#049: The Future of Tag Management

If you’re in the U.S., happy election day! In the spirit of the mayhem and controversy that the political process brings, we’re tackling a topic that is every bit as controversial: tag management. Does Adobe DTM gratuitously delete emails? Has GTM been perpetually unaware of when it is around a hot mic? What does Tealium have against coffee?! Is Signal broadcasting dog whistles to marketers about the glorious data they can collect and manage? What about Ensighten’s sordid past where the CEO was spotted in public (at eMetrics) sporting a periwig? To discuss all of this (or…actual content), Josh West from Analytics Demystified joins us for a discussion that is depressingly civil and uncontentious.

Linkable Things Referenced in This Episode



Episode Transcript

The following is a straight-up machine translation. It has not been human-reviewed or human-corrected. We apologize on behalf of the machines for any text that winds up being incorrect, nonsensical, or offensive. We have asked the machine to do better, but it simply responds with, “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

[00:00:24] Hello everyone. Welcome to the digital analytics power hour. This is episode 49. If

[00:00:32] you were in the digital analytics space in 2010 you probably started hearing about some crazy new tools that managed all the tags on your site. The ideas came from the long painful delays between site updates at large enterprises where new marketing and measurement technologies waited to be launched and so tag management was born. And back then we used to tell people you could do it all without renting a line of code. We were so young and naive. Fast forward to today and tag management is pretty standard part of almost any new implementation. And everyone’s onboard with the idea. But where do we go from here. That’s what we’re talking about on this episode. Thanks to a listener Michael Lee is also known as trying to web optimization on the measure slack. We wanted to talk about the future of tag management. Now. I know what you’re saying. To provide balance to my cohost Tim hate him Michael and your extreme bias on these topics. We needed someone who is an expert someone who has the respect of everyone in the TMF space. So he turned to the one and only Josh West. Josh is a senior partner analytics demystified where he guides clients and thinking through tag management and customer development projects. Prior to that he held senior technical implementation roles at sales force and consulted at Omniture. Before that. He also taught Tim how to make fine a pizza pie. Yes. Welcome to the show Josh.

[00:02:02] Hey thanks guys. Thanks for having me. Good to chat with you guys for a little bit.

[00:02:06] It is great. So I think what everyone’s dying to know right off the gate is what is your favorite tag management tool and why not. This gotcha journalism.

[00:02:20] Yeah. If you go back through the blog archives you’ll you’ll find that one of the first blog posts I ever wrote it demystified it started an industry war.

[00:02:31] I had people from every company complaining to me that I had misrepresented or short shrift of them there.

[00:02:41] And lo these many years later you’ve almost recovered from that experience. Yeah but thanks for bringing that up to that and the show notes. Yeah let’s face it like I do actually remember that blog post and I remember some of the people in the building having the reactions they had to it and wondering guys you know that in a month or so our tool is going to be owned by somebody else. Why are we getting so fired up about this Fogg’s.

[00:03:12] But hey well there’s actually a story to add to that post. So the reason that it caused so many problems the reason was because I had that post sitting ready to write for two months and we kept hearing rumblings about said acquisition. And I wasn’t sure how much I could say. So I wrote the post and then published it without a pretty decent chunk of it because it had been sitting there for two months and I’m like Is this ever going to happen is it not going to happen. And I had that material turned up and it turned into a follow up post.

[00:03:45] The day after the acquisition was announced I feel like I will be I mean I have a little to contribute to this episode but just for anybody who doesn’t know exactly what we’re talking about that was the satellite the tegmental platform created out of search discovery where Mr. homework’s has been acquired by Adobe just in case anybody is not following along with exactly what we’re referring to here. Thank you Tim. Remedial translation yeah. Jahshan I descended right into the jargon of the English.

[00:04:14] And that tagging system for again for those of you who don’t know is the one that is now referred to as a Dobi DTM or Adobe TDM.

[00:04:22] I’ve heard any number of names but yeah I Nemec task manager because we don’t want a static tag manager who we want a dynamic tech manager and that’s actually not dynamic tech manager is dynamic tag management.

[00:04:33] For some reason I said you were going to get over my head very very quick google tag manage your oh so it’s not just one letter that’s different It’s also the suffix on the last word.

[00:04:47] Exactly. Good show. Good morning. Josh thank you so much for being solved all the problems that we have. No armor. But actually so is a really good question from Michael Lee and one that I think probably Josh you spent a lot of time thinking about just and your work as a consultant. I know that’s something that I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about just because I’m trying to figure out where we are going with this but I’d love to get your perspective in sort of broad strokes sort of how do you see you know. Well actually maybe let’s lay some groundwork around how tag managers meant vendors have kind of proceeded through their lifecycle and where they are at all today because that may give some clues. I don’t know you want to maybe give us data the state of the industry in broad terms.

[00:05:35] Yeah sure. So we actually kind of got to the place that it took web analytics or digital analytics to get to probably at about half the time this phased move really fast.

[00:05:46] And I think you can really trace it back to that. That acquisition.

[00:05:51] So once there were two free products that were in the market it kind of changed the way I think some of the companies in the space were you know we’re at started actually thinking about their product. They all started kind of thinking of other ways that they could differentiate and make money because they were now in competition not just with one free product but two and you know I think Google tag management or Google tag manager you know kind of started out as you know they mainly focused on Google tags and you know really small simple to implement tags and then all of a sudden when Adobe bought satellite.

[00:06:27] Well now there’s a tag management system that you can get for free that’s really sort of targeting the enterprise and GTM is really targeting the enterprise too. But but at the time I don’t know that I would say that was the case.

