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tag management system

Contributor(s): Mattehw Haughn

A tag management system (TMS) is software that can be used to manage tracking tags used in digital marketing. A tag is a short snippet of code that is added to a URL to collect data for analytics and digital marketing tools. A tag management system makes it possible for marketers and analysts to deploy and manage the tags on their site without relying wholly on IT.

Tags are the special headers on websites, tracking pixels used in advertisements and content that enables web analytics.

TMSs are used by marketers to manage digital marketing tags from various advertising services. TMSs serve to make changes to existing advertising services and between services easier and more agile. The systems manage tags for webpages, videos and apps. Real-time advertising is aided by TMS.

TMSs enable faster page loading performance and less complicated changes with less possible site outages. They allow changes to be made to tags such as trying a new service by simply adding the code snippet to the manager, setting rules and going live with the changes in as little as ten minutes without IT involvement.

Normally, changing from one ad tracking system to another or removing one of a number of used systems takes coordinated teams and the server updates can take weeks to complete. A tag management system replaces the tags used on a page with a container. Along with the tags themselves, the container code is used by tag managers to check rules in the software’s back-end for changes. Organizations looking into tag management should apply tag governance best practices together with a TMS. Website audits, specifically tag audits, are an important part of an effective tag governance strategy.

Top TMS vendors include Google Tag Manager, Tealium, Launch by Adobe, Qubit and Signal.

This was last updated in March 2019

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