Sunday, June 15, 2014

Ensighten: The most robust Tag Management tool

Note: The views of the present post are solely mine and not my employer's.

A while ago I have written a post on Tealium and how is it different when I was little new to Tag Management and found some of it's features useful to beginners who are not well versed with JavaScript. I have been using Ensighten since a good amount of time and I am in love with the tool, its robustness in deploying tags and the way the tool works. With the advent of Manage 2.0 (the second version of Ensighten Console) the tool became way cooler than ever, more robust, modern and lot quicker.

So, in this post I would like to tell you what are the features that make Ensighten stand apart in the market and how it makes your life peaceful while tagging. Most of the features I will talk in this post will be about Manage 2.0. Since I do not have access to Ensighten tool for my personal use, I wouldn't be able to provide screenshots.

Way Ensighten Works:
Ensighten works on a very simple concept "Deploy the required tag on to a desired page". So if you want to deploy Google Analytics to your website, you will be creating a tag for Google Analytics and tell Ensighten to deploy the tag on all the pages of your website. It's simple, no Nonsense. All you have is your tags and conditions where to deploy the tags.



Coming to the points which make Ensighten stand apart from any other tool are following

1. Spaces
Spaces are containers which are independent from each other to which you can assign your Tag rules (which are called Deployments in Manage 2.0). So let's say you are working on a development server, you can create a development space and create deployments, assign them to this space and not harm any other space. This is a very powerful feature which you will love immediately once you start using Ensighten and the peace of mind it provides. So what's the catch, you might ask Google Tag Manager also has Containers feature. Right! Ensighten Spaces score points when it comes to the deployment.

Let's say you are working on a Google Universal Analytics Custom Event for some events on your shopping cart page. So you will create a Deployment with the needed code, rules to fire on shopping cart page,  assign it to the development space and publish the changes of that space. You test the tags and fortunately everything is fine and now you want to move this tag rule to your production website. This is a pain if you are using Google Tag Manager. In GTM you need to create another tag inside your production container, copy paste the code you have created on your development tag rule and create production URL rules, assign them and publish the changes. It's literally a painful process which sometimes leaves you confused while navigating between containers.

With Ensighten you don't need to go through this painful process, you can merge your development tag rules directly to your production space on a button click and publish the changes. Done! It's that simple. If you are fairly into TMS implementation you will fall in love with this feature. How it works? That's for a different post altogether.

2. Conditions
These are what you call Rules to fire tags on certain pages. If you are familiar with GTM, these are nothing but Rules. Ensighten provides an awesome features in creating Conditions like Regular Expressions and so many other operators. You will have a great interface to test your sample URL too whether your condition meets your URL requirements or not.

This is fine, but what's the catch again? "Mandated Conditions"!! These are the mandatory conditions you can assign to your spaces. So let's say your development site has the URL dev.example.com and your production website is www.example.com. What you can do is create two conditions DEV Global and PROD Global with these domain names and assign them to your DEV and PROD spaces. Now whatever you do on your Development Space it will only be deployed if your domain matches with dev.example.com. It's a very powerful feature which makes Tagging process very clean.

3. Versioning
Eventhough most of the TMS tools have this Versioning feature but every tool falls short of Ensighten's versioning feature. Since Ensighten works on simple concept of "Tag Rule and where it is deployed", everything is tag rule centric. You can rollback each of your tag rule separately not affecting other tag rules in that space. If you get used to this feature of rolling back each tag rule independently you will find other tools very hard to work with in case of Versioning and rolling back.

4. Apps
If you are working on Manage 1.0 you would be having access to minimum number of templates to Analytics or marketing tools so you require good JavaScript skills to deploy custom tags. But with Manage 2.0 you will have access to number of Templates which are called Apps and they contain some great features to carry out custom tagging using least of your JavaScript skills.

