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What does Google Tag Manager's launch mean for the sector?

What does Google Tag Manager's launch mean for the sector?


Last week Google unveiled its new offering - Google Tag Manager. Although it was a low profile launch it’s a move that has been much talked about the past week with discussions focusing on its merits and impact on existing tag management providers.

So what’s all the buzz about? According to Forrester’s recent report on “Understanding Tag Management Tools and Technology”, page load performance was cited as a top challenge for marketers’ interviewed, whilst one of the top three benefits of a tag management system was the improved flexibility to evaluate and adopt new vendors. And with the UK ecommerce market now accounting for 12% of all retail in the UK and global e-commerce due to hit the €1 trillion mark next year this is an opportune time for Google to enter the space.

On the surface, the launch could be seen as good news for the sector, working to highlight the importance of tag management to businesses.

The difference between good and bad tag management

At TagMan we have seen the rapid growth in the sector both in terms of new entrants as well as marketers seeing the impact that good tag management can have on their business. This was reflected in a recent Forrester report that showed how implementing TagMan provided 128% in ROI.

Google’s tag management system is very much an entry level product – in much the same way that Google Analytics is for the Analytics market, one that was also shaken up by Google’s entry but one where the cream rose to the top, with companies such as Omniture and Webtrends flourishing as Google brought focus to the sector but couldn't produce many of the higher end services or scalability.

We are likely to see a similar trend happening here with Google Tag Manager proving to be useful for non-enterprise, long-tail advertisers with a focus on low-cost, basic offerings. As they are introduced to tag management by Google we foresee a journey as their businesses grow to using an enterprise tag management provider such as TagMan as they look for greater tag service capabilities and large scale data management services that a more basic provider like Google Tag Manager is not able to deliver.

Google Tag Manager concerns

For larger, more established businesses there are also two key concerns which Google Tag Manager raises.

The first is objectivity. By investing greater resources in the Google technology stack, advertisers run the risk of investing in a system that may also be getting the lion’s share of their media spend. Google’s near monopoly in search and its leading position in display makes it an inherently biased source of marketing data and tag support.

The second is the true cost of free. The importance of a foundational technology that powers your ability to optimise, market, and protect the performance of your online business needs to be weighed against the limitations that inherently come with a free product. Free isn't really a benefit if it doesn't solve your major challenges or help drive your business and drives up the opportunity cost.

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Jon Baron

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