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So What? Google Tag Manager

So What? Marketing Analytics and Insights Live

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In this week’s episode of So What? we focus on Google Tan Manager. We walk through the purpose of Google Tag Manager and how to get set up with proper governance. Catch the replay here:

So What? Google Tag Manager

In this episode you’ll learn: 

  • What Tag Manager governance features exist
  • Why they should be turned on
  • What to do to ensure ongoing good maintenance and health

Upcoming Episodes:

  • Applied Data Science in Marketing 2/10/2022

Have a question or topic you’d like to see us cover? Reach out here:

AI-Generated Transcript:

Katie Robbert 0:25
Well, hey everyone, Happy Thursday. Welcome to February of 2022. This is so what the marketing analytics and insights live show. I’m Katie joined by Chris and John. This week, we are talking about Google Tag Manager. Now this is one of the topics that I personally enjoy revisiting over and over and over again, because I feel like at least for me, no matter how many times I am in the system, or I’ve taken the, you know, Google training courses, Google Tag Manager is one of those systems that still eludes me in terms of me feeling like I’m an expert in it. And so but it’s so important to setting up your analytics correctly, especially moving from Google Analytics, three to Google, Google Analytics, pour it easy for me to say. So today, we’re going to start with, you know, we’re going to review some of the basic principles that you should have in place with your Google Tag Manager account such as what governance features exist, governance is an important part of it, why they should be turned on and what to do to ensure ongoing good maintenance and health. So really, sort of the overall maintenance of your tech Manager account. So Chris, Google Tag Manager, where do you want to start?

Christopher Penn 1:44
Well, I think it today, since constantly operating in a state of the cobblers kids have no shoes and walking around a bloody stumps, I think I’d take a look at my Tag Manager account. And we can go through the things that if this was a paying customer, we’d want to do we want to see in place stuff that we have look for, and things that we might make some changes. Now, obviously, this is my personal website, I’m also not terribly concerned, if we just break a bunch of things. No one, no one’s gonna miss it. So we’re specifically talking about governance today, governance is all about making sure you know who’s doing what, making sure that you know who did what, and there are some really good features built into Tag Manager. But I think a lot of people probably don’t use them. So the first place I want to start is sort of at the account level. Especially if you’re at a company, if you’re giving access to your Tag Manager account, there’s a bunch of things you should do. So let’s go into to admin here. And we see two different things, you’ll see accounts and containers account is the whole of, you know, whatever is tied to my login, I can have one account with a bunch of containers for different websites, I can’t have a bunch of accounts, I shouldn’t have a bunch of accounts, it’s not a good idea. First thing we always suggest to people look at your account settings, and your account activity. So let’s go ahead and go into account settings here. Make sure that you have turned on two step verification. If you don’t have two step verification on, you’re doing it wrong. There’s there’s no way around that, because you don’t want other people into inside your account. The second thing is to look at your account activity. When you dig in here, you should be looking at, well, who’s in here? What have they been doing? Right? If you see activities that seem weird or spurious, that’s a clear sign, you may need to do a lot more digging, but at the very least, make sure that the account activity looks good. And then the big one, account permissions, who is permitted to see your Tag Manager account? Alright, so in this case, again, this is my personal website. So it should only be me if there’s anybody else in here, I would be a little bit actually a lot concerned because just a bunch of things that I would maybe wouldn’t want people to have access to to make changes. Remember that Tag Manager can make physical changes to your website. So you want to be really careful who gets access to stuff. Generally speaking, if you’re going to give access to somebody to your account, do it at the container level, rather than the account level because they can just so that they’re sandboxed into how much damage they can do.

Katie Robbert 4:34
No, I have a question, Chris. With this. I know a lot of systems have notifications built in. So is this one of those systems where you as the owner or an admin can get notified as people are making changes. Let’s say you had Trust Insights or other agencies in here. Could you set that

Christopher Penn 4:54
up? You’re jumping ahead. Let’s be Thursday. Let’s be Thursday. After you’ve looked at the account level, then the next thing to do is to look at the container level. So the container is that piece of code that goes on your website. And the question here is what things are should be on it. You can see I’ve got it, my container set for the web, you can have containers for iOS apps for Android apps, things like that. But for me, I’ve got this website. And the big one is this one that people have not gone in and change on their Tag Manager account, you need to make sure that your consent overview is turned on, because that allows you to manage consent, manage what permissions are needed for a tag to fire. So always turn this on unless you have been told by your legal team not to. If your legal team has told you not to, you probably want to, like start updating your LinkedIn profile because they’re doing something shady.

