The essence of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales is getting a lot for a little. While buying in bulk is considered a win for shoppers, having a bulky website is a good way for online retailers to fail during this high-traffic period.

Slimming down your site before the holidays is a tried-and-true method for improving your performance. Third-party tags have frequently been the cause of some of the worst outages during holiday shopping season. As the number of tags that are used on web pages continues to increase exponentially, performance continues to suffer and tag maintenance becomes a nightmare. A tag management system can help address these issues and mitigate the business risks associated with them.

Below is a review of some best practices for implementing and maintaining a tag management strategy to help keep your site afloat this year.

What is a tag?

A tag is a piece of JavaScript code on a web page that allows third-party tracking, analysis, or reporting. Google Analytics, Adobe/Omniture, and Webtrends analytics platforms are some of the more well-known tags, but campaign analytics, audience measurement, personalization, A/B testing, ad-servers, retargeting, and conversion tracking services utilize tags as well.

What is tag management?

A tag management system makes implementing digital marketing and analytics tags easy to manage. It replaces multiple tags with a single container tag and subsequently prioritizes and fires individual tags according to business rules, navigation events, and known data. Google Tag Manager, Ensighten, and Tealium are some of the more widely known tag management systems currently available.

Benefits of tag management

Website performance improvement– Page load times can be significantly reduced with asynchronous tag loading, conditional tag loading, and tag timeout functionality.

Cost savings – The result of de-duplicating tags so valuable marketing and IT resources can be used for other strategic projects.

Simple GUI interface – Marketers can log into the tool to make changes to the tags without requiring code-level access. Most tag management systems have already integrated with ad companies, so you can now just check a box to activate the appropriate tags.

Accelerate campaign time to market – Simplicity allows marketers to launch more revenue-generating campaigns faster and easier.

Safe preview – Tag managers such as Google Tag Manager include a preview mode which allows formatting and security issues to be checked prior to deploying tags to production.

Except for Google Tag Manager (which is free), a tag management system will cost your organization money. Is it worth it, though? For ecommerce and media/entertainment sites, the answer is probably yes—especially during holiday shopping season. A good rule of thumb to follow is to determine if you’re using more than a handful of tags on your site. If the answer is yes, then it’s time to consider a tag management system.

For more tips to help your improve your user experience this holiday shopping season, download our ebook, Your Guide to a Seamless Holiday Ecommerce Shopping Experience.

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