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Saturday, November 2, 2013

How Tealium is different from other Tag Management tools?

The present buzz in Web Analytics industry is Tag Management (Don't know why? Read the basics of Tag Management System). Recently I compared three free tag management tools, Google Tag Manager, Qubit Open Tag and DC Storm Tag Manager. All of the above tools are either free or free up to certain extent depending upon the number of page views the tags has been served. But there are separate set of Premium tools such as Ensighten, Bright Tag, Tealium and others which are being used by most of the Enterprise Clients. All these premium tools have been present in the market for quiet a good bit of time and each of them is trying to become the market leader with their features.

Fortunately I have had a chance to work with Tealium. I would like to specially write about Tealium because of it's awesome features which make it a special tool in the market.

tealium logo

So what makes Tealium unique and different from other Tag Management tools in the market? Let's take a dive in to the various features and how they affect your implementation capability. Before reading further I just wanted to convey that all the opinions in the present post are purely based on my experience with the various tools.

Variables and Load Rules Management

An enterprise level client will have lot of marketing needs in which there is a lot of data being generated by the tags which needs to be collected. So ideally a TMS should have a robust variable management which can collect data through different ways. Tealium has a great Variable management console which can capture the page level JavaScript variables, Meta tags, Querystring parameters, Cookies and can also be used as universal data objects which can store custom data. Tealium variables are named as "Data Sources" recently in 2013 update. One might think that these data sources doesn't have a feature of selecting DOM elements which free tools like Google Tag Manager and DC Storm Tag Manager provide. But that's where Extensions come into picture. We will look into Extensions feature later in the post.

If your organization has carried out an analysis on the data that needs to be captured and came up with a list of all the Data sources and wants to upload in a bulk, Tealium provides a clean Bulk Upload interface where you can enter all the data sources in a CSV format.

Load Rules are the rules which will help your TMS to understand the conditions where to deploy your Marketing tags on the website. For example, your website might have a sub-domain which doesn't need an enterprise level tracking tool like SiteCatalyst so that you can save some money from the server calls and a free tool like Google Analytics is enough to serve the purpose. To tackle such situations Load Rules help your TMS to deploy SiteCatalyst on all your web pages except that Sub-domain you do not want to track. Tealium offers an awesome way to define Load Rules WITHOUT the need of writing JAVASCRIPT. Let's say you are from the marketing team and wants to deploy a marketing tag only on a sub domain. Imagine the cumbersome JavaScript you need to write and define. But with Tealium Load Rules management any one who knows basic logic can define a rule. Some of the leading premium TMS tools in the market lack this kind of Variable and Load Rules management.

Profiles and User Management

One of the most important features needed for an Enterprise level client is the Profile management and User management. If your company X has Y number of child websites. Each of these child websites need a different profile to maintain all it's TMS needs. Tealium provides a perfect Profile management with an Account present at the top and the individual profiles present under the account. So each of your Child company will have a dedicated profile under your account.

♦ Let's say you have done tagging for one of your child website. Now you want to use all the existing code and extensions of that profile for a new website. Tealium saves you a lot of time here. When you are creating a new profile, Tealium provides you an option of copying all the features of other profiles which you have access for.

♦ This is fine but let's say you have employed a TMS professional from other organization and you want to provide him access only to certain profiles with certain capabilities. No worries, Tealium has a great User Management console which takes care of all your user management needs.

♦ This is fine too but let's say you are that employee who is working as a TMS professional. If you are working for a company X and company Z at the same time. Are you thinking that it will be a big headache to logout and login again with separate set of credentials for each company? With Tealium's Profile management, you will be able to select the company name you want to work with, from the drop down and the respective profile. You don't need to sign in with different credentials again and again. You can use your same email id which is one of the defining features of Tealium which is not present in some of the leading TMS tools again.