Katie Robbert 5:49
Before you move on from that, Chris, I guess one of my questions, I think that I never realized until I started going through these systems with you that a legal team should be involved with setting up some of these data collection systems, like when we’re talking about it now. It’s like, oh, Duh, of course. But do you think that it’s common knowledge amongst the marketing industry that as you’re setting up these data collection systems, there are things that you might want to involve a legal team with,

Christopher Penn 6:17
it’s not common knowledge. And the worst thing about that is that an unsuspecting marketer may just go ahead and check us on a bunch of stuff. And now you have signed a legal agreement with Google on behalf of your company, that you have acknowledged the data processing agreement that you’ve agreed to Google’s data collection practices, that you have agreed to handle customer requests for a right to be forgotten, and, you know, GDPR, compliance and stuff like that. So be real careful about what you click agreed on, because these agreements are legally binding. And they are binding not on just on you, but on behalf of your company. So if you like Oh, I’m just gonna let my you know, 19 year old college student, you know, cousin, administer my Google account, they may be signing you up for things that you are now legally liable for.

Katie Robbert 7:11
I think he’s talking to you, John.

John Wall 7:13
I’ve never stumbled through or read any of the agreements. So I’m sure I’m not in a trouble.

Christopher Penn 7:21
As with the account level, you want to look in the container level, see what changes being made at the at the container level, to, we generally tell people as a best practice, look, look every quarter. Same thing with user management, make sure there’s nobody in here that shouldn’t be in here. The next thing is, you may want to set up have like approvals and stuff like that, depending on how you want to what rights you give people. So when, for example, in users, I can set up a user and say, I can allow this user to edit, but then they have to so if I put in Trust Insights here, I would say Trust Insights, yeah, you can edit. But if you make any changes, it’s going to go into my approval queue. And then I have to approve those changes so that you can’t make changes to my live environment without without letting me know. And then I, as the owner, get to say, Yes, this goes in or no, this doesn’t go in. And now Katie, to your question, generally speaking, we always suggest people have, at the very least notify me by email, when a change is made to the live environment, you can do it, you know, notifications for other things and get more notifications. But at the very least, you definitely want to be to know, oh, somebody just pushed a new change to my, to my container. Again, if you work with any kind of agencies, or you’ve got, you know, staff members that you’re maybe have not trained up as well as you’d like you want this turned on. So these are sort of the major account level governance features that tell you who’s responsible, what, what’s been happening, and let you know that things have been happening. The other thing, oh, god, look at what

Katie Robbert 9:10
I was gonna say, you know, I want to go back to the approval queue piece. So there’s two sides to this one is you as the owner, are setting it up, so people have to go through you to approve it. But then the other side of that is you as the owner can’t be the bottleneck to approve things. And so this was always a point of contention. When I worked in software development, and then things like content management systems where someone who’s not on the development team who’s making changes, and they need, they’re waiting on the development team to push the changes through. It becomes this, you know, tension point between different teams. And so I would say, yes, the approval queue is an important step. But make sure you have some kind of a process set up so that somebody Number one, who’s responsible for approving them? And that there’s a regular check in so that vendors and team members and developers and whoever’s making changes aren’t then chasing you down to say, Hey, I did this, you know, six weeks ago, you still haven’t approved it. I’ve been blocked since then. So just a little bit of a process, word of caution of, it’s a good step, but make sure that you have the process in place to actually make those approvals.

Christopher Penn 10:25
Exactly right. Exactly.

