Tag management systems (TMS) that automate the placement and management of digital marketing vendor tags can provide significant benefits, according to a new survey from Econsultancy and Tealium. Results of “The ROI of Tag Management” indicate TMS technology reduces cost and time-to-market of managing tags, while improving website speed and security.

Tags are Important, Complex

TMS technology works by placing a single line of code on website pages that replaces the manual deployment of individual tags. Instead of coding lines of HTML and Javascript on individual pages, users instead have access to tags through a single web portal. Digital marketing vendor tags can provide numerous additional features and functions to a site, including (but not limited to) web analytics, search marketing, email, personalization, and social media.

Survey respondents, who were mostly executives and managers from global companies operating across a wide range of industries, agreed that tags are both important and complex. Almost nine in 10 (87%) said effectively managing website tags is fundamental to digital marketing, while about the same percentage (88%) said complexity in digital marketing will continue to increase.

The survey indicates TMS users are able to place and update tags more efficiently than manual taggers. TMS users average 19 site tags, almost double the 10 site tags used by manual taggers, while 44% of TMS users update tags more than once per month, compared to 24% of manual taggers.

TMS Reduces Cost and Time of Tagging

In terms of providing actual ROI, a majority of TMS users credited the technology with reducing both the cost and the time associated with tagging. A combined 73% of TMS users said it made tagging costs significantly (45%) or somewhat (28%) less expensive, while a combined 64% said it made website speed significantly (34%) or somewhat (30%) faster. In addition, a combined 74% of TMS users said it has made the speed of running marketing campaigns significantly (42%) or somewhat (32%) faster. 

Cost, Understanding Slow TMS Adoption

Manual taggers cited a number of reasons they have not yet adopted TMS, with cost/budget (54%) and limited understanding (48%) the most popular by a significant margin. Only 28% mentioned finding the right vendor, the third-most-popular reason for not adopting TMS. Interestingly, 14% of manual taggers said they have no need for TMS.

TMS Can Also Ease IT/Marketing Tensions 

In February 2011, CMSWire ran an article explaining the concept and potential benefits of TMS. One interesting benefit not covered in the survey is that by easing tag placement and management, TMS can help ease tensions between the IT and marketing departments that arise from disputes over who controls the deployment of code on a site and what types of functionality should be delivered.

The article also cites a real-life example of TMS time-savings: Nestle Purina saved more than 600 hours in deploying Omniture SiteCatalyst across a dozen sites using TMS technology.

Survey results (especially those that come with a corporate sponsor) always need to be looked at with a bit of healthy skepticism and one company’s success does not automatically translate to everyone else, but TMS certainly sounds worth investigating.