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Tag Management Hits the Big Time

  |  October 8, 2012   |  Comments

Google announces its tag management tool.

A few days ago Google announced a "tag management" tool. For those who may wonder at the meaning of this esoteric term, it can be illustrated as follows:

In pursuit of more accurate tracking of website usage, the digital marketing industry has come to rely on snippets of JavaScript embedded in the HTML of every measured page ("tags"). Each view of that page triggers data collection based on the presence of the JavaScript. Missing or incorrect tags can corrupt and invalidate reporting on web usage.

Tag creation and placement has become complex and time consuming. Expertise in tagging is not common. Continuing audits of tagging is recommended but less frequent than it should be.

Hence, the field of tag management. Several companies including Tealium, Ensighten, and TagMan have emerged to meet the market need.

Now, Google has taken notice, as noted above.

When Google came out with Google Analytics, it made web analytics almost a household name among marketers. While targeted mostly at smaller businesses, the offering was good enough for many and created a much larger ecosphere for analytics generally. Since that time Google has only improved its analytics offering and has added a premium version targeted at the enterprise. This has driven the digital analytics market to expand into more and more sophisticated territory: in brief, toward more universal measurement of data that Google at this point does not see fit to offer for free.

Google's tag management solution promises to do the same for tagging. It is likely to provide a tool for managing Google Analytics tags in the small-to-medium-sized market, while giving the field of tag management the higher profile it deserves.

It may also drive changes in the tag management space, much as it has in the older and more established web analytics industry. Web analytics companies are focusing on more integrated measurement offerings. Some new entrants are pulling data from non-web-based sources and combining online and offline data into common dashboards.

Much of this is in response to customers requesting better decision-making tools. But part of it is because Google has done much to take away the traditional footprint of the digital analytics market.

Tag management tools now become much more motivated to innovate: going where free tools won't. It is a familiar pattern, and digital marketers are sure to benefit.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Edwards

Andrew is a digital marketing executive with 20 years' experience servicing the enterprise customer. Currently he is managing director New York at Society Consulting. a digital marketing consulting company based in Seattle, Washington. Formerly he was managing partner at Technology Leaders, a Web analytics consulting firm he founded in 2002. He combines extensive technical knowledge with a broad strategic understanding of digital marketing and especially digital measurement, plus hands-on creative in the form of the written word, user experience, and traditional design.

He writes a regular column about analytics for ClickZ, the 2013 Online Publisher of the Year. He wrote the groundbreaking "Dawn of Convergence Analytics" report which was featured at the SES show in New York (2013).

In 2004 Edwards co-founded the Digital Analytics Association and is currently a director emeritus. He has designed analytics training curricula for business teams and has led seminars on digital marketing subjects.

He was also an adjunct professor at The Pratt Institute where he taught advanced computer graphics for three years. Edwards is also an award-winning, nationally exhibited painter. In 2015, his book Digital Is Destroying Everything will be published by Rowman & Littlefield.

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