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Time for Tag Management Vendors to Grow Up

Published by Eric T. Peterson on December 16, 2013 All posts from Eric T. Peterson

As I have written before, Web Analytics Demystified are big fans of Tag Management Systems, and I believe we are at the point where our entire client base is either on TMS or will be in the very near future. The advantages of TMS, especially when coupled with solid governance and the right resources managing the technology, are so many that we have simply stopped counting, and our most advanced clients are starting to do things with tag management that we’re not sure even the vendors imagined.

Speaking of tag management vendors, sometimes watching the competitive landscape evolve is like watching the entire 10 year evolution of the web analytics sector happen in fast-forward … good, bad, and ugly. Market share is constantly in flux, outside (investor) interest ebbs and flows, prices are falling, employees are moving around, and sadly we are seeing the same snippiness, FUD, and otherwise uncouth behavior that characterized the worst aspects of our industry during the early days.


Fortunately for all involved, many of the TMS vendors have banded together with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and have authored a first-of-its-kind proposed standard for the creation of the digital data layer that forms the foundation of every “best of breed” tag management deployment. The group, chaired by IBM’s Viswanath Srikanth, had 100+ participants and over 50 companies contribute to the creation of the specification which is now available for download via the W3C.

How cool is that?

Built around a common set of definitions and widely used Javascript, the document outlines how data layers can (and should) be built to facilitate the deployment of tag management systems. What’s more, assuming the vendor participants in the W3C working group follow through on their commitment to support this standard, those companies leveraging the W3C work will essentially enable a “plug and play” environment allowing for even greater portability of systems including TMS.

At Web Analytics Demystified we are excited to start leveraging this document in our client work and are looking forward to years of growth in the TMS sector. We never had any kind of standard in the early days of web analytics — the technology didn’t lend itself to it and the competitive landscape would have never let it happen. Hopefully the participation of many of the major vendors and their commitment to support the W3C standard will demonstrate that the aforementioned “snippiness” is just growing pains and the TMS sector will mature as quickly as they emerged.

If you’d like help interpreting the W3C document and deploying tag management on your sites drop me a line, we’d love to hear from you.


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Categorized under Tag Management Systems


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