John Wall 10:27
Right. Yeah. Cuz this normally, I’ve seen this as a cluster, because this is good. You’ve got your one site, your one container. But we’ve seen clients that it’s like, there’s 35 containers, and you know, on each of seven sites, and it’s just like, you know, you’d need a whole dedicated person just to know what the hell’s going on across the board,

Christopher Penn 10:45
you actually raise a really good point, one of the things that people do, that’s something of a mistake is not a mission critical mistake by any means, but it’s an inconvenience is that they will set up separate Tag Manager accounts for each website, as opposed to having one account, and then multiple containers within that account. So like, if Trust Insights, want to manage everything, I would have one account. And then I have marketing over coffee and Katie Robbert calm, and Christopher, trust, all those different containers in one account, and the reason for that is that you could then do delegated authority, like if I can have a user in the account, and I can restrict their permissions just to a specific container. If I have five accounts, then it’s a lot harder to keep track of like, who’s making changes, right. It’s, you know, who has access and things like that, I got five Tag Manager accounts to check and check each quarter to see who’s been doing what, after well, things are gonna fall through the cracks, it’s better to have it all centralized.

Katie Robbert 11:41
It’s almost like your are validating the need for business requirements upfront to understand what the heck it is you’re trying to do. And now granted, things change. But if you start out with, you know, those scenarios of like, okay, we have, you know, the CSP property, what happens if we decide to add one to it? And so talking through those business scenarios, will help you make sure that you’re setting things up correctly from the start. And so is it a hierarchy? Or are they all separate individual things, both are fine, but you just have to have a plan for each one.

Christopher Penn 12:18
Exactly. And generally speaking, when it comes to analytics, if you have an option for hierarchy, unless you have a compelling reason not to the hierarchy is generally a better choice. Again, because it simplifies administration simplifies, you know, who access control and things like that. So that’s, that’s a really critical point. The other thing that, again, a lot of folks don’t remember is the version manager. So the version manager in Tag Manager allows you to see what has been happening within this workspace. But here’s the important part. I can take a look at previous versions of the site. And if I need to, I can roll back, right. So if I, if I break a website, I put out some tags and like, Oh, hmm, the website just stopped working. Instead of futzing around trying to go, Oh, I got to delete this tag and this trigger, and I, you know, I messed up the sample site, nope. Just go figure out which version was the previous version, I didn’t screw up and just set set as the latest version, push that back out, and boom, it’s like, your mistakes never happened. This is a critical feature that people forget exists. When you make a mistake, they think, Oh, I just gotta go back and undo every single thing I did. No, no, just go back in time rewind. And you will save yourself so much headache. All right. Go ahead, Katie.

Katie Robbert 13:46
I was gonna say yes. But with that, so. And I feel like you’re going to get into this, but with these changes that you’re making, and this comes with the governance piece of it, especially as agencies and contractors, and whoever making changes, there needs to be some kind of a document, or some sort of a description of what the change was, so that you know what you’re rolling back to. And so that, you know, Chris, since it’s your individual site, it’s not as critical because it’s literally just you messing around testing things. But as you get to be bigger and have more people with their hands in it, it needs to be a requirement that I can’t push your changes through unless you tell me what was changed.

Christopher Penn 14:30
Exactly. So in your default workspace, one of the things that again, there’s there’s options in here to do little things like this. One of the things I think that people forget is that you can at least do a little bit of tuning up here, say something like contact if you need help, right, just something that it’s kinda like a little welcome message there. That again, if you have somebody who’s new in here, it doesn’t hurt to let them know here’s where to find things or who to call for help. If you screw something up. All those things would be good things to have So the next thing I want to talk about is, you have these sort of three layers in Tag Manager tags, triggers, and variables. All three, from a governance perspective really should have some kind of intelligent convention. So let’s go into variables. We’re going to ignore the built in ones, because you can’t really make changes to those. I’ve got a bunch of user defined variables here. And these are really problematic. Some of them are worse than others. This one here, for example, is a custom UTM campaign, which is a URL custom variable. By looking at this, I don’t know what this does. I don’t know why it’s here. It was put in three years ago. So you know, if you think about it, like if I was an agency, I was just coming in the first thing that goes, Hey, what do you use these for? And the person might say, Oh, I don’t know, the person who worked on that’s been gone for a couple of years, but it’s a three year old thing. So it’s like, so what do I, what am I gonna do with this? Now, Tag Manager does have the ability when you click on it to, to see what that variable is used for. And you can obviously click through that and see what that’s used for, then click through that and see what’s triggered for and so on and so forth. That’s a lot of labor. For what should have been something like this. I still URL source variable for no script, location. This now makes it a lot more clear what this thing is supposed to do. Right? There’s you don’t have to guess anymore. What does that strange thing here? Let’s do another one here. So this is this is medium bear, this is a medium. And so it’s really important to have a naming convention that when somebody looks at goes, Oh, I know what that does. Or at least I may have an idea who to ask, you could put your initials in there, you could put a you know, remove this variable after this date or an expiration date, but put in the things you need to have. So that when you come back in three years, like huh, what is that?

