Tracking Implementation & Tag Management

There are a lot of platforms that exist to aid businesses and marketers in tracking and understanding user behavior. I have spent my professional career working primarily with Google's and Adobe's analytics platforms though I do have experience working with Snowplow Analytics. In general, I recommend companies use Google Analytics or Google 360 (formerly Analytics Premium) to track users coming to and activities within web and mobile applications.  

Google Analytics Vs Adobe Analytics

For smaller businesses, Google Analytics is a pretty powerful tool that can be used to capture all kinds of useful user data. For larger businesses that can afford Google 360 and have extensive marketing divisions, you just can't beat the attribution modeling of Google. Knowing where your marketing efforts can be optimized is critical to most marketing organizations. 

 

For organizational intranets and internal or proprietary applications, Adobe Analytics (Formerly Omniture) has an ability to create variables and metrics with custom expirations that gives analysts unmatched schema control and a level of user behavior analysis that can help Development Teams, IT teams, and Problem Managers rapidly asses problem areas and deploy updates. 

 

 

Ultimately, the best tracking platform to use of course varies from company to company, and no platform will provide actionable insights if it hasn't been implemented properly. After 10 years of analytics implementations, I can say without a doubt - using a tag manager to deploy tracking codes is the best way to implement.

Tag Management & Implementation

Adobe Tracking Install

1. Add header and footer code to each managed page.

 

2. Add the Adobe Analytics Tool.

 

3. Create data elementsrules and conditions, and actions.

 

4. Publish tools and rules to the production server.

Google Tracking Install

1. Add header and footer code to each managed page.

 

2. Add the Google Analytics Tag.

 

3. Create tags, triggers, & variables

 

4. Publish tags and triggers  to the tag management container

Notice the similarities? That's because tag management is relatively standardized across platforms. The nomenclature changes, but the core is the same. The tag manager code that you install in the header of your application contains JavaScript. That JavaScript is used to insert something called a dataLayer. The marketer or analyst then creates tags that contain other small bits of JavaScript that interact with the dataLayer.

 

These tags can be built-in analytics tags that allow you to send data to your analytics platform, 3rd-Party tags that allow you to send data from your application to an outside platform, or custom tags that allow you to insert HTML, CSS, and JavaScript onto a page of your application.

Each tag requires some rule based trigger to know when to execute its code on the page. These rules can be simple or complex depending on the data you need to collect. For instance, I frequently set rules that look something like this:
 

  • Page URL contains domainA

  • Page URL contains products

  • Product Query String parameter =  shoe123

  • Affiliate Referral Cookie = zappos

This rule allows a tag to initiate for a web page that has the tag manager code installed and has a URL that looks something like https://www.exampledomainA.com/products/?Product=shoe123

The tag will only initiate under those conditions and when a cookie that your domain records called "Affiliate Referral" equals "zappos."

As you can see the rules can get very specific and can be based on 1000's of variables like Page URL, Browser Cookies, DOM Elements interacted with, Link Clicks, Form Submissions, Scroll Depth, Time spent on a page, javascript variables, and even custom events that get "pushed" into the dataLayer when a back end function of your application completes.

DataLayer Management

I've worked with directly with web developers of all frameworks to help them understand how to push data like that seen above into the dataLayer. DataLayer management is an essential key to properly implementing your tracking.

 

It determines when and if valuable user data, and eCommerce data make it to your analytic platforms. It determines if your custom parameters and metrics get captured and sent, if your paid web ads collect relevant data, and has become indispensable in tracking activities in Progressive Web Applications (PWA's) that don't use traditional page loads to render information to users. 

The speed and efficiency it provides to analysts and marketers and the ability to publish updated tracking codes without deployment to your application server makes tag management the very best tracking implementation tool.

Tracking & Tag Management Experience:

Sr. Marketing Analyst • American Safety Council • Orlando, FL

2018 - Present

 

Project & Marketing Director • Giftibly Inc. • Orlando, FL    

 2016 - 2018

Marketing, Service & Corporate Identity Planning • Maximo’s Tapas • Richmond, VA  

2014    

Marketing Director • Savannah Pines • Biloxi, MS 

2011-2014

 

Technical Project Manager • Mississippi IPA • Biloxi, MS   

2013

Clinical Trial Marketing Campaign • Johnson & Johnson • Biloxi, MS   

2012 & 2013

 

Destination Marketing Consultant • Del-Pacifico • Costa Rica  

2011

Marketing Consultant • Assist-2-Sell  

2010