[00:06:39] So I mean it kind of goes back to that acquisition and you know so what we’ve seen is that the tag management part you know I don’t want to say it’s become commodities but you know it it sort of has it’s know I think all of the tools are out there looking for other ways that they can kind of make money that they can get their customers really hooked on their on their products and you know offer them some other things too. So I also think that that was such a unique challenge that we faced before tag management that once there were some tools out there that could really make your life easier. You know everybody wanted what they had to pay for it or not. So I think those two things kind of kind of led us to reaching this point a lot faster than you know we’re 15 or so years into digital analytics. And I think you know most of the companies that I work with are either using Adobe analytics or Google Analytics. There are lots of other tools out there and we run into him from time to time but those two have sort of cornered the market I guess you would say and Tagamet is getting there a lot faster it’s definitely not going to take 15 years. I wouldn’t say at that point.

[00:07:48] Yeah I mean I I think I see the history very similarly. You know I sort of view Google tag managers launch as sort of the validation of the tag management as a space back in 2012 when they launched late 2012. And yet to your point their early product was you know kind of a starting point not necessarily competitive with sort of the premier vendors of that time. But then fast forward nine months with the acquisition of satellite and then things started moving really quickly. And you know Google tag manager to their credit has done a great job advancing that product. But yeah I’ve also noticed that in the what I’d say is sort of the initially pure play vendor space so you know signaled helium and cited some of those also in those years pivots into additional products right. To expand the product suite out past just the tag management tool especially into what I’ll call sort of DMP land you know in terms of sort of we’re passing along all the data. Why don’t we hold onto it too and build something and I know that’s a travesty of a way to talk about some of the products have built. And certainly I have some fondness for a couple of them so. But is that your is that what you’ve seen too.

[00:08:57] Yeah I think in fact I mean I signal I had somebody tell me there a few months ago they don’t even consider themselves to be in the Tangney internet space anymore right.

[00:09:07] So they send the product.

[00:09:09] Yeah that’s the starting product. But actually they’d like to sell you their main product now which is sort of as a company they’ve kind of turned a corner away from being a tag management vendor. And I think that that is instructive or it could potentially be instructive about than where the future is going. Maybe maybe. What do you think. Tim Well. So I sometimes like.

[00:09:33] Not being as deep in the space I sometimes wonder if this is a little bit of a land grab of a you know painting the future. I think every technology vendor wants to sell you kind of their vision and buy the stuff. It’s our vision. I feel like wow I was trying to do a mental checklist of whether I’ve got any kind of remaining who aren’t on a tag management platform and I did come up with two. Smaller clients. For me.

[00:09:58] Larger organization but the ones that are on it I even just doing the tag management. I feel like there’s still opportunity within those tag managers to actually really help it drive governance better. So I actually worry a little bit about hey we’re moving onto the next awesome thing because we have tag management implemented and we have our Web analytics platform in place. But you know there was chatter. It seemed like it was going around maybe six months to a year ago. I think Rudy had some stuff on it about how hey you know implementing a tag manager is a great opportunity to take a look at your tag governance not just through web analytics tag all of your tags and I’ve got clients where great we’re now deploying media pixels through the tag manager that has a lot of upsides. But guess what. We’re still not expiring and we’re still Baoding our site with you know too many media tags. So I kind of get the idea of the dream of this more centralized source of tracking and collecting visitors across different things. But I’m I think I’m naturally kind of a laggard when it comes to this stuff and like I don’t know that I’ve really feel like we’ve hit the actual tag management out of the park.

[00:11:10] Well to some extent governance has gotten worse. You know I mean I remember I kind of wrote a tag management system for TILs for dot com because they kept complaining about page load time in our site slow and we’ve got tags that are in all of these different templates.

[00:11:29] And so they spent two months digging through every template on the Web site and you know ripping out the tags migrating him in it is javascript library.

[00:11:40] And you know there were really only a handful of vendors that we were working with at that point.

[00:11:44] And once we had our you know kind of homegrown tag management system it was amazing how the advertising team started come up with a new vendor every week hey let’s throw this tag up on the site because it’s like all of a sudden it’s it’s easy and just like you said Tim nobody ever says oh we’re done with this tag. So we keep adding and adding and adding and never really removing the tags that that that we’re done with.

[00:12:10] That’s a good point. Josh in terms of once you start making it easier suddenly the demand for additional tags starts to ramp up. But I think that’s part of what governance or content can enable. And obviously there’s another part of governance which is why do we have this in the first place that’s got to be part of that equation which TMX is in general and even homegrown systems don’t really address no the other the other governance tools out there have never really combined with tag management in a way I think that could kind of evidence sort of a bigger governance picture like coast tree or observe point in hub scan for scanning those could somebody somewhere could stick those together potentially and it would be very interesting I think. But today they kind of live in two separate realms right. One is sort of like what’s out there. The other one is how do we put it out there anyways. Let’s get back to tag management because governance we’ve done that to death on this show. What we did it once and that was enough for a number of other or at least we did it once with John Lott. That was enough. Well nobody likes to buy governance. It’s not sexy like tag management tag management is very sexy. It’s like what tags you want to put on your Web site. Let’s go. Yeah those are those first pictures we’re actually and nothing else. Yes that’s right man.

[00:13:29] Well let me let me ask you because Josh you said you kind of equating it to the ramp up in the curre for web analytics and how you people web analytics 15 years or whatever you want to call it. There was a very very definitive pivot in web analytics where the underlying infrastructure kind of pivoted from weblogs and parsing weblogs to page tag based stuff. Has there been from day one with tag man or insight or whoever claims they were first has the basic underlying premise stayed exactly the same or have there been any kind of shifts where wow everybody was heading down this path. And they all sort of decided nope we need and don’t even know what that would be asynchronous versus synchronous or some something has that sort of shift happen or do you think it was just it started out in a spot where it was kind of the laws of the Internet were better understood. So it’s just kind of continued to iterate on a better mousetrap from that initial query in the world.