John Wall 17:17
Just to be square on that, too. So those are the ones where if the container is firing on a page that won’t run scripts, you still get your UTM codes. Is that the idea with those?

Christopher Penn 17:29
Mm hmm. Okay, yep. Which is kind of a nifty trick. Other ones these like this one here is little bit more intelligently named, this one is a GA four variables, like okay, at least I know, generally, what that is. This one here account ad blocks, I have no idea what that is. I don’t even know why. What is what exists. So this is a, a script. Oh, okay, this, this script is designed to detect ad blockers and then count in Google Analytics, how many visitors are using an ad blocker on my site? I don’t remember putting this in.

Katie Robbert 18:10
So if you’re gonna do something with that information,

Christopher Penn 18:13
it will be super useful. I don’t remember why I have this. But this is again, one of those cases where there’s no documentation. And there’s no project plan. This was something I probably read about somewhere pretended on my site. And like, Yeah, I’ll get around to it eventually. And I completely forgot about it.

Katie Robbert 18:30
It happened to the best of us,

Christopher Penn 18:32
it really does. So that’s what’s in variables, again, from a governance perspective, which is what we’re talking about today. That documentation is really, really important. And you know, the fact that it’s even in something here, like because this is JavaScript

add comments to my code, right? It’s just gonna show up. So I can put in a little thing like in my script and say, okay, in three years, when I look at this again, I’ll remember Oh, I know who to ask about this. And you know, if the person in the company has moved on, you can find out who their successor was. But at least they’re anytime you’re working on these tools, there’s probably a chance to do some documentation. Okay, next, same with triggers. Again, these triggers, some of these are, okay, some of these, maybe not okay. And needs, who’s doing what, why it’s there. You know what, it’s what it’s supposed to do. Here’s what says fix Facebook source medium. I don’t remember what this is. It says trigger finish on any page view where the page the referrer starts with Okay,

Katie Robbert 19:50
so I’m guessing that means because we know from Google Analytics, a lot of social media traffic comes in as referral traffic versus actual social traffic. So is that meant to automatically change the data from referral to whatever the

Christopher Penn 20:11
I think that was the idea. However, if you look at the count of the tag count column here, you can see this is used in zero tags. So it actually does nothing whatsoever.

Katie Robbert 20:22
I mean, great idea for execution.

Christopher Penn 20:26
Exactly. And again, this is one of those useful things like I can sort my tags, based on the number of times they’re the triggers, these sort my number triggers by how often they use, I have three triggers that connect to nothing, they literally do nothing. So these are immediate candidates to go straight in the trash can, because why have them there, if they if they serve absolutely no purpose. So part of what we do with governance is a look at how many times a trigger is used and how many attacks it’s used and, and then also do a quick sort by last edited when was the last time this trigger was touched? If it’s, you know, in the previous presidential administrations, like, maybe it’s time, you know, and if you’re going back to presidential administrations, then it’s really time to say Do we still need this? Now, some of these things like this, no J S trigger, which is really poorly named, is actually still relevant. So this is a G three, detect Javascript disabled trigger, right, that’s a lot easier to understand the node j. S. And it’s looking for the particular custom variable of the custom variable, it’s is looking to say is JavaScript enabled in the browser? If it is, if it’s disabled, then that trigger should fire. And you can see here, at some point, I did start doing a little bit of cleaning, I have a GA for scroll depth trigger stuff, which actually, by the way, is is redundant because scrolled up that’s done automatically. I don’t know why I put this in. Oh, I did I put into customize that the numbers, how far down I went. So again, from a triggers perspective, go in and look and say, Well, do we need all these things? What do these things do? And are they named intelligently?

