Recent research put together by Econsultancy, in association with Tealium, reported that 88% of marketers believe digital marketing complexity will only increase. Tags (snippets of code) are essential to digital marketing to help personalize, target, track, analyze, and report on data/performance. Tags are used in all areas of digital marketing from website analytics to display advertising tracking. Tag management systems (TMS) and container tag technology are often talked about as benefits to sites/publishers to help them deploy and manage tags on their websites. In the same report referred to earlier, 73% of TMS users say these systems help them reduce costs.
Ad tagging (tagging of banner, rich media, video ads) is equally as prevalent in the digital marketing world as site tagging. Many data collection and research groups rely on tagging ads in ad servers. As a colleague of mine discusses in a related blog post, just like with tag management systems, efficiencies have been built for this tagging process by companies like Safecount that track approximately 300 million impressions per day across thousands of creative. This Universal Tag integration with over a dozen ad servers enables tracking many assets with one tag. The efficiencies that this creates saves 15% of the overall project set up time and cuts down tag related errors by 25%.
Imagine a (common) scenario where there are 10 websites on a digital media plan and 3 different creative concepts. Each site would be running a few different ad sizes and there could be a pre-roll video placement in the campaign as well. In total, this could mean the research vendor would need to manually create 100 unique tags which agency and publisher traffickers would then need to implement. With Universal Tag, this could all boil down to one or two simple tags implemented in the relevant ad servers with a very simple API process run.
Ad operations is an often overlooked part of the digital marketing world but it is so crucial to the successful execution and measurement of advertising efforts. As an industry, we should be doing as much as we can to make these processes as easy and efficient as possible. And especially for those of us in the research world, we should be adding as little extra work as possible into the mix.