Why tag management tools (or systems) suck

I know, I know… this is too late to say tag managements tools and systems suck. Should I change the date of this blog post to year 2013? 😉 Anyway, this blog post has been on my head already few years. I need to finally say it loud and after this I can move on and become tag management Evangelist or at least a tag management fan just like you and the rest of the world is. Let’s rewind few years and it was the first time I started to really hear about these tag management tools. The typical conversation was:

-So you are web analyst, want to start using tag management?

-Not sure, what is that?

-You can make analytics taggins to your site without all the hazzle, you can implement all the tags to your site without the help of coders and you don’t even have to wait production updates because you can update the tags through the tool.

-Wow, that is amazing! So I don’t need the coders anymore, this is so cool!

-Yes, that’s true, it is a really powerful tool and will make your life so much easier.

-Cool! I have this new website and I want to use tag management to make the tagging process, what is the first step?

-You just copy and paste this small script to your site and then login to the tool and start some madness tagging!

*I login to the tool*

Hmm… there are so many things to learn how this process really work… ok, I have to understand all the html/css/javascript coding on the site to make these rules, but some of the stuff is hidden behind the logging system of our site and what if our site’s code changes… This just doesn’t make any sense, can I get my coders back to do the implementation process? I guess I better call to the tag management guy.

-Hello there, I have started to use tag management, but it is quite complicated and actually impossible to do all the taggins.

-Well, of course it is… I just didn’t want to mention that you need to be expert in coding to be able to do these things.

-Oh, ok… should I just forget tag management and ask our coders again to hardcode everything to our site again?

-Of course not, forget get the old way. May I introduce data layers. You can make your coders a plan what kind of information you need and they will code everything on the site using data layers and after that you can save the information to our analytics tool easily through tag management.

-Ok, that sounds much better, although, that is a bit duplicate work. But doesn’t this mean that again I need to rely on our coders and everything needs to be hardcoded to the site and I always have to wait production updates? We are back to normal?

-Well, yes, if you say it like that… but you know, you are like using these data layers and those are pretty cool, right? Want to be web analyst or web analyst using data layers?

-Whatta actual *piip*

Now you understand why I first hated tag management tools. There was of course lots of misunderstanding for both sides and maybe I didn’t even want to understand the whole picture. Even though I’m still not heavy user of TMS tools, because I’m in a company with good coders and production updates can be done easily and I have some other javascript detours to make adjustments for the taggings on our site, but anyway I have learned and understood lot more about tag management within 2 years. Now even data layers start to make sense to me. 😉

Yes, these tools are nowadays so much easier (or have I just learned more javascript? ;)) to use and so much more than just making some tags for one analytics tool. You can save your preach, nowadays I love TMS, but just wanted to share why I first hated. Actually, my blog uses Adobe’s dynamic tag management and I love it, and next I will even write my first blog post about one cool tag managment tip for custom link tracking. (Ps. This blog post was general for all tag managment tools, and not Adobe related because few years ago I didn’t even know that Adobe had TMS)

With peaceful TMS regards,

About Antti

Antti

Digital Analytics Manager specialized in Adobe Analytics, Online personalization, SEO, CRO...

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