Katie Robbert 22:18
And so a so one of the things that I recall, and this is where, you know, I need to review Tag Manager a little bit more frequently is the tags triggers and variables, as they’re outlined in that menu are in reverse order of the way in which they should be nested. So really, you should be starting with the variable first, and then the trigger. After that, and then the tag after that. So how exactly how is it really nested?

Christopher Penn 22:48
Well, so variables are exactly what they sound like. They’re, they’re the individual data points themselves, there’s a whole bunch of obviously ones that are built in, and there’s the ones we configure. So that answers the question, what data are we collecting, okay, is answered variables, triggers, that says, Tag Manager, listen for this. So when this these are the actions I want you to listen for. So Tag Manager, for example, is listening for JavaScript not being there, or is listening for a click on an Amazon, like I said, or is listening for a click on an ebook, or is listening for a click on a on an mp3 link. So these are the things that it’s constantly watching and listening and saying, when it happens, it’s going to raise his hand, say, Hey, I see this activity happening. And so that’s part of the reason why we go in this orders. Now what data you want to collect? And then what are you listening for? And then the tag is what action do you want Tag Manager to take, if you go in the other order, and say I want Tag Manager to take these actions? Well, yeah, but then you need to configure what is listening for that creates that action, and then what data it’s working with to for for that. So it’s, I find it’s easy to go into, from a logic perspective, start with the data you need, then develop the conditions for listing and then when you get to the tag part, you can see all your other pieces are in place, you don’t have to create anything on the fly. And if you’ve done a good job with your your naming conventions, governance, it’s really fast to set up.

Katie Robbert 24:12
Didn’t we create a worksheet you don’t have to try to find it now, but didn’t we create a worksheet that helps people do that naming convention, so basically, you can write everything out ahead of time, and then literally just copy and paste things in, but then you have a living document of what exists in your Tag Manager account. Um, okay, so I think, you know, if, if you’re interested in, you know, a simplified version of that, you can certainly jump into our free slack group analytics for marketers, and you know, ping one of us to see how you can get access to that spreadsheet. I think that that would be super helpful in terms of governance because that then that’s where you should be sorting out all of your naming conventions ahead of Getting into a system, but then it’s also something you can hand over to your agencies, your partners, your contracts, say, this is how we do it, you have to follow these rules to play in our sandbox.

Christopher Penn 25:12
Exactly, exactly. Okay, so that brings us to tags, which is the last port part. Again, this is one of those things where you can look at the date and see, when was the last time this tag was touched? or edited? And do we need to do something about that? You can look in the right hand column to see tags that are paused. You can see there’s a whole bunch of tags in here that on my site, just pause because I’m not using them currently. And then from that, you can of course look at the the tags themselves and see what what exactly does this tag do. So you can see this one here went from you know, that cryptic no JS to having a an intelligent named trigger. So now I can go into this one, go, what is this app. So this is Google Analytics, three, Javascript disabled image tracking tag. So what this tag does is when JavaScript is not running, it will still send those UTM source medium and variables into Google Analytics, letting me track UTM codes, even if the person’s browser has turned off JavaScript. And the way it does this is by loading an image. The reason we want to know that is real. If a person’s got an ad blocker on or is JavaScript disabled, that’s totally cool. You want to respect that. But if you’ve come in, based on a link that I’ve sent you like on my Twitter account, or in my email newsletter, I still want to know that link did its job and got me that. So this is how you can handle attribution for for the case where JavaScript is not running. So that’s an example of a tag that definitely needed a better naming convention. But tags are where all the action happens in here. And one of the things that is getting even more important is when somebody is switching to Google Analytics for a lot of the the useful data that goes into GA four that used to be in like goals, and GA three, you must do in here. So your naming conventions need to be really good and your governance needs to be really good. Let’s look at an example. I want to switch this by name. So I have my GA three tags in my GA four tags. I’m going I look at my this here. I want to configure this tag to indicate maybe someone visiting my speaking page, let’s let’s make it worth $1 amount. This is an event. It’s called a public speaking goal. But I’ve actually missed a part of the I need to specify for Google Alex for what currency the value is. So now I’m saying when somebody visits a speaking page on my website, I want to say that visit is worth $25. Now if I had like a if I was using Hubspot, for example, that was a FORM FILL, or a newsletter subscription or something like that, I would want to say what that newsletter subscription is worth X dollars, you we’ve talked about in a bunch of other shows how to do those calculations. But this is where you set goal values now in Google Analytics for you don’t do it in Google Analytics.

