Tags…whether you realize it or not, you probably hear this expression all the time. Marketing tags, web tags, website tags…these generally all refer to a small piece of code, or a pixel placed on a website to allow the collection of information about the user, hardware and on-site behavior.
Tags are powerful and widespread in their installation, but unfortunately, most dealerships are a lot less diligent in our removal of these data syphons, slowing down their site and possibly giving away valuable business information to an old partner, or even worse, someone who’s now working with a competitor.
Tags can affect performance by requiring external connections – each requiring the browser to make requests and await answers, and sometimes even blocking page rendering based on their placement. Needless to say, removing excess tags can speed up a website as well as preventing external data loss.
The good news is doing a Tag Audit starts as simple as WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, HOW.
WHO are my current vendors?
Gather contact information for all of them, and prepare to send them an email asking them the following questions:
WHAT tags are currently on my website from your company?
For example, do you have an analytics tag? A remarketing tag?
WHEN did we install the tag on our site?
This important data piece can highlight performance issues, misconfigurations in reporting,
WHERE on my website is the tag placed?
Is it on every page? Just on confirmation pages? Where is the data being sent, and can it send events to my analytics?
WHY are we using this tag?
What business purpose does it serve for the services I am paying you for?
And finally, HOW are you loading this tag?
Are you using a Tag Manager? Are tags placed in the source code?
So, what’s the first step you should be taking to best manage your tags? You can start by sending a support Ticket to your website vendor asking for a list of all Tags they see on your site. If possible, ask if they can provide the date and ticket associated with their installation.
Compare these lists to see if you have any tags that appear to be old, out of date, or any that are from vendors you no longer work with. If you can verify the tags are no longer needed, create a ticket to have them removed, and annotate your removal date in your annotations.
Finally, using a tool like Ghostery, Google tag assistant, or taginspector.com see what marketing tags you can see fire on your website. After validating and verifying you know the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW of all those tags, you now have your new baseline.
And here’s a Pro Tip: It’s always a good idea to check your all your pages after removing tags, as well as checking your page speed, and console errors.
Always ensure your provider has a way to roll back changes you make. It’s also a good idea to check with your providers after your tag removals to ensure their products all work as anticipated.