Lets face it, enterprises are just not as agile as smaller organisations, hence the reason for wanting a Tag Management Solution (TMS) in the first place.

Therefore, it is critical that enterprises avoid potential pitfalls when selecting the right solution.

We have put together our top eight pitfalls to avoid when selecting a TMS. 

1. Is it future proof? 

Ensure the product will work with all existing tags and planned future tags

During the TMS selection process it is important to test and validate that the product can support all the existing tags running on your website and any future planned tags. A TMS is a technology enabler and should continue to grow with your organisation.

Ensure this happens by looking at the frequency of the product releases and the strength of the engineering team behind it. Take the time to question the vendor about their product roadmap and look back at the development of the product over time. By doing this you are future proofing your organisation and ensuring you select a TMS that will keep delivering

2. Can they support you? 

Ensure the technical support and account management is enterprise ready

As with all B2B technology the quality of the technical support and account management is as important as the technology. Ensure you understand the level of support you will require as an organisation and that the vendor can meet your requirements.

It is critical to understand the hours of telephone support, email and live chat, as well as the safeguards that have been put in place to cover seasonal trading periods. 

3. Check references

Reference clients and case studies from your industry are critical to understanding successful deployment stories

It is unlikely a vendor will tell you the horror stories about their product deployments. However, a good TMS vendor should be able to provide you with case studies and reference clients from your industry.

Scrutinise case studies and talk to your network to gain a fair perspective on the vendor and product. Look past the marketing claims and interrogate the client about the benefits of their solution.

If you get the opportunity, ask reference clients questions about how successful the product has been for them, the implementation process, ROI achieved and any bad experiences. In addition, use your own network to try and validate views by reviewing the existing clients section on the vendor’s website.

4. Take a test drive 

Get the vendor to agree to a proof of concept or sign-up yourself.

Some vendors will have a self-service version you can sign-up to without being tied into an annual contract. If this an option, use this to trial the product and if it isn’t then a proof of concept or trial period would suffice.

Doing this will give you the time to evaluate the technical and marketing claims as well as the user interface. Use your UAT or staging environment to rigorously assess the running of all your existing tags and give your marketers and developers enough time to validate the efficiency improvements and any technical performance improvements. 

It is critical to make sure you understand the staging to production workflow. One of the most important aspects of Tag Management Systems is the efficiency gain between your marketing and technology teams.

The manifestation of this is marketers being allowed to rapidly test tags on your staging environment without the need for the engineers to get involved, and the engineers to be able to quickly move a tested tag to the production environment in less than three clicks. Ask the vendor how they support this workflow and what checks and balances are in place to ensure nothing can break the site.

5. Is the Universe in your hand? 

Ensure the TMS is a ‘Universal’ tag management solution

In the early days of Tag Management the idea of a universal tag didn’t exist, you would simply run your tags discretely through the container tag. There would be no sharing of data between them, you would have to configure them all individually.

Then along came ‘Universal Tags’ this advancement allows you to create a single data model where you could share data across all your tags, effectively allowing them to talk to each other and your platform in a common language. 

On average enterprises sites are running between 15 and 30 technologies, and this technology goes in and out of fashion quicker than most development release cycles. Enterprises can overcome this by selecting a TMS that uses a ‘universal’ tag, which will ensure that they are not locked into long term contracts, and can free up their data collection.

6. Stay fresh and relevant 

Ensure your TMS has the latest features and the updates planned our aligned with your requirements

Ensure the system has support for the new EU cookie directive. On May 26th this year, the European Union introduced a new cookie directive for all websites. The directive says that users must ‘consent’ to allowing Cookies permission to track their data.

This is potentially the most significant web development in the last five years, and could handicap websites in their ability to deliver personalised and relevant content. Many tag management systems include a platform for you to obtain consent from your users around how your data is stored and shared with third parties.

7 Only pay for what you need 

Ensure your TMS can handle de-duplication across your paid marketing channels. Having the ability to control which marketing channels are responsible for which sales are vital to online businesses for measuring the return on investment from marketing activity.

One of the main requirements is the ability to fire only one Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) conversion tag when a sale is made. CPA commission rates are typically set in a competitive environment and often represent a percentage of the total sale value.  

If there are multiple CPA parties or channels driving traffic, businesses run the risk of double-paying for each sale. To avoid this situation, ensure your solution allows businesses to set rules which decide which CPA channel should be awarded the commission. 

8. Do the numbers 

Ensure the business case for a Tag Management Solution stacks up for your organisation 

You should be able to prove that the economics behind using a Tag Management solution will increase the efficiency of your marketing and development teams.

The levers you should be including in your business case will include cost saving efficiencies from both development and marketing teams being able to focus on more higher value activities and cost savings from Cost Per Acquisitions de-duplication across paid media channels.

In Summary

Your Tag Management System is soon going to be as important as your CMS so it is essential you start planning now. Currently only a small percentage of enterprise businesses are taking advantage of Tag Management.

As websites get more complex and more pressure is placed on them, then the sites that are the most nimble and high performing will be the ones that succeed. 

For more information about how to find the right tag management provider, see Econsultancy’s Tag Management Buyer’s Guide.