Research Shows Even the Pros Need Better Tag Management

October 2, 2015 Kara Frazier

(This post takes 4 minutes to read)

Website audits of the top 600 Internet Retailers gleaned one particularly interesting insight—even the heavyweights of online retail, the top 100, have quite a bit of room for improvement when it comes to managing their digital marketing data.

Presumably, these online retail giants are knee-deep in their data, relying on its insights to understand and adapt to customer behavior on their sites.

In some cases, the research showed that the top 506-600 online retailers were better at data collection and tag management than the top 100.

Why does tag management matter?

Marketing technologies often come in the form of tags and are generally used for audience tracking and measurement, targeting, audience customization, search marketing, recommendations, and advertising.

ObservePoint’s Data Quality Assurance Platform performed a comprehensive crawl and analysis of the top 600 retailer’s websites and found various inaccuracies and gaps in information collection from their marketing tags.

Those flaws, tiny and harmless as they may seem, could severely skew the story their data was telling them, potentially invalidating their digital marketing investments.

Tag presence on the top 100 retailer’s sites

Internet retail companies usually deploy a primary web analytics tool to measure their digital marketing data, a secondary tool to help verify the primary and a tag management system to help manage all other web analytics technologies.

The presence of each marketing vendor’s tags was measured on every page to see if all tags were being deployed consistently across the retailer’s website. And, according to the study, the top 100 Internet Retailer’s deployed 26% more marketing technologies than the 501-600 ranked companies, with 39 tags being the most found on one site. On average, they were deploying 13-14 tags per site, and 29.7% had at least 20 tags.

Even though the top 100 had more tags deployed on their websites, the tags still would have needed to be deployed consistently in order to paint an accurate picture of the data. Without that consistency, data sets collected by different analytics tools will not match up, and stakeholders will be unsure of which numbers to trust.

An average of 2.8% of the top 100’s pages had no primary web analytics tag and 2.3% were missing the secondary web analytics tag. 7% of these company’s websites had an absent primary tag on more than 10% of their pages.

One top 100 retailer had their primary analytics tag implemented on less than 75% of their pages…meaning more than 25% or their digital marketing data was slipping through the cracks!

Data quality solutions

Issues with data quality begin and end with tag deployment and management.

Marketers are becoming acutely aware that it is not sufficient to merely deploy the tag and walk away–websites are updated, new tags are implemented, old ones are forgotten and sometimes things just break.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article,  Nathalie Tadena posed this question Can You Trust Your Digital Marketing Data?

She concluded that the issue of accurate, validated data is so pressing that marketers would be fully willing to increase their digital budget if they could better track and trust the numbers to verify the ROI.

So how do you reach the level of trusting your data?

To trust your data you need to actively audit and manage it.

The problem is that on-going data verification and management is a monumental undertaking.

Historically, this painstaking process required a single analyst, or teams of analysts to manually comb through every page on an organization’s site and check endless lines of codes for any errors. And it had to happen every time you updated or implemented anything on your site (which occurs pretty often).

It’s time-consuming, expensive and still prone to human error.

A better way

Data quality assurance technology offers a better way.

Automated on-going and discovery audits keep a continual pulse on an organization’s data quality, providing maximum ROI for your MarTech investment. The best tools available on the market today are agnostic, considering the performance of all tags and analytics solutions to provide the most true picture of a company’s big data.

Now, about those other tag management issues…

This research serves as a notable reminder that all companies should take measures to ensure the validation of the data being used to drive business decisions. From the leading internet retailers, to prominent players in other verticals, everyone can benefit from better tag performance and planning practices.

Wonder how your tags are performing? Find out with a free website audit.



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