[00:14:28] Well I mean I think the basic premise is sort of stayed the same. You know we’re going to use a single javascript library to load tags though all of the vendors have sort of dipped their toes into. Is there a better way to do this can we load these tags. No single call that server direct and TVM calls it server to server but there’s this idea that hey you know is there a better way to load these tags could we instead just push this data up to our servers and then have our servers figure out where to send it. I don’t know the well that’s not going to take on catch on in its current iteration. I don’t think just because you know the way that some of these tools work with identifying visitors and you know their reliance on cookies makes it really hard. I mean I think it could eventually be the future. But I but I think it’s probably going to take a couple of iterations and a little bit of a technology shift for us to actually get there.

[00:15:23] Yeah I agree with that. And it’s that thing the limitation of how servers can communicate versus how front end technologies communicate.

[00:15:31] You just have a little bit more you can do on the front end than the back if you’ve ever had a client or your employer try to set their tags up that way or or even you know if you’re just using like Adobe’s data insertion API to push data up on the server it’s always a little bit of a black box and testing it is kind of a pain and it’s just you know I’m sure some day somebody will figure it out. But but I think it’s going to take some time.

[00:15:57] Well and and to a certain extent that’s kind of the value proposition in terms of being a differentiator for that this kind of sales. You know what I mean. Yeah. Because I don’t think like people are sitting through well maybe they are sitting through you know TMX RF piece where they’re considering like who will this Windows Server server versus this one that’s just on the front end. Maybe those conversations are still happening but I’m that’s not that’s not our clients most for the most part.

[00:16:25] Yeah I mean I think if anything is going to drive that it’s going to be mobile apps.

[00:16:29] Yeah that’s one and small piece definitely because you know when you’re talking about the browser you know pretty much wherever you’re using a web browser your internet connection speed is pretty is good enough that you know if you load 20 little pixels on the site on the page that you’re looking at and you know some of those are getting cash or at least the javascript used to generate them is getting cached then it’s you know performance wise it’s not that big of a hit when you start talking about being on a 4G connection somewhere or you know wherever you might find yourself or or you know if you’re on the subway and all of a sudden the connection drops and those tags need to be batched up and save for when you come out from the underground. Like that’s that’s a much more valid use case for it I think. And

[00:17:13] so and not to mention the fact that I don’t know that any of that of the tag management vendors have really cornered the market on mobile tag management anyway.

[00:17:23] I think that that mobile if anything drives the server to server communication is going to be mobile and if that weren’t just like technologically is that one word.

[00:17:32] It’s chasing what Apple and Google are like the nature of the apps. That’s kind of cycling that feels like it’s been a little bit of a race to what can you do. What are you allowed to do and what can you do within apps.

[00:17:44] Is that still part of the challenge that that still sort of fluid and evolving and so it’s not the kind of as stabilized as traditional the web or is that not the issue.

[00:17:55] Yeah I mean I think the biggest problem with mobile is that a mobile app has to be compiled. So unless you unless you build your mobile app using like each Chanel 5 and then like you wrap it in a phone gap wrapper or something like that unless you do something like that then your native app is compiled and anytime you release new functionality it’s a new update to the App Store. And you know it’s just a lot it’s a lot different. You know with javascript with a website you know it’s pretty easy to find something on the page you want to track and hook some tracking up to it. Now you might not have all the data you want but you can you can implement stopgaps and quick fixes and things like that with you know with pretty pretty quick and dirty javascript. You really can’t do that with a mobile app. I mean I think you know it might take some collaboration between Apple and Google and and some of these vendors to kind of come up with something that works and my guess is that Apple and Google are not going to be super thrilled about about that type of collaboration.

[00:18:56] Yeah but you know who’s really good at mobile phones is Samsung glitter.

[00:19:03] Winter is coming. So it’s the drive through an old Samsung on the fire.

[00:19:10] How are we going to start to fire in the middle of winter. I mean like all charts charts this foam. Well that’s a secondary market for those then that’s kindling man. I’m sure that’s all been resolved by now.

[00:19:25] So how and I know Josh you give you can spend half a day talking about this because I’ve seen you sort of talk about it but how easily is it to hit like the three or four things that are the things about a tag manager. I am sure there are plenty of people who are listening who already have a manager. There are plenty of people who are listening who say well we’re going. We’ve got DTM because. We’re a DA shop and we DTM was free but. I’m still a little fuzzy on. I mean I know that you’ve got preferences for different tag managers in different situations. And we sort of discuss what we’re going to have you name which ones those where in which cases but what are sort of the things that you say wow if you’re doing X then you really the tag manager that supports that and they don’t support that. Or maybe that’s not the right way to frame it.

[00:20:14] Well I mean I guess the first question that I always ask clients is you know do you plan to deploy your AB testing solution through your tag management system. Because if you do that’s going to eliminate a few things right off the bat is that is that the ability to point asynchronous tag is that the is that the key phrase.

[00:20:35] It’s actually the ability to deploy a synchronous. Not yet. In other words a blocking script so that the test can run without screen flicker.

[00:20:42] Yeah.