Katie Robbert 28:33
So is it safe to say that the tag is thinking about in terms of like, how you’re setting up your marketing strategy, your business strategy, the tag is the why why are you doing the thing? And so it’s a newsletter subscription. It’s a PDF, click. That’s why we need the information. The trigger is the how. And so it’s what am I paying attention to? And the variable is the what what data are we collecting, when the thing happens? And so it’s you know, if that’s something that I can wrap my head around, I can think about it in terms of I’m setting up some sort of a marketing strategy, I need my basic Why, what how, when, where. And it sounds like Tag Manager answers a lot of those questions in terms of the data collection, but you first need to start with what the heck do you care about so you care about people coming to your public speaking page you care about people subscribing to your newsletter, you care about people taking your website survey

Christopher Penn 29:41
yep, I would say triggers are how were like because you control triggers based on that and then even when because you can do things like delay when the trick how long you know a trigger should wait before firing. So a lot of that is handled in the trigger side. And then of course the the Y or the the what next is handled in the tags citing your Google Tag Manager then takes some kind of action. Once a trigger fires, assuming that you connected it to a trigger, and unlike me, we had a bunch of triggers that did nothing.

Katie Robbert 30:10
It sounds like that’s a pretty common issue. I know, we’ve seen that with clients of ours, where a lot of these pieces get set up, but there’s no story. There’s no narrative that connects everything. And so when you’re getting into auditing and your governance, then that’s when you spend a lot of time ask questions like, well watch this, why is this setup? Because that governance and those requirements weren’t done in the first place to answer those questions that will inevitably be asked.

Christopher Penn 30:41
Exactly. And it’s an ongoing thing. So let’s we’ve made nine changes to this workspace, let’s go ahead and publish those changes. This is the point where Tag Manager is going to have some options here for us to to do stuff. So I’m gonna say let’s do live stream updates, let’s call that we fixed a bunch of stuff, got rid of unused stuff. Now, obviously, if this was a production environment, you’d want changes to be a bit more descriptive than that. You might also want to have changes made by who did the thing, right? Whatever you would normally put in essentially, like patch notes. If you’re thinking of software, this is what would go what gets logged to the instance so that somebody knows that something’s happened. You’ll also note that in addition to the changes it Oh, alert alerts you there’s 34 tags in my site that have not been configured for consent, right. So if I have, if I’m required to be GDPR, and CCPA compliant, I’ve got 34 problems to go fix. So I’m going to go ahead and hit Publish right now. And it’s going to go do its thing. And it said, okay, these updates have now been made, you can see what happened, right can see that the changes that were made, and the environment and we have our description there. If we go back into our tags, now, I’m going to pick, let’s do engage with Amazon, Click, go click on this and go into advanced, there’s a section called consent settings. And this is where you would specify, like what kind of consent is needed for this tag to operate in this case, I don’t need any additional consent, because it’s all just using Google Analytics. So if you’ve consented to the use of Google Analytics, this is fine. If I was using Hubspot, for example, I might need you know, the Hubspot permission banner that you see pop up on screen, I might need to detect that detect it the person that said yes, they consent to it before this tag would be allowed to fire. So in a situation where you’re dealing with regulatory stuff, you need to know how to configure every single tag individually to say, Do I need extra consent or not?

Katie Robbert 33:02
Again, another plug for doing your business requirements upfront before even getting into the system. You can answer a lot of these questions and save yourself a lot of headache by structuring your requirements to follow this interface of tags triggers variables, so you get the naming convention, but also that extra layer of is this variable one that requires consent? Yes or No? If yes, what does that look like? If no, go about your day?

