In Part 1 of this two-part interview with Harry and David‘s Shanti Shunn, we discussed the need for tag management, particularly insofar as attribution is concerned. In the second part of our conversation, Shanti talks about the importance of privacy and criteria for selecting a tag management vendor.
Is privacy a consideration for you as a tag management benefit?
It’s a different beast and is becoming a bigger beast. The EU passed their do-not-track legislation basically saying people can opt out of any third-party cookies for a website, with some exceptions for retail. This is driving over to the US as well. It’s not fully fleshed out, but it’s getting close.
One of the things that really made me look at TagMan was because of their large EU based they’d already had to develop mechanisms for people to opt-out of the generic third-party cookies.
It’s a benefit to consumers, but a bigger point of this is it means smart businesses need to develop better, richer, first-party cookies
A vendor’s only going to give you the information they can give you without dipping into trends for other vendors. That’s what NDAs cover. A rich data type tag becomes a much larger value.
Having been through the process, how would you recommend first-time buyer approach the RFP process for a tag management vendor?
Speed should be the last consideration. If you’re going with a smart tag management company you’re going to get that benefit. Do an internal business analysis to understand how many vendors have duplicate order IDs. Dump them in Excel and look for duplications. If your affiliates have a 10 percent overlap with paid search, that’s 10% of sales you multi-reported. Comparison shopping can be another aspect of mis-reporting. So the first step is to internally do your homework and know if it’s something that you need. Almost anyone with a robust affiliate program should look at tag management because of the CPA aspect. There will always be some financial savings.
When you look at the actual tag management companies, look at service levels. At Harry and David the bulk of our business comes in the last two month of the year. It’s a huge strain on our site and servers. You want to make sure a tag management vendor can support you through that period. That may be 24/7 technical support.
The tag company’s infrastructure is a key thing to look at: how do they handle their own caching?
One key thing for us was the do-not-track legislation in Europe. We do limited sales in Europe, and sell to Canada, so we asked, “Who’s the most likely company to be at the forefront to provide some ability to users and have something in place to opt out of third-party tracking?” That was one of our major reasons for looking at TagMan. They’d been working on that because of the European legislation. That gave us more confidence in their ability to help us stay current on legislation as it moves into the US.
It comes down to your own internal functional analysis to provide benefits: cleaner tracking, better attribution models, etc.
The second step is looking at the technology these companies can bring.
The third is making sure you have a good technical understanding of what they do.
Finally, look at the benefit to your site speed. Of course, if you’re SEO-centric, this could be number three.