Have you ever taken over a client and needed an entire week to make sense of the website tagging? Or wondered why a specific tag was implemented? Why a certain button isn’t tagged? What does a certain tag do? If you still need it? If you even created it?
I know you have, we all have. And that is why you should always have a tagging plan at the ready.
A tagging plan will make your work, your colleagues’ work, and all parties involved with the website’s work about a hundred times easier. With a tagging plan on hand, you’ll have all the information you need in one centralized place. Any updates are easy to follow up and any changes will be logged. When the time comes to update the website, change funnel tracking, or switch the client to a new manager, you’ll have virtually no work as everything is well documented and up to date.
In this article, we’ll go over the contents and set-up of a tagging plan, the business impact of having or not having one, and how to use it.
What is a tagging plan?
A tagging plan is a document that includes all information about the tracking and tagging of a certain website. It can have any format you like, but we like to use an excel document. In the tagging plan, you’ll find different tabs that describe in detail how the tracking is set up and why it is done this way. A tagging plan allows you to have an overview of the tracking and how this is connected to the goals of the corresponding website.
Who is a tagging plan for?
As previously mentioned, the tagging plan will facilitate different tasks for all parties involved with the creation, set-up, and follow-up of a website. This ranges from the website owner, the web developers (back-end and front-end) to the analytics teams, or even media agencies.
Why do you need a tagging plan?
With the creation and correct updates of a tagging plan, this document will allow for an overview of different aspects of your (client’s) website. You’ll be able to easily:
- Keep business and/or website goals at the forefront of your tagging strategy
- Start with a plan instead of tagging anything and everything → Be mindful about which tracking to implement
- Centralize and update relevant information for all parties involved
- Check back to your one source of truth in case of changes or issues
- Align different aspects of your tagging implementation, such as a naming convention to ensure clean and usable data
- Implement a website overhaul, new goals, and new tools,..
- Hand over the project to someone else
What is the business impact of having (or not having) a tagging plan?
A tagging plan is not only useful for the expert in question but is also a crucial step to create an effective tracking strategy. Oftentimes the tracking strategy of a website is overlooked or comes as an afterthought. Advertisers easily skip the tagging plan step and dive straight into the actual tagging implementation. However, without a plan in place, it would be quite difficult to create a coherent business goal-driven tracking setup.
Taking the extra step of creating and properly reflecting on a tagging plan will allow for a set-up that makes sense, tracks the correct information, and doesn’t track useless information. As we’ve all experienced, tracking too much data can be as cumbersome as tracking too little. Furthermore, it will make for a flexible tracking set-up that lasts and doesn’t have to be recreated every 2 months.
TLDR: No tagging plan → no proper tracking → random data → skewed results and business decisions.
How do you create a tagging plan and what should be included?
A tagging plan can have any format you’d like. The only requirements are:
- All information on the tagging should be included and linked to the website and/or business goals
- You should implement a naming convention so the formatting of the entire document and its external implementations correspond
Let’s go over our Clicktrust tagging template’s different sections and what should be included in each of them.
We use a spreadsheet with different tabs and links to have a clear document structure. Feel free to add comments and notes to make sure all viewers of this document understand what is meant.
- Overview – Includes an overview with links to the different tabs and a short explanation of each tab.
- Business Objectives – Includes the different business objectives that need to be achieved/tracked on the website. This overview will give you insights as to what to include in the rest of the tagging plan.
- Google Analytics structure – a representation of your Google Analytics account with different properties, views, and linked accounts.
- Channel Grouping – an overview of any custom channel grouping you might implement in your Analytics account.
- Events – an overview of all analytics events you capture in your account with all of the data they should transfer.
- Conversions – an overview of the conversions (goals) you capture in your account. These will allow for correct data and business goal tracking within Google Analytics and subsequently any reports.
- Google Tag Manager – an overview of all the tags in your GTM container, with triggers and variables. You should create different tabs for each GTM container should you have more than one. Make sure to also include any custom variables if there are any.
- Enhanced E-commerce – an overview of data layer items needed to properly follow up on the performance of your (client’s) webshop.
If you don’t want to go through the process of creating your own tagging plan, we’ve created a freebie for you based on our very own CLICKTRUST tagging template. Fill out your details below to receive it directly in your inbox.
How to use your tagging plan?
- As mentioned before, it is primordial to think about what the tagging will look like in advance. The first step is thus, to fill out the document before you start tagging.
- Send the document for approval to all parties involved to make sure everyone is on the same page and the business goals are correct.
- Should there be a need to set up a custom data layer, you can use this document as a reference point between the business, the tagging expert, and the developers. Communicate clearly which variables/parameters / .. are needed and which data they should represent.
- Implement partner implementations and have them review and validate their respective tags/tag information. Ask them to review the document regularly and keep information centralized.
- Schedule a review of this document every 6 months to a year to make sure everything is still up to date. Clean up your tagging if necessary. Also, request feedback from partners if they have active tags in your containers and make sure they are up to date.
Hopefully, you already have one version or another of a tagging plan set up, and if not, this is your chance to take a look at your entire set-up and do a deep clean. Make sure to log everything right now and you’ll be all set for the future. Have fun tagging!
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