Every online marketing related conferences seem to have at least one tag management system (TMS) vendor hosting a booth. A lot of companies have deployed TMS, and if not, many are probably planning TMS as part of their digital analytics capabilities roadmap. As of this writing, I have evaluated few vendors through a POC (proof of concept), and thought I’d share some of my experience as well as what I learned from others and blog writings.
Three main reasons a company would want or need a TMS are: Speed, Reliability, Control. Double check your needs before you start spending your time and company’s money.
You should consider a tag management system if you are:
- Frustrated with the “one tag, one project, one timeline” model of tag deployment
- Switching vendors and looking to gain leverage over future deployments
- Managing globally distributed sites but have little centralized control over tags
- Looking to add Q/A and workflow management to your tag deployments
- Concerned at all about the quality and data accuracy from your web analytics
If you’re looking for TMS vendor make sure they’re providing great TMS product that meets your requirements. Some TMS vendor may pitch for additional services on top of the main TMS and makes the hole package sexy. However at the end of the day, if you’re looking for a TMS solution make sure you focus on that, and don’t get distracted and end up getting a so so TMS with many add on services that you are ‘nice’ to have. Common add on capability I came across is attribution tracking.
Service, training, and support. You want a partner is going to hold your hand really good and tight. If the chemistry with the vendor is not jiving during POC, make sure you have a vendor has enough experience who is willing to understand your web site and gets it when they work with engineers. It is also nice to know if your TMS vendor has some kind of training package or session for their clients, and if they do, it is a good sign they’re willing to grow their relationship and not just selling a solution. TMS is like content management system (CMS), where your important tags and data are going to be managed. Don’t let your data be managed by a solution you’re not going to be happy with.
Prepare your questions up front, and get technical. If you’re not technical, but need to choose TMS vendor, then make sure your engineer is with you in the POC. All TMS vendor is obviously going to be able to support hosting your tags and fire off tags. The differences are going to come out a lot during the technical evaluations. Just some high level list of things I’d ask…
- Control to be able to load tags earlier or later. For example, many a/b testing tools would want to be able to load the test version before the original page gets loaded so consumers don’t see the original page being swapped with test version.
- Staging to production workflow control.
- How the TMS tool works to capture meta data from the data layer, and re-define that value to various analytics tool
- Make sure your concerns on mobile site and apps tagging are answered. How mobile site is being architected varies by company so make sure you understand what the TMS vendor can or can not provide regarding mobile/tablet sites.
- How TMS vendor caches the tags. Pure cloud, hybrid, or client side. Make sure your engineer is involved in understanding this so you don’t only have the right too, but a TMS that complies with your data governance and policy.
TMS related articles and sources: