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!
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.