[00:20:43] So so satellite and inciting were both Bill you know with that in mind and TV and pretty quickly came out with something that would work for theirs too. Google I think is going to get there because they’ve got this Google optimized product. In fact I think they might even be Baime beta testing something now that will allow you to deploy optimize through GTM. So they’re going to get there to signal never really took it on. So I mean I guess to like if there are other tags I mean it’s you just need to you know put optimizing your Adobe target and ahead of your site and outside your tag management system then you know you can probably survive. But you know what other types of things do you want to do that. You know that’s kind of the first decision you have to make because you can eliminate a couple of tools right off the bat if you know if that’s an absolute must for you but.

[00:21:32] So that’s that’s one thing to think about. I think the next thing is like to think about your stack. So if you know you are if you’re a Google Shopper you’re an Adobe shop and 90 percent of the tags that you use are those you know Google has integrations with pretty much all of its tags don’t write in to help you out. And Adobe is kind of the same way with DTM and the other systems you know they offer all those integrations as well. They also offer integrations with a lot of other tools out there. You know let’s take DTM from that for example so DTM has integrations with pretty much all of the Adobe products as you’d expect.

[00:22:09] And then with Google Analytics and if you want to deploy other tags you can. But you have to be prepared to write the code yourself. And I think a lot of companies are not really prepared for that because all of the tools out there. I think in the sales process they kind of tell you oh you never have to write code again. And that’s not really the case. And then even sometimes you know you might think oh well Google has this this integration with floodlight or you know one or the other. You know all the vendors offer these integrations with floodlight DFA and you’re like oh well this is this is great. And then you realize that no I still have to do a little customization. So it’s I mean not just a pick on Adobe because sometimes I think. You know the sales guy tells you Oh yeah we integrate with DoubleClick or we had a great with Adobe analytics will the fact that they integrate with them does not mean that you know it’s just cut and dry plug and play for you.

[00:23:03] You’re going to work.

[00:23:05] It’s not necessarily a smooth easy in turn and it’s only out there. There are tools out there that if you really go to the to the effort of building a really good data layer and things like that then you can probably hand over the integration of a lot of simple marketing tags to your marketers and just kind of turn them loose.

[00:23:28] I don’t know if that’s a good thing. I have I have some ideas about how much you want to do that but you know there are tools out there with a really slick UI. Somebody can go in and add a tag pretty quickly with without a lot of effort.

[00:23:43] But I think sometimes the promises that they all do that. And that’s that’s not really been my experience. I don’t know if you feel the same way. I.

[00:23:50] Know I’m very pleased that most vendors in the space have stopped saying you never have to write a line of code again. And the other thing because the initial use case for tag management was to get around IGY deployment cycles. There is this concept and frankly a lot of marketing and I.T. organizations across lots of different companies don’t exactly get along great. But. The this concept is sort of an anti type nature where marketing was going to get its own way and not let I.T. control what they could do is actually working at cross purposes that a lot of cases to what should actually be happening to make digital experiences better. And so actually what I’ve seen work the best is that tag management instead of using it to get away from actually becomes a collaboration point. So that better governance and better collaboration happens so that it still owns the digital site but marketing has a way to. Get their priorities or needs met. And when those when it happens that way and feel like it’s much more productive. And so tag management kind of I feel like in the last three years kind of slowly pivoted towards a much more useful framework which is not about let’s get around ITN never talk to them again or never write code again but rather let’s use this tool to kind of manage all of our stuff so we have one place where we can get tagging done effectively efficiently and move or move us forward together. So you know my. My dream is marking NIIT strolling along hand in hand.

[00:25:31] But it also brings us to where is the future going and what will happen in the year 2000 or 2000. Tim you’ve got to do it. What do you know the old Colon’s sketch now in the year 2000. Right. Never mind the. Hey I’ll make a pop culture reference that Tim will pick right up on. I live in for the day I’m alone for the day. Tim. Deep Throat I’m out there. I’ll get one of them. That’s right. So today it’s going to happen. That’s also my dream. So maybe we should say because we were we’re talking about tag management in the future. Let’s talk about datalink. We haven’t really talked about the future. We’re getting to it. We’re warming up to it. Tim this is all. This is all from context building narcolepsy inducing. There are five or six people who are probably going to find this very interesting thank you very much Josh me and our immediate family. What’s up with Michael. That’s who Yeah yeah. So do we want to not talk about data layers. Is that what I’m hearing. No.

[00:26:39] Day later data are good because it kind of I think what I think you get where I think my vague understanding where you guys kind of agree on the future. Yeah. Your honor I’m going somewhere with this. OK I’ll allow it.

[00:26:50] Oh there you go. What does this have to do with bird law. Right. Did you get that one Tim. No I didn’t. It’s another. It’s always sunny reference given our sun. Yeah. All right. So I think it’s pretty stator Josh and I don’t know. I feel like he you probably see a broader cross section. So I’m wondering if you see any different but it’s pretty standard now to incorporate a day layer into most tag management implementations and certainly maybe for a minute we set aside Google’s day lair concept because it’s a little bit different from a structural perspective but what have you seen up there or is that true or does that sound right to you. Yeah we I mean we push all of our clients to have a data layer because.

[00:27:34] I mean it makes everything so much easier when you’re implementing tag man. I mean if you don’t have a data layer if you’re sort of relying on scraping the dogs and stuff like that and you get by with it but you’re going to have just as much work as you did before.

[00:27:48] Right. Well and if you ever do a b test then suddenly great things because you’re changing elements on the page. Right exactly. And you know so I think that’s that’s right. And it’s interesting because you know coming from the satellite background that I came from you know we obviously were building a tool so people could kind of do that any way they wanted to and not forcing the issue. But more and more I think it’s right to kind of try to at least insist that this is the way you want to go. Is this the best practice. But that does bring to mind the fact that it is probably the biggest risks to successful tag management and digital analytics implementations in terms of success because you have to incorporate development site development in the process in a way that’s not always well understood in terms of what a day layer is and how to do it. So that’s one thing we certainly run into and so built a lot of tools to kind of help collaborate with developers and teach them how to do it but I’m not sure and I think there’s some stuff happening to make data layers easier and certainly you know like I think Gilliams state Labor is pretty straightforward.

