Tag Management Systems

Tag Management System

A tag is a small piece of code on a website that is designed to fire under specific conditions. When it does, it gathers information from the user’s browser and/or session, sends it to a server and, commonly, a cookie is returned to the user based upon the data given.

The idea of tags is to customize the customer service experience and to improve it overall, leading to better performance for the website. Another important purpose of tags is to gather analytics data that can be used to analyze the performance of a website, the number of visitors and all of the other information typically gathered by these programs, allowing marketing departments great insight into how their site is appealing or not appealing to visitors and how it might be improved in the event that there is an issue.

What Is a Tag Management System?

A tag management system is designed to standardize and streamline the process of adding, deleting and controlling website tags. The tags are actually code and, if they’re constructed improperly, they can cause performance problems with the websites that they’re used on or mess up the layout of the webpage.

Tag management systems generally take all of the tags from a website and consolidate them into one container, which facilitates the easier management. They also ensure that there is a testing environment for the tags, so they can be checked out before they are deployed on the website, where they could potentially cause problems if they are incorrectly constructed. This, of course, also helps to keep harmony between the various departments responsible for maintaining the website – marketing and IT, specifically – in that marketers don’t end up putting bad code on the site and the site performance doesn’t suffer as a result of it.

There are several different options for tag managers, some free, some paid. These options have their advantages and disadvantages. As more websites have begun using tags, however, it’s become necessary to provide a way for them to manage them efficiently so that they perform as expected.

Some tag management systems can also improve a company’s ability to govern how information gathered from their visitors is used by third parties. By implementing rules across several different tags, it’s easier to keep consistent in this and other regards, ensuring that the company has a better understanding of exactly how the various tags are functioning on their site and why.

Some of these tag management systems allow the visitors to the site to make their own decisions about how much of their information is shared, which is a very important part of web privacy and, increasingly, the component of web privacy that is being regulated and that surfers are demanding be regulated. These tag management systems allow users to opt out of being trapped or having their information shared.

What Are the Benefits of a Tag Management System?

A tag management system offers several benefits.

For website programmers, one of the biggest frustrations is when people who aren’t necessarily programmers themselves start adding content, such as tags, to a website. While most websites have simple interfaces that allow users to add articles, images and so forth, once it gets to the programming level, those users who might be completely qualified to updated pages and so produce broken code that causes more harm than good.

The more tags are added to a page, the slower the page might perform. The tag management systems make it easier to avoid putting redundant tags on site or tags that don’t actually belong on the page where it is installed.

The management system also makes it easy to edit and delete tags. This streamlines the process of getting rid of tags that are outdated. On the other end, when new tags are deployed, they can be easily inserted into web pages, saving work and the risk of errors resulting from the manual addition of the tags to the page.

The smooth integration with analytics programs ensures that the data that is gathered from customers is put to the best and most constructive use possible. A significant portion of the reason why tags are up on websites in the first place is simply to track customer behavior. By standardizing the method, by which tags are deployed, edited, tested and so forth, the most accurate gathering of customer data can be insured and it can be done without unnecessary slowdowns on the site.

How Does a Tag Management System Work?

Tag management systems generally have a container that holds all the tags on the site. From a backend control panel, users can add tags to the site or remove them. They can also edit them and create new tags without having to worry about errors putting them up on the page.

This allows the tags to be inserted correctly by people who might not be programmers themselves, as well, which can stop problems from erupting between IT departments and other departments—such as marketing—which may have a need to put tags on pages.

The tags can easily be corrected across a site if they are improper, which reduces the chances that tags won’t fire and that whatever information they were supposed to send won’t be received.

What Are the Main Features of Tag Management Systems?

Tag management systems, as one of their important features, eliminate the need for people installing tags to work directly on the site code. This can stop myriad problems from ever happening and is one of the most significant reasons that companies are adopting these technologies.

The tag manager will ensure that the right tags are delivered to the user. They do this by way of a set of rules. When one of the criteria for serving a tag is met, it will be sent to the page, then to the user’s browser and the information desired will be gathered.

