It was May 25th, 2018 when the infmaous European GDPR law came into effect. Any serious online company operating within the European Union immediately, if they had not done so already, took action to sort out its website’s tracking solution. The frenzy that lead up to that day, and during the many weeks thereafter, had a single goal: to give the website visitor more control over which advertising tags and analytics tags were used to track their behavior. Now almost a year down the road we ask ourselves, how good is the match between tag mangement systems and GDPR?

So what does GDPR really try to solve?

Regardless of the effect of GDPR almost a year after its launch, the main goal is to offer website visitors the choice of how they are tracked by the, often, plethora of digital marketing tools implemented on an average website. From remarketing to DMPs, from qualitative clickstream data to qualitative visitor feedback, evey tag was fair game as far as GDPR was concerned.

GDPR was there to force website owners to give its visitor the option. The visitor could now choose which tags would to track their behavior during their current and subsequent visits to the website. Using so called Cookie Consent Banners, the rule of thumb was to not track any visitor behavior until the visitor explicity gave permission to be tracked.

How is GDPR doing so far? Does GDPR really work? Most likely not as much as the European Union had initially hoped. How much resources did online companies rely on in order to get their tags GDPR-proof? A lot by some of the stories that I have personally caught wind of.

Tag Management Systems and GDPR

What do you need to do to prevent the tracking of a visitor’s behavior? Easy, just check the visitor’s selected cookie consent level before serving each advertising tag or web analytics tracker. Or maybe not so easy after all. To achieve full GDPR compliance you will need to put each tracking tag behind a conditional statement that will check if the visitor has opted in to being tracked, and unless you are using a tag management system this will be a daunting taks.

Consider the long run, too. Will you still be using your current cookie consent solution or will you switch? The ramafications will cost your company time and resources to, yet again, fix the serving of tracking tags. Here are some statistics on the number of tags deteced on homepages alone on:

  • 12 tags –
  • 12 tags –
  • 14 tags –
  • 15 tags –
  • 17 tags –
  • 35 tags –

So when you take into consideration that on average your development team will need to adjust 15 to 20 advertising tags scripts, tag management systems can quickly turn out to be your safe (and money saving) haven.

Tag smart, tag with a tag management system

In a tag management system implementing a GDPR proof tag plan, or updating it, can in most cases be done without additional costs for development resources. So making the case to use a tag management system is clear cut. GDPR’s dependency on tag management systems not only benefits your website’s visitors, but it also helps make and maintain your website to be GDPR compliant.

By defining tag implementation procedures care can also be given to future tags that will need to be added. Of course, adding a tag through a tag management system is straight forward enough, but when GDPR is in play, a fixed procedure to ensure your continued compliancy will help.

If there ever was a moment to embrace a tag management system like Google Tag Manager, Tealium IQ or Segment, just to name a few, this would be it. Migrating your advertising tags and digital analytics tags to a tag manager will help you gain more control, especially from a GDPR perspective, over when, where and if you can serve tracking tags. Our advice is to start combining the strength of tag management systems and GDPR today.

Tagticians offers support for tag management systems, including GDPR compliancy checks and optimizations. Have any questions, please feel free to contact us today.