[00:28:57] And the other really great thing about theirs is the way that it just is like a debate right into the product. Yeah it’s sort of I know eventually we’re going to talk about you know where is the market going.

[00:29:07] And the fact that they built their data layer layer like that allowed them to do some really cool stuff with some of their other products. So when I said baked right in a lot of times when you build a data layer if you give a developer the responsibility for coming up with how the data layer should look they’re going to think about it in a way that you know they want it to be trying to think the best way to describe this so they’re going to think of it in terms of a hierarchy so you know I go to a page in the page loads and there’s a couple of different groups of data that I might care about. So there’s data. You know I might want to know about the page what’s its name what’s its type. There’s data I might want to know about the visit or the or that user what is user ID what type of what type of visitor is he or she you know product information. So like what products are they looking at. And so it develops goes in and thinks about a data layer like a developer would they say I’m going to make this one big hierarchical object. And if I need to find the page name then it’s that I have to drill down into the hierarchy to find the right place to look in. Not just in the data layer but in the page object and inside the page object that to look for the name helium basically said hey we’re going to make our data layer flat. Everybody needs to have a flat data layer.

[00:30:24] And the reason we want it to is because we want. When you log in when you log into our UI we want to make it really easy for you to find things to map them to pass them to different tags so you know a javascript developer would probably look at alliums data layer and say well this is kind of weird but it kind of simplified things I think from within their UI but. Yeah I mean basically it’s when you build your data layer and TVM it’s set up in a way that makes it really easy to use that data within the tool where the other products and they don’t really restrict you. They kind of let you do whatever you want which is both good and bad. I mean it allows you to come up with a really hierarchical semantical data object and that’s great. It does sometimes make it a little bit less intuitive to take advantage of the data within the tool.

[00:31:16] Yeah well and DGM launched that GM integration which you can steal from and add a custom De Lear schema to which then populates the elements so they’re they’re making moves toward that front more friendly model that helium introduced without necessarily putting you into to a flat the layer structure which is kind of nice and being Adobe Experience Manager I don’t know.

[00:31:42] Yes sorry. Are you like this.

[00:31:45] No no I get it I’m just thinking of thinking there that I kind of bounce across different clients so I’m following most of these.

[00:31:52] But Tim would it surprise you to learn that you’re probably actually more technical than I am.

[00:31:57] I think we could we could do a whole episode debating that. OK. That might be what this episode is the show when I went I volunteered that the first time I ever saw the inside of a time manager was you standing at my desk showing it to me.

[00:32:11] So and I was like What are you talking about. What do you mean this tag.

[00:32:16] OK maybe that’s a little bit of extreme. OK. But that was probably about three weeks after I started working a search discovery. But before that point I didn’t even know what a CSA selector was. So I was just a quick study. OK. But you’re right and kind of taking data layers and consuming them into the tools in more friendly ways is absolutely a thing that every tech management tool should do. But also they layer’s themselves can really help companies standardize on common pieces of data that they can use kind of across a lot of different things so it is generally a good thing. All right so next question what’s the future look like which is the core premise of. Yeah well again Tim we’re building up to. Okay. It’s like with any TMF implementation you can’t just go slap in the tags on the page. You’ve got to do a lot of work from one line of code just put this bootstrap has never work with it again.

[00:33:19] And then let your developers spend the next five years writing CSSA elector’s to find the No. I mean that’s.

[00:33:27] But the future I mean we’ve talked about a few things so I mean I do think that at some point there’ll be some there’ll be something that happens for mobile apps that you know whether it makes server to server more usable more realistic. You know I think that’s that’s something to think about whether it’s something that makes mobile tag management a little bit easier to do you know that might be something that comes along. But you know I also think you’ve got to look at what all of these different vendors are doing.

[00:33:57] So I mean we’ve talked a little bit about the fact that none of them really consider their tag management system to be well maybe that it maybe is still their core business but not their only thing they do anymore. So if you look at what some of them are doing so let’s start I always go in alphabetical order. So I don’t offend anyone but in seitan has skipped the Dovie. You’re

[00:34:22] gonna. Yes I know that’s still that’s still for man you just don’t. But paging paging Bengay aging renegades. OK so let’s let’s go back so Dominici. So I mean the reason I skipped Adobe is because it’s sort of no longer clicking yes it no longer became their core offering when satellite was acquired by Adobe.

[00:34:49] So Adobe does do different things. It’s part of the market part of the marketing cloud. Yeah. So I mean if I was at Summit and you know there were some session on DTM but it’s a really small piece of of the whole thing. I mean even Adobe analytics was probably not really the core focus of the summit this year it which is probably really weird for some of us that have been going for years and years and years. But I mean I think Adobe DTM is just part of it’s part of the marketing cloud and seitan you know they’ve got they’ve got all kinds of products they you know they acquired at a metric.

[00:35:25] So they’ve got a tool for analytics.

