Ian McCaig, marketing and strategy director, QuBit.
Google’s launch of a tag management product is its latest in a history of attempts to commoditise aspects of web analytics and site management. Its last experiment, Google Analytics (GA), has changed the face of that market so what does Google Tag Manager mean for marketers?
The comparison with GA is instructive. It brought analytics into the mainstream but did it kill the analytics industry? Not at all - it broadened the applicability of analytics and made it more accessible. Yes, some of the SME products suffered but a number of enterprise services blossomed by focusing on the enterprise features that GA couldn’t provide.
We predict the same for tag management. Google Tag Manager is going to kick-start the mainstream adoption of tag management at all levels and that’s definitely a good thing. Enterprise tag management is still a major opportunity and it’s a market that Google is unlikely to serve.
At the moment, less than 5% of the top 10,000 websites are using tag management, so it’s a less developed space than analytics was prior to the introduction of GA. Google’s arrival can only stimulate this interest for the benefit of marketers and tag management providers alike.
Google Tag Manager is a great product for smaller companies or those with limited web resources. It will help people track their Google campaigns more effectively and it will make it easier to implement Google technologies. More importantly, it will introduce the concept of tag management to a whole new audience, many of whom will quickly realise that their particular requirements need an enterprise product offering more than can be gained through the Google service.
So, what is it that a company should look for in a tag management solution – if Google’s Tag Manager isn’t for you – what is it that makes an enterprise service stand out?
The first thing should be great service. Tag Manager is, like GA, essentially a support and service-free zone, which will be fine for smaller businesses or those with advanced web marketing teams. However, for the majority of businesses we reckon support remains a key factor.
The next is a good product. A tag management solution (TMS) should be flexible and easy to use. Past experience of Google’s products suggests that Google Tag Manager will fulfil these criteria and so the enterprise end of the market will have to match or exceed this to thrive. More importantly, an enterprise TMS should have an extensive tag library and should integrate with trusted third party applications.
A good enterprise TMS should also do more than just manage marketing tags. It should offer additional features like CPA de-duplication and privacy management. In addition, as more websites turn to onsite widgets for personalisation, it should support not just marketing and analytics tags but web apps as well.
Lock-in is also going to become a major question. Whether it’s a contractual lock-in or a technical one, Google Tag Manager is going to make people take a look at their system and its openness to data transfer.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly for marketers and the industry, Google Tag Manager is going to have a fundamental impact on pricing. Free is a hard price tag to compete with and vendors who charge thousands of pounds a month for standard products are going to find themselves in a difficult position.
In summary, Google Tag Manager is good news for marketers. For SMEs it’s going to provide an easy-to-use service that will help them with their Google campaigns. For enterprises the benefit will be in integrating Google tracking technologies with ease, but it’s not going to meet all of their requirements. However, there’s no question that, across the market, it’s going to highlight the benefits that tag management can bring.