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What is Tag Auditing?

Ah yes, web tags — the little snippets of JavaScript from your various marketing and analytics vendors that enable data collection and other marketing capabilities. They’re the best. And the worst.

On a good day, tags make it possible to collect web visitor behavioral data to help you better understand customers, experiment with content, and provide better experiences.

But that’s on a good day. Too often tags fail due to unexpected errors resulting from routine changes to your site.

When existing tags fail, it can jeopardize data collection and decision-making.

So what do you do? I’ve got two words for you: Tag Auditing.

So What Is a Website Tag Audit? An Analogy

A good way to understand a tag audit is through a basic analogy.

If your website were a physical storefront, your tags would be like team members responsible for monitoring and reporting on the behavior of prospective customers that came marching through the door.

The insights these team members gathered could be helpful for understanding how visitors browse your store, find what they’re looking for, make a purchase decision, and so on.

So, if a store’s team members are the tags, what is a tag audit? A tag audit would be the oversight of a store manager who makes sure each team member shows up, does their job, and is organized. In doing so, the manager can ensure that customer insights are complete and correct.

Okay, now let’s step out of the analogy, and explain this one more time.

What Is Tag Auditing?

Tag auditing is a systematic, comprehensive evaluation of which tags are on your site, what data they’re collecting, and whether that data is accurate.

An individual conducting a tag audit can either do so manually by using a tag debugger or automatically by using a tag auditing tool.

In cases where the tag audit is conducted using automation, the cloud-based software crawls a designated website and renders the code on every page to test for the functionality of each tag.

That’s a tag audit. As an example, take a look at the below video to see how ObservePoint’s Technology Governance solution handles audits.

(Side Note: Tag management and tag auditing are not the same thing. Check out this blog post.)

Tag Auditing vs. Tag Monitoring

You may have also come across the concept of tag monitoring. Tag auditing and tag monitoring have a lot in common, though there is a nuanced difference.

Like tag auditing, tag monitoring is concerned with testing for broken analytics and marketing tags. Both tag auditing and tag monitoring can be considered elements of tag governance.

But tag monitoring takes things a step beyond audits by incorporating something called a journey. A journey is a sequential scan of an important conversion path on your site, testing for event-triggered analytics and marketing tags. By combining audits and journeys, analytics and marketing stakeholders can better govern their tags.

See how ObservePoint handles Journeys in their Technology Governance platform.

Manual Audits vs. Automated Audits

Companies that have yet to adopt an automated solution for auditing their tags have to rely on manual debugging efforts.

The three biggest problems with manual audits are the following:

  1. They’re manual
  2. They’re manual
  3. Oh yeah, they’re manual

Manual audits take a lot of time and resources, since your website likely has thousands of tags and is frequently updated. Plus they’re prone to human error, and the sheer size of your site makes it impossible to audit everything manually.

Now consider what you cold do with automation. For one ObservePoint client who used Technology Governance to automatically scan their martech implementations, a prominent pharmaceutical digital marketing agency turned what used to be a recurring 16-hour vetting process into something that takes only minutes—resulting in as much as an 87.5% increase in employee efficiency. You can read the full case study here.

Consider Tag Auditing

Overall, incorporating tag auditing into your analytics and market practices will enable you to:

  • Trust your data
  • Be more efficient
  • Maximize the value of your technology investments
  • Create a better user experience
  • Protect against data loss

To get a better sense of how ObservePoint’s Technology Governance platform can help you audit your tags, take a look at the below 9-minute walkthrough, or request a custom audit of your own site.

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