Christopher Penn 33:30
Exactly. So you can see here, this little privacy shield. And if I click on this, this brings up a list of what tags consent is and is not configured for. So I would need to go through you can see for a lot of the Google native ones. There’s built in consent for add storage and analytics storage. So I don’t need anything other than that. Those be ones where I could say I don’t need let’s let’s do that. I don’t need for these ones to have these things flag anything other than the default consent built in. And then where that’s blank, those we want say, Yeah, I might need to go and take a look at that. Let’s see. That would be no additional consent as required for those 17 tags. So now I’ve got all these other ones missed a few, like Bing Webmaster Tools, do I need additional consent for that tag? Do I need an additional consent for my JSON LD script? Because these are all custom HTML tags. I might like the Twitter tag, I probably do need extra consent on that, because that’s an advertising tracking tag. Now it’s pause. So you don’t be concerned that something is not running. But Facebook pixel if that was running for sure, we’d need extra consent on that and probably possibly, you know, like a blood sample from our visitors of whatever the case is, we would definitely need to to get those additional permissions from the user before those tags would be allowed to be fired.

Katie Robbert 34:51
I can see where a lot of a lot of systems get half set up. When people get stuck with these things. These questions because then they have to go get an answer. And then they probably get pulled into something else. And then the setup never really gets finished. Because there’s a lot of steps, it is a literal piece of software. And software development is not an easy thing. There’s a lot of details. And that’s why a QA process exists. For most software development, this is no different. You need to have your requirements up front, you need to have the implementation, you need to have the QA testing the documentation, all of those things in order to ensure that you did it right, and that your data is coming through correctly.

Christopher Penn 35:41
This is it’s this always paying the question is do you want control of the pain? And do you want control when you have the pain, right? When you do governance properly, you’re opting to have the pain up front in a managed fashion, as opposed to the lawsuit you get, which is, you know, deferred pain that is maybe substantially, you know, more painful later on down the road. So it’s a question of when you want your pain, you’re going to have pain no matter what.

Katie Robbert 36:06
Well, and you know, uh, you know, not, like, pick on you, Chris. But as you were just showing that example, you submitted a second set of changes with no documentation. And so, six months from now, when we revisit Tag Manager and go through a lot of these same steps, you’re gonna go, Huh, well, it looks like these happened on the same day. And the first one was for the live stream, but what the heck was the second one. And so again, fortunately, because it’s just your site, it’s not that important to have that information. But it’s not a best practice that we would encourage people, even with your own site, I can never remember what day it is what timezone I’m in, it doesn’t matter, God forbid, I remember what changes I checked in to my website, on any given day, if I don’t documents something.

Christopher Penn 36:55
Exactly. And again, that that also goes to risk management, too. If you the risk of me screwing something up on my site is relatively low, all things considered, right, the risk of screwing up something on an E commerce site where you know, that’s where customers buy stuff, substantially higher, right, if you break a tag firing on a shopping cart, you’re probably going to get an angry phone call from your VP of Finance relatively quickly. If you are running a government site, or a military side of things, you know, obviously, the all those events, you don’t get a choice to do it, there’s no chance for you to not do these things. You must do that. But it is a risk calculation do

John Wall 37:42
there is one thing I want to ask you about is, you know, your tag manager is filled with a bunch of custom stuff, you’ve got to get GA working right to do your own tracking. But a lot of corporate sites, there’s this huge, gigantic junk bin of 150 tags for every SaaS service that they’ve installed along the way. And is there anything people need to keep in mind with that kind of stuff? Do you want to cordon those tags off into their own? You know, do you organize those in some way. So you know, because those seem to be even more painful. Like, if you install that tag, and it breaks, you don’t even know how those things run. So troubleshooting, that stuff is, you know, can be incredibly painful.

