Why "Universal Tags" are not "Tag Management Systems"

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The idea of a universal tag sounds very compelling. Indeed, given the current state of tag management—the complexities, costs and delays—anything that promises to address these challenges is worth a look. But what exactly is a universal tag and how does it differ from a real tag management system?

Henry Ford once said “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said ‘a faster horse’.” Today’s universal tags are a ‘faster horse,’ not a breakthrough innovation in tag management.

With a universal tag you create one common way of describing all of the events that occur on your website or application, program this taxonomy for each page with the variables needed, collect that data and “translate” it for each of your various vendors, and then send the information to the appropriate vendors in the format they require. While it does help reduce complexities a bit, there are some major challenges that remain. First, the initial deployment for a solution like this can be quite complex. In addition, some of your vendor solutions might not be “integrated” with the system or be limited in their functionality by the system. Finally, any additions, modifications, or changes to the taxonomy itself still have to be performed manually by changing the code on the pages.

Ensighten takes a fundamentally different approach, and the result isn’t “a faster horse,” but a true innovation. It’s a tag management system that can be fully operational across all of your sites, including Flash applications, within days. The difference is that instead of relying on a specific hand coded taxonomy or “universal tag,” your vendor tags are deployed completely natively and managed through the Ensighten interface. It’s similar to how a content management system deploys and manages content. And because you no longer have to rely on IT or agencies for tag-related projects, you gain incredible new abilities. You can co-deploy and test a new web analytics solution before lunch, change the data that’s collected by your web analytics system within a few minutes, or remove a paid vendor’s code with a few clicks.

A true tag management solution also should not collect data itself or have to perform any “translation.” With Ensighten, the data goes straight to the appropriate vendors using their syntax. It not only alleviates security issues and ensures optimal performance of the tools, but it eliminates the need to set up integration with each vendor.

In your world, is a horse of any speed the right solution for you? A true tag management system frees you from horse-and-buggy-like tag management hassles, and empowers you to invest your resources into analyzing and acting on your data. Check out our new Whitepaper “The Myth of the Universal Tag” written in partnership with Eric Peterson of Web Analytics Demystified and get ready to see tag management in a whole new light.