business because they’re paralysed by practicalities.

Any tag container solution will help you avoid this problem and will put you back in control of the decision making process. This means you make the right decisions for the business rather than your analytics vendor.
Got any other suggestions?

Please leave a comment, I’m really keen to hear back from clients and end users the benefits they’ve had from using tag containers or the Google Tag Container.

* Source: Number of third party tags on websites
http://www.clickz.com/clickz/news/2175356/study-websites-managing-average-14-party-tags

Comments

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *