Adobe DTM: Digital Analytics Made Easy

In today's online driven world, tracking relevant interactions in all of your customers' touch-points is arguably THE most important thing you should be doing as someone in marketing or e-commerce.

Digital analytics will enable you to segment your audience, serve personalised content for better conversion, remove pain points in a purchase funnel, know what your best channels are and exploit them, among many other tactics.

Websites, search engines, social networks, email, apps, banners, video, forms, shopping carts, content personalisation, A/B testing, leads, etc. all give you useful information, and should be measured in one way or another. But with an ever-expanding list of touch-points, there's also an ever-expanding list of marketing technology platforms.

A paradigm shift

Not many years ago you almost certainly had to use more than one digital marketing tool for a useful digital marketing experience. Every time you wanted to add or change something in your digital marketing setup your developers needed to swing by and help you out: They needed to implement tracking tags, remove tags you no longer used, develop logic triggers or maybe even customise your site's functionality and markup just to be compatible with a tool. Testing new setups with your current tools or adding a completely new one to your marketing technology mix always meant more work for your developers.

This dependency and friction between marketing and programmers is sure to blame for a lot of unrealised marketing potential. The result were month-long ticket queues for the next release, added bureaucracy, meetings, trainings, conflicting priorities, and so on. The fact that most developers don't understand marketing lingo, and most marketers can't explain requirements in technical lingo didn't help either. Due to any of these reasons:

  • your new tracking code was not deployed in time for that key winter campaign; 
  • fixing your e-commerce tracking took almost three months, and by the time you and your developers understood each other, the high season had gone by; 
  • you would love to do detailed form analysis, but after only thinking about the hassle that it implies, you give up the idea.

This is where tag managers really shine, and Adobe's Dynamic Tag Management (DTM) shines quite bright.

Adobe DTM removes most of the dependency and workload from your developers, and abstracts most of the programming in a user-friendly interface, which frees up marketers to add tracking codes, build logic triggers, and iterate through tool settings with a few clicks.

The two easy steps to make it work

Sounds great. So how does it work? Your developers only have to implement literally two lines of code on your website: one at the header, and one at the footer of the pages. These two lines of code will create a container of tags in which you can add, remove, change or enhance virtually any tracking tags through a friendly GUI. And by “friendly” we mean simple and good-old check boxes, radio buttons, text fields, buttons, etc., where actual programming is only optional.

 

One small line of code in the header and one in the footer make all the difference

 

With DTM, adding new marketing technology platforms to your mix or making changes to your existing tracking setup is a matter of logging into DTM, changing or adding tools, changing or adding rules and publishing the changes. All through DTM. No developers involved.

Now, if the conditions of your rules are met, your container will dynamically deploy the tracking code. Your developers didn't have to add anything else on the source code.

No developers, really?

No. Not really. At least not always really. But most of the times, yes. No developers. Really.

If your site has inconsistent markup, non-default form submissions, a lot of AJAX, a lot of Flash or a lot of iFrames you will need your developers to either: make amendments on the site or write custom scripts within the tag manager.

Also, you will need at least a basic notion of HTML, CSS and Javascript. But don't be afraid: when we say basic notion, we mean it. Just ask your developers to give you a crash course on these topics one afternoon, and then you'll be off flying.

So, the truth is that tag managers can't remove the friction from developers and marketing completely, but they do reduce it a whole lot. Nevertheless, tag managers always have the option of adding “custom code”, and this is normally Javascript.

The best way of removing most of this friction is with a tag manager AND complete adherence to common web best-practices. If this is coupled with even more advanced standards, like a data layer, then the friction will be truly minimal, and that's when you will get the most out of DTM, or any tag manager.

What makes Adobe DTM so powerful

The real strength of Adobe DTM, versus other tag managers on the market, is the focus on rules rather than the focus on tags. Adobe calls it the “top-down approach”.

This is significant because most tag managers focus on adding default support for as many platforms (tags) as possible, which is nice enough, but the real deal about tracking interactions on your site is the when to track them. You don't want to tag all your visitors with all your tags all the time. You want as much control over it as possible, and you also want your page load speed to not suffer.

You can set up very powerful and detailed rules to control your tags. For example, you can choose to fire your retargeting tag only:

  • IF there's a specific parameter in the URL, 
  • AND the cookie shows it's a returning visitor, 
  • AND the user clicked on the newsletter subscription button.

Adobe DTM makes it easy to build almost any rule you like

 

Firing tags against this level of segmentation is almost unique to DTM.

Feeling excited? Don't worry - you should. Tag managers revolutionised the way marketing technology is used in the same way that content management systems (CMSs) revolutionised the creation of websites. And, as it happened with CMSs, tag managers are poised to be the standard way of deploying tracking tags.

Have anything to add? Feel free to comment; we would love to hear your opinion. Are you passionate about digital marketing? Send us an email: We are constantly hiring.

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