One counterpoint to all of Google’s spring cleaning: it’s also moving ahead with launching new features. Tag Manager, out today, is aimed at help websites speed up their load times and make modifying them a little more efficient to boot, with the introduction of all-in-one coding that links up with analytics and other advertising and marketing services.
The challenge that Google is trying to fix is this: there are a lot of analytics, marketing and advertising services that websites can use today to monitor how their content is used, and to better monetize that content. But with each service comes a bit of code that needs to be incorporated into the site. Each piece of code means speaking with different third-party services, and that can slow a site down to no end. (Just look at the bottom of your screen on a slow-loading site and you can often see the passage of these different services.)
On top of that, incorporating new code for each analytics, marketing or advertising service can take up to two weeks to do.
Tag Manager aims to solve that by creating single tags that link up with all of these services in one go, meaning quicker loading times, and quicker coding turnarounds. Google has preset some services for users — predictably, those of its own AdWords, DoubleClick and Google Analytics — but it also lets users add in their own selection. Google also has started a vendor program, from today, that also gives companies the chance to create their own templates.
Features in Google Tag Manager from today point to Google aiming this not just at single developers but much larger organizations, too. They include asynchronous tag loading for faster load times, “tags can fire faster without getting in each other’s way, and without slowing down the user-visible part of the page,” Laura Holmes, Product Manager, writes in a blog post; tag templates (which really are easy to use; I’ve tried it), aimed at marketers to add tags; preview mode to test out the tags; a debug console and a version history to track your changes and revert if necessary; user permissions and multi-account functionality “to make it easy for large teams and agencies and clients to work together with appropriate levels of access.” More features are coming online soon, Holmes writes.
The service is launching globally today in English, with local-language versions coming down the line soon.
Third-parties that offer a way for sites to manage and consolidate their tagging are not new. There have been companies around since about 2007 offering such services. In fact one of the earlier movers in this space, QuBit, was founded by ex-Googlers and now has some 1,200 enterprises using its own Open Tag service. Graham Cooke, the MD of QuBit, supports the idea of Google moving into this space. “When Google Analytics emerged as a free product, it didn’t kill that space. It made it,” he explains, and he believes that with tagging services still in a relatively nascent phase, the same could happen here. “This is a revolutionary way of viewing one’s data platform, because the more you can measure, the more value you can give to your customers,” he adds.
While Google offers its Tag Manager for free, those like QuBit who offer it as a paid service will include features like SLAs and other managed service elements.