The following is a guest post from GACP Michael Loban, CMO at InfoTrust.
The quality of the website analytics data we have is directly related to the tag management processes adopted by an organization. Most likely, you can remember days when the following incidents may have occurred:
- You find that one (or several) of the pages on your site is missing Google Analytics, or some pages had Google Analytics deployed twice causing duplicate pageviews and inflating traffic.
- Google Analytics custom variables were inconsistent or missing on some portions of the site, leading to data quality issues.
- An unauthorized marketing tag was piggybacking off of another tag.
- One of the tags on an international site you managed did not follow the new EU Cookie Laws related to privacy.
Adopting a Tag Management System like Google Tag Manager is a great way to go, but having a great tool to organize and deploy your tags is often not enough. You still need a system, a process, and ongoing review. Here are the steps for creating a tag management policy for your company:
1. Know where you are – what tags are currently firing, where and how? Whether you have a small site with a few hundred pages or an international publication with thousands of pages, it is important to assess your current tag deployment.
Can you say, with 100% confidence, that your analytics tag are located on every page? Are you sure the cookies set by your analytics tag/tool are accurate and not over-writing each other?
Regardless of whether you are confident or not, I suggest using a tool like TagInspector.com (Tag Inspector is an InfoTrust product). It will help you locate:
- All the tags on your site, split up by specific pages’ tags, and even pages they are missing from.
- Cookies set by various tags and what pages they are set on.
- How the tag is deployed – through a tag management system or directly from a page source.
- Instances of tag piggybacking – one tag being loaded by another tag.
Here is a screenshot from an example scan. It shows how tags load (commonly referred to as tag hierarchy). We have removed the website URL, but as you can see there are instances when Google Analytics is being loaded by the TMS, and instances where Google Analytics is being loaded directly from the source of the page.
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