Governing your tags going forward

My first few posts in this series have established why marTech Ecosystem health matters, and shown some ways to measure the impact marTech is having on your site. Now, let’s talk about how to do a deeper audit of the tags on your site so you can start to plan a way forward.

Regardless of how much effort you can put into cleaning up current tags on your site, there are relatively simple things you can do, starting now, that will improve the future health of your marTech implementation.

Keep information ABOUT the tag WITHIN the tag

Within each tag, include info about the tag:

  • Who requested the tag (include any contact info for the agency, vendor support, internal sponsor)
  • The date the tag was deployed or updated or confirmed to be in use (and if known, date to remove)
  • Who deployed the tag

I like to do this directly in the JavaScript, but you can also include at least some of that info in the Rule, Tag or Action name, or you can use the TMS “Notes” functionality (both GTM and Adobe Launch have it)- just be aware that not everyone is good at looking at notes (they can be a bit sneaky) and they don’t show up in a lot of auditing tools and such.

However you do it, keeping this information directly with the tag makes it so easy for everyone to have context around the tag and makes it easy to keep your TMS set up healthy and current.

Use a Tag Request Intake Process

We’ve helped a lot of our clients implement a formal MarTech Tracking Request Intake process. When someone comes to you asking for a new tag to be deployed, you can have them fill out key information such as contact info, go-live date, tag vendor/account ID… This information can help in a few ways:

  • It cuts down on the back-and-forth between the implementor and the tag requester (I’ve had some email threads go 20 replies deep, trying to make sure we were all on the same page about the tag. You’d be amazed how often I get Facebook tags without an account ID, for example.)
  • It gives you a chance to set expectations with the tag requester, like the fact you need 2 weeks of turnaround time, or that you’ll follow up with them on a certain date to see if the tag is still in use or needs updates.
  • It builds an audit trail and can feed directly into documentation, like for the Tag Inventory you should be keeping.

I have an example in my my governance workbook download, but it doesn’t have to be a spreadsheet. It can be a google form, a JIRA template, or just a something you paste into an email.

Keep a “pixel menu”

I’ve found it can be a huge help to have a standard list of what user actions you usually have tags on, and what dimensions are available at those times.

At bare minimum, this can be a great internal resource for the implementors and, say, a Center of Excellence. Sometimes it can be helpful to show vendors/agencies to get on the same page about what’s worth tracking…. just be warned, sometimes if an agency sees such a list, they’ll just say they want all of it. Which brings me to my next suggestion:

Consider having some restrictions on what you deploy

It’s ok to push back on Tag Requests. Consider:

  • Do you only deploy certain types of tags? Maybe things that you already have a set up for, or that have passed a security review.
  • Do you only deploy on certain user actions (do they have to “stick to your list” in the pixel menu)? If they ask for a tag on both the click of the search button and the load of the search results page, ask them WHY. Sometimes they’ll have a reason, but much of the time they’ll say that the button click was just a nice-to-have, and they’ll tell you what items are actually a priority. Pro tip: mention to them “our turnaround time can be pretty quick if we stick to these particular user actions, but if you need something custom, that might slow things down. Maybe we can move forward with the priority tags for now, and circle back to your more custom requirements later?”
  • Do you ask them to justify the business value of the added weight and complexity that their tag brings? Some of the most complicated tags I’ve deployed turned out to be for something not providing a lot of value. Much of the time, the data a tag is supposed to be delivering can already be found other ways (like with an analytics tool).

Establish a follow-up cadence

Set up a calendar for your TMS. Each time you publish a tag, add a reminder one year out to followup:

It takes very little effort or commitment in the here-and-now, and makes it easy to followup without it being part of a massive clean up effort.

Just… do something

Don’t wait until you can get it perfect. Do what you can, when you can. Make a commitment for the little things you can do going forward that your future self will thank you for.

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