Version Control and Usage Statistics

 A perfectly maintained web application will have three environments namely Development environment, Quality Assurance environment and Production environment. Some of the websites may have Staging environments too. Tealium uses a unique JS tag to fire all the code that has been developed on the console i.e., UTAG.JS, which is placed on your website. But what if you want to serve different versions of tags to different environments? Tealium provides three versions of UTAG which are DEV, QA and PROD tags. You can place these tags in the respective environments so that if you are going to publish your code changes only to DEV, your QA and PROD tags will remain same as before.

Also there is an awesome Version Control system which tracks all the code changes on different environments by different users. You can easily switch your code to different versions from the Version Control panel so that you can stay with your most stable code.

Coming to usage statistics, Tealium provides you a nice report showing the number of times your tag has been served or failed and other reports with different time periods.

Web Companion, Tag Audit, Scenarios and Community Help

Tealium also provides nice set of tools for your tagging needs. The most important tool is the Web Companion which is a JavaScript bookmarklet, helps you in the testing, identifying variables & dom elements and so on from the website. I am so used to the tool that, even for other TMS implementations I use Tealium web companion to identify the variables present on the page, identifying the unique jQuery selector for an element. It's a fantastic bookmarklet to have on your browser.

Tag Audit and Scenarios are the tools present inside the Tealium console. Tag Audit is a recent addition which you can use to audit your entire site to check whether the Tealium tags are present or not whereas Scenarios screen shows your implementation plan in a nice infographic. It tells you what is the tag that gets loaded first and what follows it? Its a nice tool to get to know more about the way Tealium serves the tags on the website.

Apart from these nice little tools, Tealium has a great Knowledge base and Community forums. It's a cakewalk for any user to get help or read some nice articles on how to use the tool from the forums. Trust me they have the best Customer support team in the market.

Tag Vendors

In the above sections we have seen lot of general features which does not distinguish Tealium from other tools. But the present and following sections justifies why Tealium is different from others.

Supporting various tag vendors is one of the most important things if you are maintaining a TMS tool. In this case no other tool is good enough to have a comparison with Tealium. Tealium supports more than 500 tag vendors' templates out of the box in the console. If you are thinking this to be cool. Let me add an ultra cool feature of Tealium's templates. Mapping Tool Box!!!

You see those wands in the hands of magicians? Mapping tool box is something like that for Tealium. Without sweating a drop you can map all your Tealium variables with the web analytics tool's variables. I will provide some screenshots of toolboxes of SiteCatalyst, Coremetrics and Google Universal analytics.


Last but not the least. As I mentioned in one of my tweets, as long as Tealium has EXTENSIONS, no other tool can come close to them in comparison of being the best tool. If Mapping toolbox is the magic wand, Extensions are the Magic Spells. Tealium provides you large set of Plugins called Extensions which you can plug and configure to capture data from your website. Name your requirement I can show you the extension which serves your requirement. Take a look at the screenshots of various kinds of extensions Tealium provides. I guess the repository keeps on increasing with development.

Not satisfied? want to have a look at how these extensions look when you add them? Take a look at the below screenshots of two commonly used extensions. Look at the amount of customization you can do.

If you ask me to name one feature which puts Tealium in a different league. Its Extensions!!

To summarize, these are some of the highlights about Tealium
♦ Robust Variables and Load Rules Management
♦ Awesome Profiles and User Management
♦ Perfect Version Controlling and Usage Statistics
♦ Great addon tools like Web Companion, Site Audit and Scenarios
♦ Biggest Tag Vendor base each with a most awesome Mapping Toolbox
♦ The Magical Extensions which can perform any kind of operation in collecting data.

If you have worked on Tealium, do share your views in the comments below. Since this is an article highlighting salient features of Tealium, I did not venture into technical aspects. In the later posts I will drill down into various technical aspects and not to worry, I will post interesting stuff related to Extensions and how you can use them to improve your Tagging.

Note: Tealium logo is a copyright of Tealium and all the screenshots are taken from Tealium console. If you have any objections with the screenshots, please feel free to contact me.


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