[00:35:28] They’ve got I can’t remember what the name of it is but the tag testing tool they have they’ve got a you know something think smaller bits but similar to you know what a tool like observed point does where they can actually set up some monitoring for you. They’ve got their optimization platform which is relatively new for them so they’ve got lots of stuff. Helium has Adient stream which is the one that I think people ask me the most about. Have you seen audience stream and that kind of goes back to the fact that they their data layer is so tightly coupled with their platform that it basically allowed them to push that data anywhere you want it to go including back to their to their servers where then you can push it out in all kinds of different ways. Basically I mean you mentioned the DMP. I mean Odean stream is kind of like a first party DMP for that. Right. And so you know they they’re still pushing out updates weekly for their TV IQ. Their tag management system. But I think audio stream is getting a lot of their focus right now because there’s a lot of people that are interested in tool like that and then signal has fuse. I think they still call it fuse like they still call it fuse. But it’s I mean it’s a similar idea and it’s in it’s more of a platform. So we’re all of these tools were you know they started out as you know basically javascript manipulation tools. It’s much more about the data now.

[00:36:53] Right.

[00:36:54] What insight insight and has something that there that sounds similar to that too right there all sort of that design has debate which is like a takes the data and stuff on your website and allows you to kind of personalize and act on it in real time.

[00:37:09] So unless this goes way down a rabbit hole is the adobe because we talked about Adobe being kind of the suite in the platform. Does the marketing cloud ID concept for Adobe is that them doing similar to what kind of TMX driven ones that are saying we can identify and push and share this data across different systems or is that me trying to draw a parallel. It’s not fair.

[00:37:34] No it’s not exactly the same because the Dobies got an audience manager which is their DMP product. So that because they have a separate complete DMP that can house first second third party data. So DTM inside of the marketing cloud fits in what they’re calling activation rate which is how do you set up the marketing cloud and your organization use activation to make it all happen or before it was called core services. Right. But today they basically are now the mobile SDK and DTM sit inside this construct called activation. So you’ll hear Dhobi talk about it like that. And the idea is that all these other things become enabled from these core services. Right from there. So tag management and that construct fits in terms of supporting all the other pieces of the marketing cloud which is great for Adobe not so great for people who don’t have a marketing cloud. And so that makes the question one wonder like OK well sales force just bought a DMP you know or another DMP I don’t know how many they own now but crux was acquired a little while back. So could they be in the market for a at some point to kind of fulfill or fill out that competitive landscape and to the same extent. Google right doesn’t have a Marketing Cloud. They have a measurement suite but it’s also a marketing cloud. They just like to say that it’s not a marketing cloud but they have a DMP that are coming out with right. They have a tag management tool but it’s all going to basically do the same thing.

[00:39:07] Just a back a little bit specifically and talk about the marketing cloud. Id like what Adobe was when they were hit.

[00:39:14] Yeah but you don’t have to use tag management to enable the marketing cloud visitor IDs or. Absolutely. I understand that you want to add visitor stitching kind of.

[00:39:23] I think I mean that because it seems like that’s what a lot of these other vendors are doing is saying we can kind of collect this in multiple places we can I think an exciting case those they will generate an ID and drop our ID and then we can push that out to a DMP or these other ones that do because you don’t have a DMP doesn’t mean you can’t play in the BE IT visitors stitching or just visitor identification like it’s still nothing you said Michael makes me think that no part of the core of this isn’t too similar but different ways of skinning this cat.

[00:39:58] I want to get as close to a 360 degree view of the customer without naming my product 360 which has nothing to do with really a 360 degree view of the customer.

[00:40:06] Thank you Google. Well hey Adobe was first making weird names for their products. Thank you very much. And to be fair to him I’m not saying that strategy is good bad or indifferent I’m just turn explain how Adobe explains their product suite. I’m not trying to say that’s what everybody should do but I say it is a view.

[00:40:27] So you have a DMP or you’re using a DMP whether it’s part of your core stack and you’re on the adobe stack or the future Google stack or whatever I want to be able to pass information you know go back go back three years four years and my DMP says drop this pixel directly on your site so that we can identify these folks for retargeting or audience development. We’ve kind of moved a little beyond that of saying we’ll do. You shouldn’t just be dropping a dumb pixel at all we know is whatever we passed that pixel you’ve got a data layer enrich that data a little bit maybe you’re shoving it to the other from Adobe to Adobe for the DMP. Maybe you’re shoving it from you know Google to a blue sky. But the tag management with the data layer with a cookie is kind of what’s enabling that right. My way off base. Yeah I mean this is where it gets complicated because and again you know this is where my point of view kind of diverges from where a lot of the vendors in this space are going.

[00:41:32] Is I kind of think it doesn’t make sense to try to make a T. As a backbone of a DMP it’s just get a DMP. If you get a real start to feed the DMP you’re saying what. Well of course. So do the tagging and your TMX use. And so that’s where I kind of have this thing is sort of like I can get and actually you know I personally have not had the opportunity to work with some of those tools but I’ve heard a lot of very positive things about especially Kilimani in the stream so I don’t I’m not trying to say there’s negative things about those tools but they’re not pure DMP yet or are they trying to be.

[00:42:12] I don’t know they want to be either. I mean sitings their unique ID may be a little different but I mean I don’t think pvm wants Saudi instream to be like that.

[00:42:23] I mean I don’t I don’t think any of them are really trying to become the PS but yeah I have a somewhat cynical view in terms of I think DMP today attract a lot of venture attention and acquisition attention. So in a certain sense I’m like yes they do want to be DMP because they need somebody to venture out for them but that’s that’s more of a financial question. You know my point of view about the future of tag management is that it needs to return to where it came from which is we’ll run our websites off of content management systems and in reality the tags we manage are just pieces of content to serve a different purpose and that integration should just keep happening. We need to get closer and closer so that I can run my website and my tags in the same place I can govern all assets including my tags in the same place and I don’t know what that looks like because I don’t like the idea if you buy a CMAX you’re suddenly locked into that TMX like you should still have some freedom of choice. But wouldn’t it be nice if vendors were addressing that so that there was really tight integration. So if I was on APM or I was on site or if I was on dot or whoever’s cool in the CMF space today my TMX is just a sort of an integrated aspect of that then that cover that covers your content tags.

