Archive for Tag Management Tools

Hit and Run and a belated Happy New Year

So, today is the first day of daylight saving time (DST) here in the U.S. and it’s also the occasion of my first post of 2015. So, belated Happy New Year to you all, and here’s a heads up that this post will be a hit and run listing of links I want to keep track of. You may find some of them useful too.

First off is Omniture for Beginners by Tom Capper at Distilled. At the very end of the post is a table which will help guide folks accustomed to Google Analytics as they get started with Adobe Analytics. That table is the reason I kept this post around. I’m sure it will come in handy as I train and teach others in the future.

Next is a post by Stuart Roskelley at his blog, “How to Dissect a Vendor Script”. His blog is aptly called “The Hidden Layer” and it deals with modern approaches to web analytics using tag managers, DOM scraping, etc. I found the post relevant because I’ve spent a lot of time recently shoehorning vendor tags into tag management and making all the tags play together nicely. I do have to admit that some of the problems I’ve encountered were self-inflicted, but that’s how I learn. Breaking and fixing.

Until next time, ‘keep on trackin‘! *
    *(With apologies to Dan Fredeen)

ATM 2.0 swan song

With apologies for not posting any blogs since May, I’ll just dive right in. At long last, I received an email from Adobe announcing that its legacy tag management tool, Adobe Tag Manager 2.0 (ATM) would be phased out beginning in August 2015. Originally most of us had read that December 2014 would be the sunset date, but since only recently have we been informed about old versions of Report Builder being phased out in January 2015, I figured ATM still had some time left. And so it does, thankfully.

ATM 2.0 served me well allowing me to build a fantastic SiteCatalyst implementation on a hosted system where I couldn’t make programming changes for web analytics just any time I felt like. It also allowed us to establish control over 3rd party vendor tags, and in general, ATM got me to learn jQuery (and about time!).

So, thanks Adobe, for making ATM available a while longer… and thanks especially for bringing Satellite into your product mix as Dynamic Tag Management (DTM) which will be the successor to ATM.

On to the really important dates:
We’ll be able to edit ATM tags and containers until August 1, 2015, and by October 1, 2015, ATM will no longer function. This allows plenty of time to move onto DTM as soon as possible. This way we can complete peak season comfortably this year, then move on to the next generation of tag management.

Looking forward to your comments and ideas…

Recently I completed an initial implementation of Google Tag Manager on VPASP version 7.0 shopping cart, and I’m about to begin another implementation.  It wasn’t terribly difficult, but it was a little tricky to get the ecommerce integration set up properly and I implemented a DataLayer within VPASP’s order confirmation page logic to make it all work.  Please send me a comment or contact form if you’d like more info about GTM and VPASP.  (honestly I was surprised  not to find any other writeups on the topic)

More insight into Adobe Dynamic Tag Management

This week’s Adobe Digital Marketing Blog post for Analytics offers insight into Adobe’s plans for Dynamic Tag Management (the recently acquired Satellite tool). I found it most interesting that in 2014 it will support a formal integration of Google’s Universal Analytics, as well the possibility of DTM being made available publicly, not just to Adobe customers. I only wish there were more documentation, samples and other education about this fantastic tool available now.

Improving the Data Layer for web analytics

At last, the good articles about creating and maintaining a web analytics Data Layer for tag management are coming to light. Josh West at Web Analytics Demystified has written an article entitled “Getting the Data Layer Right” and while it does not mention any specific tag management system (TMS), it builds the case for making careful choices when setting up a data layer and reasons for using a data layer rather than relying on query strings or accessing DOM elements directly.

I became aware of Josh’s post when an email arrived from Jan Exner’s Web Analytics for Developers blog, and it contained his commentary ‘”Data Layer” Tips’ which provides additional guidance more closely related to using Adobe SiteCatalyst/Adobe Analytics. This is primarily because he mentions using Processing Rules and Context Variables and s_code.

Enjoy these articles and enjoy the benefits of implementing a data layer for your current or next web analytics project!

Unlocking the Data Layer for web analytics

The LunaMetrics blog has a great writeup about the web analytics data layer aimed at non-techies. Actually, it’s perfect for techies as well. The vibe that I’m picking up so far is that many folks aren’t using a data layer in their web analytics implementations just yet. But once you master the data layer concept, it opens many new capabilities in web analytics data capture, especially when using a tag management tool.

I initially read about the data layer with regards to Google Tag Manager, and it seemed odd to me that more advanced web analytics tools such as Adobe Analytics and Webtrends weren’t using this method to facilitate data collection. Turns out that some SiteCatalyst implementations had already used this technique, but few people had written publicly about it. (Why?) Recently I used a data layer on my first Adobe Tag Manager implementation and I found it was the best decision I’d ever made since I learned how to configure a hybrid Webtrends data collection setup back in 2006.

So, the idea behind the data layer is that on the server-side the web developer will expose some data elements in a JSON-formatted block of JavaScript and then your tag management container will be able to pick up those data elements and propagate the data throughout the other tags in the container. Determining which data elements requires some forethought. In many cases, we’re referring to passing along ecommerce-related data elements here, such as tracking data, order totals, transaction numbers, product prices, tax, etc. Many other data elements can be picked up with existing web analytics data capture techniques.

So, take a look at the two links above, and feel free to leave a comment below and share your thoughts and questions. As for me, my next mini-project is to implement Google Tag Manager with a data layer on a VPASP ecommerce site. I will pass along my experience with this project in future posts.

Tag Mangement Shootout

Like most shootouts, all tag management players aren’t included, mainly because its about free TM tools, but it’s still a good read: Comparing Three Free Tag Managers: Google Tag Manager, Qubit Open Tag, and DC Storm Tag Manager

In fairness, Adobe Tag Manager and Adobe’s new Dynamic Tag Management (DTM) tools are free but getting access to them is not free because to get them you’ve got to be running Adobe Analytics, which is a paid web analytics platform.

Meanwhile, Tealium is a premier-level tag management tool for web analytics and it is most definitely not free. If you get a demo, you’ll understand why its not free. Read more about Tealium in this detailed blog post.

Once you make the switch to using tag management, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. I look forward to your questions and feedback about tag manager usage and practices!

I just came across this handy code generator created by Alex Moore at Lunametrics. It will help you to understand link tracking with jQuery and event tracking with Google Analytics. But I’ve used it to help me nail down some tracking with SiteCatalyst (Adobe Analytics) a/k/a Omniture. I simply removed the _gaq.push line and substituted a call to, such as:,'o',$(this).attr("href")); .

Read the comments and you’ll learn about using the code generated by this tool within Google Tag Manager. Thanks Alex and Lunametrics for making this online tool available publicly!

Adobe Tag Manager: Debug without CDN delay

One particularly attractive benefit of using Adobe Tag Manager is that it comes with a worldwide content distribution network (CDN) so you don’t have to worry about cache or load speed issues as you develop your custom tagging. However, when you’re in debug mode you might not enjoy waiting on the CDN to propagate your latest tagging updates before restarting your test process.

The good news is that you don’t have to wait. You can take out the code and host it locally for debugging purposes and quick turnaround. Like the idea? Follow the instructions at this Tag Manager post on Adobe’s blog to speed up the debug process, then paste your newly tested code back into ATM and deploy!

If you’re looking to get started with Adobe Tag Manager, this quick start video will give you some insight. Adobe has mentioned that ATM may go away by the end of 2014, but ATM is still super-useful for the time being, especially if you’re migrating away from implementing SiteCatalyst the ‘old fashioned way’.

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