5. Reports
I am one among those who was not that much interested in Reports that the tools provide. It's mainly because of the fact that the kind of reports which the tools provide doesn't make much difference to me as an Implementation person. But Ensighten has this particular Reports feature in Manage 2.0 which will blow you off if you are a developer. It reports what are the errors that are being reported on the page, what part of code is causing this, what tag rule is causing this. Every minor detail! You can identify the errors so easily and fix your code in no time. This is a boon to the developers.

6. Publishing Time
Finally, last but not the least, the time in which your tags are published. Once your tags are published they will be live the next moment you refresh your page. Definitely!! Unlike other TMS tools which struggle to clear cache and serve the latest tags, you can confidently believe that Ensighten serves the latest version without the need of clearing cache or some other stuff. If you are making continuous publishes some of the Enterprise level Tag management tools really struggle to serve the latest version of tags.

There are more features which will make you addicted to Ensighten like me :) If you have worked on Ensighten, let me know what feature you like the most? or what feature is missing which you want to see by commenting on the post!

5 comments :

  1. I have to disagree that Ensighten is truly "the best." I worked on three separate projects with Ensighten and I have to admit it was frustrating.

    My main problem is with their apps. While you say with Manage 2.0 there are a "lot of apps" ... yes, but if you talk with their internal team, they quickly warn you not to use most of the apps, and instead to stick with the "custom javascript" app instead. This really defeats the purpose of getting the tool to make it easier for a marketing team to manage their own tracking tools.

    The implementations I worked on were for Adobe Analytics implementations, and while that app is actually recommended over the custom javascript app, it's very convoluted and not intuitive to use. Personally if someone is implementing Adobe Analytics, I'd strongly advise them to stick with the Adobe Digital Tag Manager because it's far more robust and easier to use (in my opinion).

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    1. Hi, Thanks for your comment. I worked on Ensighten for Adobe Analytics implementation and also I have worked with Adobe DTM for Adobe Analytics implementation and I found Ensighten to be more easy compared to DTM for different reasons.

      1. If you are looking for Adobe Analytics implementation, SiteCatalyst App in Ensighten clearly has three choices a. Base Tagging b.Page Tagging and c.Event Tagging which pretty much covers all scenarios. DTM is also similar in having Page Load rules and Event based Rules which covers all the scenarios.

      2. Custom Tracking. I found it really frustrating in DTM to tag custom On click events. Suppose if I have to track the button name into a prop when the button is clicked. I need to create an Event rule and assigning the value of the button into the prop dynamically is literally frustrating in DTM. It needs perfect understanding of the _satellite object and your conventional JS and jQuery will not work properly. Where as Ensighten doesn't have this problem. You can easily use JS and jQuery easily.

      3. The reason why Custom JS is preferred over the App might be to do with the performance and efficiency of the code that will be written. If you write a simple on click event using jQuery it's almost a two line code. So if you have 5-10 different events on the same page, you can just create one custom JS app and place all these events inside that one Deployment instead of creating 10 different deployments based on SiteCatalyst App which might generate lot of code.

      And I agree at the end of the day we have to always choose which tool we are comfortable with while implementing the solution though :) Thanks for the providing the other side of the argument.

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  2. Hi, and thank you for writing this great post! I'm the product marketing director for Ensighten Manage, and it's exciting to learn your take on what makes Ensighten unique. Our goal at Ensighten is to support any tag and use case, which means that many of our features in 2.0 were built for environments that might have complex use cases but require clear ease-of-use.

    I'm also glad you gave a shout-out to our Spaces feature. As far as I know, no one else comes close to this kind of the flexibility we provide. And just last week we released enhancements to spaces making the feature even MORE flexible!

    Thanks again for the thoughtful analysis. It means a lot when our product strategy and feature set is appreciated by an expert like yourself.

    Karen

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    1. Hi Karen, Thanks for the comment :) I have been closely following Manage 2.0 and how every update is making the tagging simpler. I really appreciate the hard work you people are putting up to make the platform a wonderful place to work on. I'm planning to write a blog post on some features which can be useful for you when you make upgrades in the future by taking plausibility into consideration.

      -Ram

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