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Holiday Shopping Performance Tips: Tag Management Systems

Holiday shopping season is fast approaching, leaving ecommerce companies little time to make their final performance tweaks. Third-party tags have frequently been the culprit of some of the most catastrophic outages of previous years’ holiday shopping seasons. As the number of tags that are used on web pages continues to increase exponentially, web page performance continues to suffer and tag maintenance becomes a nightmare. A tag management system can help address these issues and mitigate the business risks associated with them.

What is a tag?

A tag is a piece of JavaScript code on a web page which enables third-party tracking, analysis, or reporting. Google Analytics, Adobe/Omniture, and Webtrends analytics platforms are an obvious tag, but campaign analytics, audience measurement, personalization, A/B testing, ad-servers, retargeting, and conversion tracking services utilize tags as well.

What is tag management?

A tag management system makes it easy to manage the implementation of digital marketing and analytics tags. It replaces the multiple tags you’d typically have on your site with a single container tag and subsequently prioritize and “fire” individual tags according to business rules, navigation events, and known data. Google Tag Manager, Ensighten, and Tealium are some of the more widely known tag management systems in use today.

Benefits of tag management:

  • Website performance improvement– Page load times can be significantly reduced, thanks to asynchronous tag loading, conditional tag loading, and tag timeout functionality.
  • Cost savings – The ability to de-duplicate tags so  valuable marketing and IT resources can be used for other strategic projects.
  • Simple GUI interface – A marketer can log into the tool themselves and add, edit, or delete tags as they see fit, without needing code-level access. Most tag management systems have already integrated with ad companies, so the marketer can now just check a box to activate the appropriate tags.
  • Accelerate campaign time to market – Because of simplicity, marketers can launch more revenue-generating campaigns faster and easier.
  • Safe preview – Tag managers such as Google Tag Manager include a preview mode which allows formatting and security issues to be checked prior to deploying tags to production.

Will a tag management system work for your organization?

Except for Google Tag Manager (which is free), a tag management system will cost your organization money. Is it worth it, though? For ecommerce and Media/Entertainment sites, the answer is probably yes—especially during holiday shopping season.

The bottom line is this: If you’re actively using more than a handful of tags on your website, you should seriously consider a tag management system.

For more performance preparation and optimization tips to maximize your holiday shopping season, download our ebook Preparing for the Most Trafficked Time of the Year.

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More Stories By Mehdi Daoudi

Catchpoint radically transforms the way businesses manage, monitor, and test the performance of online applications. Truly understand and improve user experience with clear visibility into complex, distributed online systems.

Founded in 2008 by four DoubleClick / Google executives with a passion for speed, reliability and overall better online experiences, Catchpoint has now become the most innovative provider of web performance testing and monitoring solutions. We are a team with expertise in designing, building, operating, scaling and monitoring highly transactional Internet services used by thousands of companies and impacting the experience of millions of users. Catchpoint is funded by top-tier venture capital firm, Battery Ventures, which has invested in category leaders such as Akamai, Omniture (Adobe Systems), Optimizely, Tealium, BazaarVoice, Marketo and many more.

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