[00:43:42] But then when you go to the your user visit or attributes. Now you’ve got to go and your CMOs to be integrated with your whatever CRM or wherever that might be passing other tags. Yeah I totally agree with you.

[00:43:53] Ideally you tag management just let you deploy any marketing or measurement technology.

[00:43:57] No no no but I’m saying we’re talking more of the data layer right. Because Josh was talking about when I visit a page. I mean at the core there’s sort of two things. What am I viewing and doing and who am I right.

[00:44:09] Yeah there’s basically there’s state data there’s page data for lack of a better word and then there’s you data event data. And so all of those things map into your data layer but you can pass those around once or in a day layer anywhere you want but it’s more about you know just bringing it back to where it all started which is that you know in essence this should have all been built into content management from the beginning or at least that’s that is just one guy’s opinion. And certainly you know the move into you know kind of you know some of the other vendors in this space into sort of what I would say towards DMP is and maybe it’s unfair to call them that and they just find it differently so I don’t want to. Labor that but that I feel like is an area. But I feel like I don’t see a strong feature for that because the more appetite I get for a DMP the more I want to use a DMP and the less I need to use one that isn’t truly a DMP. Mind blown. I mean I don’t know. Are you still there.

[00:45:12] He’s gone make a balance. Yeah yeah.

[00:45:16] I mean I think I think I agree with you I mean I hope that they’re not trying to turn themselves into DMP because there are already some pretty good tools out there that do that. I mean I think that the real power really is you know we’ve got all this data and what can we do with it. So I mean so here here’s an example. So when I was when I first started demystified I remember I went and sat in a in a demo I saw a demo of web trend streams and you know Web trends sort of focus that on you know data visualization like this looks really cool and sort of right at the very end of the conversation they were like and we’re kind of talking with some vendors like an e-mail vendor about you know maybe doing some remarketing where we can take this real time data and remarket to customers and I was like oh that’s that’s actually kind of cool like I don’t know what CEOs are going to pay for data visualization like this. But like when it’s real time data with a purpose that’s much cooler. And like I don’t know that that ever totally materialized.

[00:46:22] And then you know fast forward a year or so and I said demo Williams. Audience stream. And I was like wow this is actually kind of what they were talking about. This is what web trends were saying hey this is you know like another use case we came up with. That’s kind of what we’re I think you know we’ve got all this data what can we do with it how can we push it out to these vendors not just so that they can like keep stats but so that they can act on it in real time so that they can push data back down to the visitor as they engage with the site that might make them more likely to convert or you know maybe we can remarket to them in a different channel like we can send them an email or you know can we.

[00:47:08] That’s the kind of thing that I think is the real power of what do you do with the data. Like I don’t know that you know.

[00:47:16] Yeah I agree with that. The whole point of leveraging this data is to do something different for different people. At that point in time that they need something different done whether that be a different experience a different offer whatever it is. And so to the extent that you can do that with your own site. Awesome. To the extent that you can go outside other vendors and have them leverage that data in real time. That’s also awesome. I just think it’s not it doesn’t necessarily have to happen in the context of sort of you know it living inside of the TMX to the extreme.

[00:47:49] I’ve got to have my dose of extreme skepticism like the gap the gap between we have all this data and here are things we can do with it. I mean I feel like that that is like the bane of the whole industry’s existence and that’s how 70 percent of the stuff gets sold is hey you can.

[00:48:04] Tim you’ve got so much data collected all figured out but it’s so easy to draw.

[00:48:10] I mean the web Prince is a great example of the same thing they had to have this visualization but they talk about it like well wait a minute are you saying that you’re going to have somebody just sitting watching the visualization. Clearly the visualization is just an illustration of what the data is. But guess what. You’ve got to actually operationalize the integration to trigger that stuff. You know it’s marketing automation falls on the same track that you can have all this glorious nurturing program that’s personalized and tailored content. But guess what. You need the content. You have to actually generate stuff and plan. And

[00:48:42] that’s I still get nervous when the vendors are kind of driving the discussion and saying these are the things you can that we can do and that’s great but then to get from somebody saying I am willing to have the resources I’m going to make I get the vision I have the resources I’m willing to make the investment and then stick with it because it’s going to be painful and the devil’s in the flipping details to actually pull this off and instead what happens is I get the vision I have the resources I invest in it and I don’t have the fortitude to actually really plan it out and it’s not driven by. This is specifically the three things that I’m going to do and I’m going to relentlessly march towards that. It’s kind of a buy the tool and then we’ll do all these cool things and there’s a crap ton of business process work that has to be done to get their rent over and ramp Yeah it Bonneau.

[00:49:34] But it makes it immediately makes me think about the personalization episode with Macker Ashraf. We talk about sort of that scaling limit you know as you go into more and more personalization. How do you do that scale. Anyway this is this is great. Josh thank you so much for coming on the show. Your insights are profound and well I would say so. That’s way different than what we usually have just would be when it’s Tim and me. So they do so much but we also love to do a segment on each show called Last Call and we just kind of go around and talk about anything we’ve seen recently that we think is interesting helpful tool. Interesting article whatever it is so I will open it up to go first.

