Not everyone is born an engineer, but we’re all living in the digital age. Websites rapidly evolve, technologies advance with blazing speed, and marketers need to keep up with dozens of new solutions born every month.


Any business with a digital presence needs a well-built website, that can reflect the way visitors interact with their company. And for those who know how to thrive in the digital world, this translates into accurate tracking and analytics deployment.


There are moreover 3,800 different marketing and advertising technologies currently in the industry, and often analysts and marketers around the world need to manage a wide selection of those for their websites. No matter how determined you are, without a tag management solution, this is an impossible task.


A tag management system is designed to help you manage these ‘tags’ and to integrate third-party software into a digital property.


TMS’ usually provide a friendly user interface where you can deploy tags on your website via different templates readily available on the platform. In theory, you should be able to add some snippets of text to the template, for example, the name of the tag, without actually needing to have coding skills. But that’s not completely accurate.


Often marketers still need to tweak the JavaScript code to adapt the templates to their needs.


The Rise and Fall of Adobe DTM

This is the reason why DTM – Dynamic Tag Management – from Adobe, one of the most popular Tag Management solutions, started to get lost into oblivion.


The tool started out great. Adobe introduced DTM after it originally acquired it from Satellite in 2013. According to Adobe, more than 40% of all beacons being sent from all data collected by Adobe Analytics came through DTM.


One of the reasons it got so popular is because it was offered for free along with any purchased Adobe Solution. So, if you were using any Adobe solution, you were automatically getting DTM.


The solution has been very successful, but they ran into a problem: DTM was built to make it easy to deploy Adobe Solutions and only Adobe Solutions. For anything else, there was quite the hassle.


“Our customers on average have 25-30 different solutions that they’re putting on their site. So they came to us and said: thanks for solving your problem, would you mind solving our problem?”, said Corey Spencer, Group Product Manager, Activation Core Services, in a video interview for Adobe.


The DTM community was asking for a solution to help them easily integrate third-party software other than Adobe. You simply could not do it easily.


Adobe’s direction is becoming clear: DTM will be kept in maintenance mode for the next few years, giving users enough time to switch to a different tag management system. Starting July 2019, DTM will no longer allow the creation of new properties. Next, in July 2020, DTM properties will enter a Read-Only mode, without the possibility to edit or create rules or data elements. Finally, starting December 31st, 2020, DTM will go dark.


So, if you’re still using DTM, it’s time to consider switching to a new Tag Management System.


Alternatives to Adobe’s Dynamic Tag Management solution

The most frequently used Tag Management Systems today are Adobe Launch, Tealium IQ and Google Tag Manager. Each comes with its own pros and cons, so it’s important to evaluate each one closely to determine which is best for your needs.

Adobe Launch

After countless talks with their customers and partners, Adobe thought about what would be the next step, about how they can improve their Tag Management Solution. They wanted that, instead of making it fairly easy to do pretty simple things and just manageable to do complex things, to make it more efficient and effective for people to deal with the web the way it is today.


This is how Adobe Launch was born. For the technical side of things, Launch is an advanced JavaScript delivery system. It helps in delivering HTML, CSS, and JS to web pages. Launch is an open source platform, built with an extensible framework, using a robust API.


In order to scale DTM, Adobe needed to make it an open platform. So the company decided to create Launch to allow its partners and customers to build into the ecosystem, so they can extend its capabilities beyond what Adobe can do on its own.


Adobe’s idea with Launch is to enable as many people to solve the problems that made DTM a difficult platform to use. This is why they’re using an open source platform, so we can get as many people thinking about solving problems while still owning the solution.  


While Adobe Launch offers, in theory, a lot of flexibility and control, being the newest Tag Management system, the community is yet to show a significant contribution. There is a lot of potential, but for the moment, the extensions are limited in comparison to older products in the market.


Tealium IQ

Tealium IQ is one of the most versatile TMS platforms on the market. It offers users access to an extensive tag marketplace, where you can almost certainly find anything you need. It is also easy to create your own tag if you find yourself in an unusual situation when you need something that’s not already in the template library.


It has more than 50 extensions and over 1,000 vendor integration offered via APIs or tags, and you can easily deploy any new technology. The platform is highly flexible, with cloud-based delivery.


This TMS also offers Data Layer API, which enables remote management of universal data objects. With this solution, organizations can dynamically manage and inject data definitions in the website without any coding knowledge.


Another benefit would be that you can command and control your data, giving you the ability to inherit properties across site profiles, assign user-level permissions, set-up multiple deployment environments for testing, etc.


Unlike Launch, it has an already established community, being one of the more mature Tag Management solutions on the market. You can find answers to even the most complicated questions you might have.


Google Tag Manager

GTM is one of the most popular Tag Management Systems since it’s free and easy to use.


Google Tag Manager gives users the ability to add and update their own tags for conversion tracking, site analytics, and remarketing purposes. It has an intuitive design and UI, and engineers, marketers and analysts alike will have an easy time getting used to GTM.


Google Tag Manager allows users to add or change tags easily, as needed. Google’s solution offers easy-to-use turnkey templates for a wide range of both Google and third-party tags for web and mobile apps.


Workspaces and granular access controls allow your team to work together efficiently, while multi-environment testing lets you publish to different environments to ensure everything is working as expected.


GTM also features multi-account support and multi-user support, with user-level permissions.


GTM users can leverage the debug features provided with the tool, to make sure their tags are correct before deploying live on a website. Google Tag Manager also features auto-event triggers. Analysts can simply set tags to fire with certain on-site events, without any extra code.

About the author

Sebastian Stan

Sebastian is a journalist and digital strategist with years of experience in the news industry, social media, content creation and management, and digital analytics.

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