What Is Tag Governance and Why Should I Care?

August 15, 2019 Nelson Lee

man at computer governing tags

In the digital marketing world we regularly talk about the importance of collecting and analyzing data as a means to more fully connect with our audience and meet our business goals. However, the act of collecting and analyzing data alone will not always ensure success.

An effective tag governance solution will allow you to use automation to efficiently identify and resolve the issues that come with tagging errors. You will be able to ensure that you’re getting accurate data now and into the future, and above all, properly governing your tags will help you provide your customers with an exceptional online experience.

Before we start collecting data, it’s important to assess where our data is coming from. Data is only valuable if it has been collected, organized, and analyzed in a way that is accurate and in line with our true business needs. Only then can we actually have quality data to reach our goals. 

Ultimately, if our methods of collecting, organizing, and analyzing our data are faulty or inaccurate, we will likely end up with subpar conclusions, which will undoubtedly result in poor business decisions.

So what could cause our data to become faulty or inaccurate?

Collecting Accurate Marketing Data

Digital marketing data is generally collected using tags, which are embedded into our website via JavaScript code. These tags fire when specific events take place within our site, and observing these firings allows us to track and analyze everything from how customers interact with our site’s functionality to consumer purchasing preferences to site glitches.

This data, when accurate, is what gives us the ability to measure and test the effectiveness of on-site forms and processes. Accurate data is what allows us to target and then retarget customers. Overall, accurate data enables us to cater our site to the needs of the customer. As a result, having fully functioning tags is a critical element of maintaining an effective website or app.

Now, what happens when tags go unmonitored and unmanaged? 

Unmanaged Tags Make a Mess

As your website undergoes frequent changes, your analytics and marketing tags can break. A broken tag can take on many forms, such as from a misconfigured rule in your TMS or a conflicting JavaScript library. Regardless of how an error occurs, any error can cause your data accuracy to suffer.

For example, NBCUniversal maintains extensive video content on their digital properties, and they use tags to track user activity among this video content. Occasionally their tracking tags malfunction, leaving NBCUniversal with bad data on how their video content is performing, and their business decisions suffer as a result. 

In order to ensure good business decisions and an optimal user experience, NBCUniversal started using ObservePoint’s Web Journeys to regularly monitor and test their video tags. This ability to regularly monitor video tags has allowed NBCUniversal to stay on top of potential tagging issues, maintain accurate data, and continually provide their users with a top-notch experience. 

Regular monitoring, testing, and maintenance of tags is critical to maintaining data integrity and making good decisions. 

This is where tag governance comes in.

Get It Right with an Effective Tag Governance Solution

In a nutshell, tag governance involves utilizing software to identify potential tagging malfunctions by regularly scanning network requests from a website or app, all with the purpose of optimizing tracking on a website or app. 

For example, perhaps you would like to verify tracking on your website’s most important conversion path (like a booking or checkout path) remains intact while you implement updates to your website. A tag governance solution would allow you to audit and monitor the effectiveness of that path, and its associated tags, with each update you make.

The software aspect here is key, as there are still companies that attempt to evaluate tags manually one by one, day after day. This manual process is labor intensive, and often plagued by human errors.

Eliminate Errors with Automation

Automation via a software-based tag governance solution is where the real value is found, as this automation will allow you to proactively plan, audit, and test your tagging strategy during each stage of website development. 

Automated testing will save you from the headaches that come when you find out your data has been incorrectly collected for extensive periods of time due to unnoticed tagging errors. Automated testing will also free up time and resources, so you and your employees can focus on moving the business forward.

An effective tag governance solution will allow you to use automation to efficiently identify and resolve the issues that come with tagging errors. You will be able to ensure that you’re getting accurate data now and into the future, and above all, properly governing your tags will help you provide your customers with an exceptional online experience.

For more information on how tag governance can take your analytics to the next level, take a look at our Tag Governance Framework eBook. 

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