Tags make it possible to collect data analytics, segment your audience, and boost advertising revenue. However, even with the best of intentions, if you’ve got a large website it’s likely that, over time, misconfigured, unauthorized, duplicate, and missing tags will creep in. Fortunately, good tag management governance can help you clean things up and prevent this from happening in the future. In this post, we’ll run you through an ideal framework to manage your analytics.
Tag Governance: What is it?
Like all types of data governance, ‘tag governance’ refers to control, protection, oversight, and strength. However, it centers on ‘tags’ or ‘pixels’ which are the bits of code on websites and mobile apps that collect user data. The data collected by tags is typically required by technology vendors and is a vital resource for digital marketers hungry to know more about their customers. Whilst a Tag Management System (TMS) is centered on tag deployment, tag governance is focused on keeping tags relevant, ensure they are doing what they should do, and preventing security issues.
Fortunately, just as you can use software to help with tag management, you can also use software to help with tag governance. Tag governance software allows you to:
- Scan requests
Tag governance software can be used to scan the network requests being sent between tags, websites, and mobile apps whilst checking for errors. It does this by trawling through network requests that are being sent by your tags, parsing the response, and checking the results against rules you determine. When you can be working with millions of instances of marketing data analytics and tags, these automated scans are vital.
- Work in pre-production
As good as it is to find things that have gone wrong, it’s even better when you can stop them going wrong in the first place. Tag governance software allows you to do just that by allowing you to test tags in a pre-production environment. This way you can fix any bugs before going live with your app or website.
- Build-in best practice
As well as flagging errors, tag governance software allows you to set your own tag rules. This means any tags not meeting these rules can also be flagged up whether or not they are causing any issues picked up in basic network scans.
A framework for governing your marketing tags
An effective framework for tag governance will vary for different businesses. However, there are common threads that will always be integral. Here, we outline what all should include:
- A plan
Too many companies deploy tags but don’t have a roadmap outlining why they are there. A good tag governance framework demands a plan. Unneeded tags cause inefficiency and reduce web and app performance. With a good plan, you can prevent this. Think about what you want the tag to do and why? Good tags should help you segment your customers, convert their interest into sales, and give you a competitive advantage.
- Clear purpose
The tags you use must have a clear purpose. So often people implement tags and analytics to measure everything and everything they can. However, this causes confusion, leads to data overload, and causes inefficiency. If you are scanning for tags, think about why they are there and if there is no clear reason, drop it.
- Control access and rights
In your plan, you need to consider who can add, edit, and remove tags. It is also good practice for publishing rights to be restricted to ensure a proper quality assured process is followed for all new tags and so that someone has oversite over the whole website or app.
- Protect data
Tag governance demands that you take compliance with data privacy seriously. Demonstrating that you are taking seriously because you want to protect customer data, not just because you’re legally required to, is also a way to impress your customers. Tags should not collect things like emails or data that could cause security issues for your customers. Tag governance software can easily be used to scan for any rogue tags doing things that they shouldn’t.
- Test first
As mentioned above, tag governance software makes it possible to test new tags in a pre-production environment. As such, new tagging errors can be caught before they happen with good tag governance. Remember, all the tags you add should be carefully planned.
- Understand Quality Assurance
Quality Assurance (QA) takes testing to the next level and documents the process a tag should go through from conception to implementation. A good QA process will test tags under different conditions helping to prevent unexpected issues arising. It will also help you to remain agile and respond to changing environments.
- Good Documentation
A good tag management framework must have good documentation. Whenever a change is made, or even when changes are rejected, it is useful to document this to help improve efficiency over time. A good workflow diagram can also help to keep everyone on board by clearly laying out any time lag expected between tag conception and tag delivery.
As good as it is to check in the pre-production environment, this doesn’t negate the need to validate the live version. Anyone can make a mistake between planning and implementation and things might behave differently in the live environment. Automated validation, rather than human spot checks, are vital once a new tag is implemented.
Whilst planning is important, we also need to check in to see if what we expected to be a useful tag actually is a useful tag. Monitoring allows you to check if your tags are capturing what you expected and needed. You also need to check for unexpected personal data cropping up in places it shouldn’t do in order to avoid potentially hazardous data security issues. Therefore, periodic scanning is an integral part of any tag governance framework.
As you can see, good tag governance requires careful planning. However, with governance software able to scan millions of data analytics and tags you can quickly get on top of any current issues. With effective planning, you can also prevent issues arising in the future.