Tag Management vs. Tag Ownership: The Benefits of Owning Your Tracking Tags

Discover the transformative shift from traditional tag management to tag ownership.

Tag Management vs. Tag Ownership: The Benefits of Owning Your Tracking Tags

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Tag Management vs. Tag Ownership: The Benefits of Owning Your Tracking Tags

Marketing teams use third-party tags and pixels to track customer data for several reasons, including analytics, advertising, and website optimization.  Historically, data tracking has been reliant on third parties–each with their own strategy, agenda and structure. 

However, this traditional tracking method (aka relying on third parties) proves problematic for many reasons: it introduces unnecessary complexities, slows down websites, and poses significant challenges to maintaining robust data security protocols.

We are hearing more and more that current tracking technology methods are detrimental to your digital marketing strategies, and are causing websites to crash. 

The costs of these website crashes and slowed load speeds are staggering: 

  • 91% of enterprises report downtime costs exceeding $300,000 per hour
  • 60% of customers are unlikely to return to a site if they encounter an error
  • 2 out of 3 customers bounce if a site takes more than 6 seconds to load

With the limitations of traditional tag management becoming increasingly evident, tag ownership is emerging as a modern solution that not only addresses these shortcomings but propels enterprises into a new era of data control, governance, and flexibility. Embracing tag ownership signifies a strategic commitment to shaping one's customer data strategy, ensuring that every tag on the website serves as a valuable asset rather than a potential liability. 

Let’s Start By Understanding the Difference

Tag management refers to the process of overseeing and organizing various third-party tags within a digital ecosystem. In the context of online marketing and web analytics, a tag is a snippet of code embedded in a website to collect data and send it to third-party tools or platforms, such as analytics tools, advertising networks, or social media platforms. Tag management involves the administration, deployment, and maintenance of numerous third-party tags to collect data.

Tag ownership goes a step further by replacing third-party tags with one tag that is fully owned and controlled by the entity managing the website or application. In a tag ownership model, the reliance on external third-party tags is eliminated, and instead, data is sent server-side and can be easily accessed to handle various functionalities, such as analytics tracking, advertising, and other customer data-related processes. This approach provides greater control over data privacy, security, and performance, as the organization has a more direct influence on how data is collected, processed, and shared while also retaining functional parity with the traditional tag management approach.

The Traditional Approach: Tag Management

Traditional tag management systems (TMSs), while very helpful for quickly deploying and maintaining tags, are now revealing limitations in the face of evolving data landscapes, compliance requirements, and the need for comprehensive control over data flows. TMSs rely on third-party tags, exposing businesses to potential risks associated with site crashes, data leakage, disparate data standards, and reduced transparency.  

Because the traditional tag management approach involves incorporating multiple third-party vendors into a digital ecosystem, each employing their own code library that consumes browser processing resources, website performance suffers. Specifically, tags impact site speed in two ways:

1. They compete for network bandwidth and processing time on users’ devices

2. They can delay HTML parsing, depending on how they’re implemented

Because of this redundancy, as numerous tags perform similar tracking functions, your data ecosystem becomes overcrowded and inefficient, creating a bad user experience.

Consider operating a store where the entrance doors unpredictably lock and unlock, the lights intermittently dim and brighten, and items on the shelves materialize and vanish at random. 

This is what it’s like for shoppers when an eCommerce site encounters issues caused by third-party tags. By proactively addressing and preventing traffic-related issues on your site, you can steer clear of such disruptions, ensuring a seamless and reliable shopping experience for your customers.

In addition, the opacity of the traditional tag management approach emerges from the lack of visibility into the specific data each vendor collects—ranging from device types to IP addresses—creating a chaotic tag ecosystem where companies struggle to comprehend and manage the intricacies of data collection; what vendors are collecting what data, and why? There is a total loss of visibility and control.

A New Approach: Tag Ownership

While tag managers optimize third-party tag configuration, there's still much to be desired. That’s where tag ownership comes in. 

Tag ownership is the most effective way to take charge of the data collected from your website. Owning your tags grants you complete authority over who has access to this data, giving businesses peace of mind that customers' information remains confidential at all times. Your IT and privacy teams can sleep better at night knowing your customer data is safe!

Tag Management Parameter Tag Ownership

Having numerous third-party tags negatively impacts website performance.

Each additional tag contributes to increased page load times, potentially leading to a suboptimal user experience. Additionally, conflicts between tags or outdated implementations can hinder the efficiency of data collection and processing.

Performance and Efficiency

Tag ownership improves website performance and marketing effectiveness.

By using a single server-side tag, organizations can streamline data collection processes, reducing the burden on website performance. Centralized control allows for better coordination and optimization, resulting in a more responsive and reliable digital infrastructure.

Each third-party tag operates independently, making it challenging to maintain a centralized oversight of data practices.

This lack of control may lead to issues such as data discrepancies, inconsistencies, and inaccurate reporting.

Control and Governance

Allows for greater control and governance over data collection processes with a centralized, server-side tag controlled by the organization.

The organization has the authority to determine how data is collected, processed, and shared, enhancing transparency and compliance.

The decentralized nature of traditional tag management systems can hinder the agility required to respond promptly to industry shifts or regulatory updates.

Adaptability and Flexibility

With tag ownership, businesses can more effectively adapt to evolving business needs. The streamlined control allows for agile adjustments in response to market dynamics, ensuring that the organization remains compliant and aligned with industry trends.

Transparency is non-existent as organizations lack visibility into the specific data collected by various third-party vendors–they don't know what data is being collected (i.e. IP addresses, device type, etc.) or why.


Because the tag is fully owned by the organization, there is complete visibility into the data collected and the reasons behind it, ensuring a clear understanding of the information being gathered and its intended purpose.

Using multiple third-party tags poses increased risks to data privacy and security.

Each external tag introduces potential vulnerabilities, and the organization may have limited visibility into how these third parties handle user data, raising concerns about data breaches, unauthorized access, and compliance with privacy regulations.

Data Privacy and Security

Reduces privacy and security risks by minimizing reliance on external third-party tags. With a server-side tag fully owned by the organization, there's greater control over data security measures.

This centralized approach helps mitigate the risks associated with external dependencies and enhances the protection of sensitive customer information.

Embracing tag ownership marks a strategic leap forward, placing enterprises in direct control of their customer data strategy. This ownership extends to both first-party data and marketing tags on websites, offering a unified approach that aligns with modern data governance principles.


While tag management focuses on the organization and oversight of various third-party tags, tag ownership takes a more centralized approach, emphasizing the use of a single tag fully owned and controlled by the organization to enhance control, privacy, and security in managing digital data.

Owning tags provides greater control over the entire process of collecting customer data while guaranteeing this information stays secure—a crucial factor in today’s digital age. Through taking full responsibility for the tags on your website instead of relying on third-party solutions such as tag management systems, organizations can guarantee that customers' details remain safe while still gaining valuable insights into user behavior and making sound decisions about website optimization strategies alike.