Adobe DTM, a veteran from the Adobe suite, is starting to fall completely off the radar after Adobe announced in 2017 that they’re replacing the dynamic tag management solution with a completely new product, Adobe Launch. 

Following the Launch announcement, Adobe provided a timeline for DTM’s future, according to which the tag manager will be sunset in 2021. 

According to that timeline, starting this month (July 2019), users will not be able to create new properties only manage existing ones. 

One year from now, in July 2020, DTM properties will enter a read-only mode. This means that users will not be able to create or edit tools, rules or data elements. Also, users won’t be able to publish to DTM environments, which will have a significant impact on previously published libraries. 

The final drop will land on January 12, 2021, when DTM will go dark. Servers will be decommissioned, the documentation will go offline and communities will be removed. Adobe says this will have no impact on previously published libraries. However, DTM users should start executing plans to upgrade their TMS solutions, either to Launch or an alternative. 

The sharp decrease in popularity is evident even from the charts. In the latest Tag Management Solution Market 2019 report, DTM was not even mentioned among the solutions you should be looking at. Other options, such as GTM, Launch, Ensighten, Tealium, Piwik PRO or Qubit had the spotlight.

How to upgrade from DTM to Launch 

Since the question is no longer “if”, but rather “when” DTM will go dark, analysts should already start exploring other options. If you’re already using DTM, you might want to take into consideration upgrading to Launch. 

The upgrade process was designed by Adobe to be as simple as possible. According to their statements, the product team was tasked with one non-negotiable requirement: to automate the upgrade process to the greatest extent. 

Therefore, analysts should be able to perform the migration on their own, without assistance from the engineering team. 

To migrate to Launch, you don’t need to change any of the code on your web pages previously used for DTM. Both DTM and Launch work by publishing a container tag – a JS file containing everything your tags need to function the way they are configured. 

Launch lets you link your Launch Production environment embed code with your DTM production environment embed code. 

This means that when the browser retrieves the container tag – which is referenced by the embed code – it will get the Launch container tag instead of the DTM one that was there before.

As far as the actual migration goes, Adobe outlined two main paths you can take. 

Scenario 1: 

The first scenario requires you to Login to Launch and set everything from there. This also gives you the opportunity to curate your implementation before the transition. 

Then, you need to test in Dev. The development environments provided by Launch aim to help you iterate through changes to ensure that the business logic you’re configuring works the way you intended it. 

Once you tested it in Dev, you have to test it in Stage. According to Adobe, staging environments in Launch are intended to be deployed in your own Staging environment, one that is as close to production as possible, and it is here that most customers would be running automated tests, static code analysis, etc.

After Stage, it’s time to publish to Production. This won’t actually do anything instantly, because your website isn’t pointed to the Launch container tag. However, it’s important to take this step first to actually have a container tag when you make the update. 

The final step is to update your prod website to reference the Launch Production Embed Code. Once you do this, your new Launch container tab will be delivered into the browser at run-time.

Scenario 2: 

If you already have a DTM implementation, you can simply log in to DTM and hit the Upgrade to Launch button. 

You then need to find your new property in Launch. Similar to Scenario 1, you’ll need to test in Dev and Stage. 

Following the testing process, you’ll need to link your Launch Production Environment to your DTM Production environment. 

The final step is to publish to Prod. With this route, as soon as you publish to Prod, your Launch container tag will be delivered into the browser immediately, because the Launch container tag will overwrite the DTM one, and browsers are already set to retrieve the DTM one.

 If you’re interested to find out more alternatives to DTM, check our guide here. There are some great Tag Management solutions you can use for your analytics implementation. 

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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