Transcending Tags To Meet Experience Era Expectations

Marketing Cloud

Tag management isn’t just about tags. It’s about experiences. Traditionally, tag management has been a means to an end — the means of configuring webpage technologies with the intent of improving functionality. To keep up with the expectations around experiences, the time has come to transcend that tradition.

Next-generation tag managers aren’t simply tools for deploying technologies — although that remains an important feature. Next-gen tag management systems integrate technologies while helping to control the transfer of data in order to unify disparate technologies and provide a seamless experience for customers.

Let’s look at how Adobe Cloud Platform Launch — or Launch for short — works to transcend the traditional view of tags. To enable world-class customer experiences, Launch breaks away from the restrictions of tag templates, empowers technology providers to develop their own integrations, unifies disparate technologies, and allows businesses to automate even the most complex tasks.

Breaking the Bands of Templates

A primary reason first-gen tag management systems are doomed to obsolescence is because of the way they handle integration of third-party technologies. In first-gen tag managers, integrations come by way of templates. Jon Viray, product marketing lead for Launch by Adobe, explains the problem with templates. “These templates allow for only limited functionality, often related only to configuration. The templates themselves simply aren’t flexible enough to properly enable the experience business. When the use case get’s too complex, these templates often fail to meet the business’ needs.”

In order to give customers the kinds of experiences they seek, the capabilities of a technology can’t be bound by tag templates.

Launch breaks out of templates with open architecture. This means technology providers can now develop their own integrations. We call these integrations Extensions. By giving the experts (technology providers) the ability to build, upgrade, and maintain Extensions, businesses can now have integrations that are rich with functionality.

Eliminating the Bottleneck of Third-party Integrations

By building on an open architecture, Launch puts control of extensions back into the hands of the people who know those technologies best. For most tag managers, the in-house development team is responsible for building the integrations for third-party technologies. Jon warns what happens when development is kept closed.”If the development of integrations is confined to one relatively small group of people, the “innovation potential” is small. On the other hand, if any developer in the world can innovate, then we have something really powerful. This is what Launch does.”

By opening the ecosystem to all developers, Launch removes the bottleneck that stands in the way of innovation. Now developers anywhere can build valuable technologies and then build equally valuable Extensions to enable deployment and deliver full functionality. No more watered-down integrations that are limited by templates.

For example, Facebook can develop a technology and then  build an Extension for the new technology — or update their existing Extension to include it. And without being limited to a set of functions in a template, the new technology can be fully deployable inside Launch — all without needing to wait for Adobe’s developers to write the code.

To further accelerate deployment, Launch hosts a catalog of Extensions — similar to an app store — where you can browse existing integrations.

Unifying the Layers of Digital Experience

A web page is made of three layers: the top layer where users interact, the middle layer where data moves around, and the foundation layer where the technologies sit. Traditional, first-gen tag managers use tags to imbed the technologies into that foundational layer. This is a critical function, but the utility of tags doesn’t need to stop there.

Jon says, “A tag management system is like the control center of all of the technology on your web page. A faulty command center will lead to poor customer experiences.” Launch uses tags to embed technologies but also to enable the flow of data between technologies, paving the way for data sharing and smoother, unified experiences for end users.

Integrating Disparate Technologies for Orchestrated Customer Experiences

With first-gen tag management, technologies usually deliver on their promise to deploy a technology, but when it comes to unifying those technologies they often fail. Launch’s open architecture  demolishes technology barriers in a way that allows third-party technologies to work together.

This unification comes by way of Launch’s unique Rule Builder system. “Launch’s Rule Builder helps facilitate the cooperation of multiple technologies through the use of if/then statements,” Jon says. “For example, you could create a rule that says, ‘If a visitor is on a page for longer than 5 minutes, run Adobe Analytics to track this engagement, a help video from YouTube, and a customer care survey through ForeSee.’ And we can do all that with one if/then statement.”

Being able to activate multiple technologies simultaneously helps to provide unified experiences to the customer with minimal effort. Additionally, the open architecture of Launch means that a third-party developer can create new functionality in Launch that other technologies can then  call on, further blending and integrating everything into one cohesive whole — resulting in a seamless and, therefore, competitive customer experience.

Automating for Speed at Scale

Launch has a beautiful interface with a wide range of functionality. In fact, Launch is infinitely functional because the user interface (UI) can be adapted to meet any specification. For instance, if a customer doesn’t like how Launch looks, they can design their own tag management interface and then extend all the functionality in Launch into that interface. But, the ability to interact with Launch doesn’t stop in the UI. Launch’s open APIs  mean that you can actually interact with Launch without ever accessing the interface.

Where most people will find the interface highly useful, a technical user like a developer can actually shortcut around the interface and work directly with the APIs to automate changes. Launch was designed with APIs at the core — rather than as bolt-on pieces.

The ability to automate basically anything means that companies can save significant time when they want to make changes that reach into the full breadth of their digital properties. Instead of updating one page at a time, a developer can program Launch to make the update across hundreds or thousands of pages automatically, reducing turnaround from weeks or months to seconds. This enables companies to keep up with the pace of change in customer expectations, delivering new, relevant content at scale and speed.

Transcendence Is Here

First-gen tag managers were revolutionary in their time. Back when there were only a few hundred fairly simple marketing technologies and companies only used one or two per page, the old way worked fine. That was then. Now we are harnessing more — and more-complex — technologies every day to do things nobody could have imagined five years ago. Launch is designed to transcend the traditional tag manager and evolve over time to meet the needs of experience era marketers and customers.

As technologies grow and change, Launch will grow and change with them, enabling companies to harness everything they need to deliver the world-class experiences that customers now expect. It’s time to rise above traditional tag managers. It’s time to use Launch.

For more information about what Adobe Cloud Platform Launch can do for your business, read our ebook on transcending tags, then visit the Adobe Launch page to check out our cutting-edge tag management system.

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