Christopher Penn 38:18
You can put them into folders, there’s a feature that allows for folders and in Tag Manager. I find though that that’s usually not sufficient. Having a naming convention, like especially an agency installed a piece of software, having the agency’s name in the tag trigger a variable is is best, you know, when we go in and we make changes to client stuff, we always named the Trust Insights, GA three, whatever. So that six months down the road, so it looks like goes who’s Trust Insights? And you know, and go, Oh, that’s the agency we’re working with at the time, like, okay, cool, you know, we know who’s responsible for if it’s just a bunch of, you know, mangled letters, then nobody really knows what the thing does. And that’s when you then you have a lot of cruft of like, do we does it does anyone know even still paying for the service? We’ve seen that a lot, particularly for B2B customers, where they’ve got, you know, a legacy of Salesforce tags and Hubspot tags and demand based tags and all these things like Do you still pay for these services? Because if you want something that will make a either a compliance person and a lawyer, either really itchy or is to start salivating. It’s when you start when you’re still sending data to unauthorized parties, because he did not uninstall their tags.

Katie Robbert 39:35
Yeah, I think with the governance piece as well. I think I’ve lost track of the number of times where a client has approached us and said, so the person who set this up is no longer with the company and none of us have access to change, ownership permissions or grant you access so we have to go chase him down, you know, three jobs from now. You know, that’s a pretty common thing. Amongst companies. So I would say, you know, as you’re setting up these systems, build that in to your maintenance plan. You know, who’s the backup to the backup to the backup of if Chris decides to leave his part of his transition plan that he needs to give me ownership of the stuff, and then I decide to leave. And I then have to give John ownership to the stuff and like that needs to be built in. Those are your business continuity plans, really more so. But they’re important parts, because it may feel like oh, well, it’s just a Tag Manager account. But if you’ve been using your Tag Manager account for six years, and you’re an enterprise sized company, there’s a lot of data in there that you may not have access to, because the guy who set it up six years ago, is off on his own private island somewhere, never to be seen from again.

Christopher Penn 40:55
And I suppose access to analytics is one thing on authorized access to Tag Manager, again, you can make physical changes on somebody else’s website, you can control the user experience, you can do a lot of things that you really shouldn’t be out, you know, unauthorized party should not be allowed to, I’m not going to show it on screen, because for confidentiality reasons. But there’s a long list of companies whose Tag Manager accounts, I still have access to seven or eight years after the fact that like, well, if I really want to hose this company, I could redirect all their traffic. Now, I would never do that, because that’s unethical and illegal. But if my account, say I didn’t use two factor authentication, which I do, if I didn’t use that someone could hack into my account, and then just compromised several Fortune 500 companies because they have not withdrawn access. So if you’re on the company side, that’s why we say quarterly, clean out your access list. And then everybody who has access to these things should be using two factor authentication, because otherwise, you know, Vladimir, the Russian hacker is going to come in and you know, charge cryptocurrency bots on across your site. And at that point, you’re kind of hosed. So there’s, this is an element of security and risk management to this, it seems like, it can seem like it’s very pedantic, like, okay, you know, we have to follow these procedures, we have to follow these procedures. You know, we’re not a fan of processes for processing. But Tag Manager is such a powerful tool that you can literally wipe out a company’s digital presence if you if someone has unrestricted access to it.

Katie Robbert 42:33
Process and documentation exists for a reason. And I will say 10 times out of 10. It’s the thing that people skip over, because it’s the boring part, people just want to get in, start clicking the buttons, doing the thing, seeing the data, I get it, I get it. However, having come from working in a regulatory industry, I can. I’ve seen literal life and death situations where not having that documentation does go very, very wrong. So I get it, it’s boring. Don’t skip it. And if you don’t want to do it, I’ll do it. Hire me. I’ll do the documentation for you. You can go push the buttons and play with the things and make the bells ring.

Christopher Penn 43:20
And on that note, if you have comments or questions, feel free to follow up on a slack group. We’ll have a link in the end here. But thanks for tuning in this week, and we’ll catch you next week. Thanks for watching today. Be sure to subscribe to our show wherever you’re watching it. For more resources. And to learn more. Check out the Trust Insights podcast at trust AI podcast and a weekly email newsletter at trust Got questions about what you saw in today’s episode. Join our free analytics for markers slack group at trust for marketers, see you next time.

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