[00:50:22] I’ll start. Since you stole the guy’s name from me this is this falls is sort of interesting and I don’t fully understand it but Mr. Gersch off Macker shot from conductor X wrote a couple of blog posts back a couple of months ago and I can’t quite let them go because I don’t fully understand them and I’ve read them two or three times and he’ll tell me that I do understand them and I don’t. But there’s there’s one is I think the first one they wrote was about prediction pulling and shrinkage which is a fascinating topic and talks about sort of how you can kind of look at the data that you’re working with and kind of split it and kind of work within different ways. And then you followed that up with one that’s segmentation and shrinkage and I aspire to someday fully understand everything that’s in it but they are kind of intriguing posts that I recommend checking out. And if you say Wow that went way over my head then then you’re in company with me if you’d say of Birtukan frequenters versus Basine. I know that and I have a strong opinion than you’re more Gersch off the company but I recommend this kind of a good way to sort of realize there’s always places to grow.

[00:51:33] Nice. All right Josh you got you got one.

[00:51:37] Yes. Mine is actually.

[00:51:38] It’s not like a blog post or something that I that I found out there there’s actually a conversation that I had and it’s actually it was with Tim last week so last week Tim and I were doing some planning and I think it was a good reminder to me that no matter what you do use really small words no matter what you do there’s somebody else out there that wants to know more about it or doesn’t quite understand it. And you know sometimes I think so what facilitates it facilitate the conversation was you know we were talking about I would say and you know I wish I could get all these ideas for blog posts and then I’m like I know what he really wants to know about that because I’m more on the technical side and I think most of the people in this industry come from a little bit different perspective than I do. I don’t know that developers really care to know my insights either because it’s not really you know my development expertise is definitely more focused on the digital analytics space. And Tim immediately wrote down five blog posts he’s like these are five things that I think you could tell. Tell me more about that I’d like to know more about. And I was like oh well this is great because it’s the kind of thing that I come up with that idea and I’d be like oh that’s so simple nobody cares but it’s still you know to somebody that thinks like I do maybe. But you know you guys could write a bunch of blog posts and I’d be like oh wow this is great.

[00:53:00] I never thought of that. It’s just you know sometimes I think we have tunnel vision we only see the world through our own eyes and it’s was just a good reminder to me that you know everybody has something that they can offer other people they just need to figure out exactly what it is.

[00:53:17] Some of the time people are listening to this. This podcast this episode in the time it comes out.

[00:53:20] You’re like man I noticed Josh West has been blogging like this like topics.

[00:53:26] Well actually Josh I’m going to take what you just said and I’m going to replay it for a bunch of people on my team because this is not just you but a lot of people who and I even early on in earlier years felt that way to be like nobody wants to know about this and then you eventually write that blog posts and it’s like everyone’s reading this on your blog and like hey that was a really good article and you’re like oh I guess people do. There are people who find that helpful and that’s a really good learning. So thanks for sharing that. And that’s yeah I’m going to use that as corroboration for what I tell people as well. All right. My last call since we’re talking a little TIMSS I’m going to jump into a little tool that was developed by a Homi of mine by Jim Gordon. It’s a tool called tag Tishman which is sort of right along with dynamic tag manager. It’s a nice little tool for leveraging some of the features better and getting some better information about Adobe DTM. I don’t know if they have plans to build it out for maybe other tools but it’s really cool what they have built so far so I’m giving a little shout out to Jim Gordon Tangaroa. Yeah our right. Well as you’ve been listening to this our pre and our Pariente penultimate episode of the year which is our fourth to last episode. I just had to find a way to work that and then I screwed up the front initiation. Whatever.

[00:55:01] I’m sure you’ve been thinking oh my gosh Michael you are so wrong about the future of Kim s and Josh is so right. Or perhaps vice versa. And if it is vice versa we’d love to hear about it on the matter. I’m just kidding. If you have thoughts or questions or want to talk about what we discussed about tag management. Love to hear from you both on our Facebook page Twitter on the measure slack. I think you’re on the measure slack. Josh If you’re not you will be. I think people are going to be banging on your door soon.

[00:55:29] I am I sort of Harry every once in a while make a small contribution I’m definitely not as active as either youtube though.

[00:55:36] Fair enough. I am. I just basically exist to be that weird drunk helps icon. It’s like. Like is this going to be my claim to fame. This is getting used a lot anyway. It’s OK. Just go with it anyway. So but yeah we’d love to hear from you. Great conversation again with most of our shows we feel like we just crash to the very tippy top of the surface and certainly feels that way here. Thank you Josh for coming on balancing out Tim’s extreme bias tell which tool he liked the best the whole time. It’s what you showed him it is. Yeah exactly. That was probably satellite. It was definitely satire. OK. So there you go. Just like I was shown satellite by Evan Lapointe he showed it to me to see. There you go. Who did he not show it to him.

[00:56:31] Oh anyways it’s been great to have you.

[00:56:33] Thank you so much for coming on the show Josh. Been a pleasure. And for all of you listening out there help turn analyst land because the mess episode. Keep tagging.

[00:56:50] Thanks for listening. And don’t forget to join the conversation on Facebook Twitter or measures like right. We welcome your comments and questions. Facebook dot com folks slash analytics are all. Smart guys want to fit in. So they made up a term called Lily. Don’t worry.

[00:57:14] I’ll say a word. And Josh you say that person that comes to your mind. Right. Give me and give me crap.

[00:57:28] That I told you. I pay very close attention to what Joseph Stan hope is doing. OK. Well I think for better or for. Me. What’s the most important thing on a piece that goes off the cheap. So apparently the fourth to last the pre antepenultimate. So I think that’s definitely getting. You know I guess I’m still a little offended that you guys like a show about the endless power our police bring on somebody who knows about time management and I was like you. I thought. OK we’ll fix it. There’s a lock on the door and I wanted my wife beforehand she had to keep it away. It’s quite all right. A. Flag tag manager.

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