For marketing purposes, these systems allow data collection to be done more defiantly and more reliably. When tags are incorrectly created and fail to fire, the data is lost. Because many of these tags connect directly to analytics software, this may mean that the company doesn’t get vital information about visitor habits that could help it to better target its advertising programs and other efforts.

How to Implement a Tag Management System on Your Site?

The biggest task that goes along with implementing a tag management system is migrating all of the existing tags over to the new system. Depending upon the amount of tags that are already in use on the site, this could take a while. After this step is completed, however, utilizing the system generally eliminates the need to ever go through this sort of a process again.

The tags are taken from the site and migrated into the new tag management system. After this is done, the tag management system can be used to create, edit and deploy new tags as needed and the work doesn’t need to be done manually after that point.

Which Tag Management Systems Are available?

Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager is completely free of charge and, of course, integrates seamlessly with Google’s other features. It performs many of the same functions as paid solutions performed, such as allowing the user to define tag firing rules, allowing the user to create and edit tags and providing a way to migrate existing tags into the system.

Google Tag Manager also has a preview mode built into it that provides an error checking service to ensure that any new tags being introduced onto a site are created and function properly.

Despite the fact that this tag manager offers everything the paid solutions offer and can function at an enterprise level of performance, it is completely free of charge at present.

Adobe Tag Manager

Adobe Tag Management features rule driven data collection, an interface that is designed to focus on the website itself rather than on the tags and several other features that make it an enterprise-level solution.

Adobe Tag management has collaborative tools built into it, which make it easier for departments to work with one another in creating and deploying tags. It also allows large enterprises to manage the tag schemes on several different sites from one interface, which streamlines workflow.

Adobe has a quick implementation process for this solution and makes it very easy to deploy tags across multiple sites or an entire system. Like Google Tag Manager, tags can be tested before they are deployed to ensure that they work properly.

Adobe’s solution also allows the user to trigger many different tags at once based on a specific criteria. This eliminates the need to create individual rules for each tag and streamlines the firing process.


Tealilum iQ is an enterprise-level tag management system and one of the leaders in this industry. The system allows individuals who aren’t necessarily programmers to accurately and easily implement and deploy tags. The system is designed to make the process as point and click as possible, vastly reducing the technical knowledge required to work with this important element of a website.

The Tealium tag management system is designed to be highly scalable. It also makes it easier for businesses to implement their own tags, cutting down the amount of time required to deal with third parties in getting tags implemented.

This solution also comes with sophisticated testing equipment that allows users to get a very fast and easy to understand overview of all the different tags on their site and whether or not they are functioning correctly. Where the function is concerned, the program is also designed to reduce the amount of tag firing, increasing the efficiency of the site.

How Do the Various Tag Management Systems Compare?

The biggest difference between the various tag management systems available on the market is, quite simply, that Google offers a free solution while the other solutions require payment.

Tealium has, perhaps, the simplest interface of all of the various solutions available. It has been designed specifically with nonprogrammers in mind and, because of that, it could make it much easier for marketing departments to work on tagging systems without running into trouble with the IT department when the code on the website gets broken.

Google’s tag management system offers the notable benefit of coming at no cost and having tremendous scalability. It can also work partially, should a particular user want to put only some of the tags on their site into the system and to leave the others independent of it. One of the more attractive elements of the Google tag management system is the company’s reputation for innovating, which holds the promise that improvements may be coming at a regular basis.

Adobe comes with a very well established and well-regarded brand name and has features that make it very easy to manage tags. Everything is condensed into one container and it’s extremely easy to create rules for groups of tags.

Overall, these programs have a great deal in common. The process of tag management is, of course, the ultimate goal of all of these solutions, which means many of the features on them are relatively similar. Tealium is a well-established brand in the tag management field, and they do have a many clients and have managed to accommodate content delivery networks, ensuring that, no matter where a page is served from or an element is served from, the tag is fired properly. Which tag management solution is right for any business will likely depend upon the amount of investment the business wants to make into the endeavor and whether or not they need a particularly complex system or a system that is designed to be as easy as possible for people who don’t have a great deal of technical ability. Anyone of these solutions makes it possible to resolve some of the most common issues between programming departments and marketing departments, who have to work in tandem on marketing efforts, but who may have very different concerns and be somewhat territorial toward elements