Using Tag Management for Do-Not-Track

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ADOTAS – Tag management systems have plenty of advantages: they reduce the need for IT resources, speed up page loading time, and improve overall site performance. There’s another, equally critical advantage baked into some (but not all, it must be mentioned) tag management systems. They can help marketers, site owners, and agencies easily meet and comply with do-not-track and user privacy standards.

Tags, cookies, data collection and sharing are at the heart of the privacy problem. The solution? Use a system that allows advertisers and agencies to control all data-driven vendors in one place, thereby ensuring that best practices are met across the board.

Equally critical is to use a vendor-agnostic platform. That way, should any one vendor — retargeting, social widgets, data collection, tracking, affiliates, analytics — misbehave or fall afoul of policies outlined by the client, it won’t matter. A client should be empowered to remove or replace errant vendors instantaneously with another vendor with no interruption to day-to-day business. This is specifically important for those who recommend vendors to clients.

Implementing tags through a proper tag management system provides marketers with the flexibility to live up to the tracking opt-out promises that various laws and regulations around the world require. The optimal approach enables site visitors to actively opt-out of being tracked by certain types of tags — and allows the marketer to decide, for each of its partner/vendor tags, whether they are of a type that the opt-out should be applied to.

For example, a marketer may decide to activate the opt-out for third party behavioral targeting tags, and cease to deliver those particular tags to opted-out visitors, but to continue serving tags for their first party site analytics system.

Various “do-not-track”-style legislation is pending both in the United States and in Europe, and there are several online industry self-regulation best practice compliance initiatives on-going. While no one can say for certain exactly what new data tracking laws and mechanisms will emerge, it’s more than safe to assume that legislation will be introduced that allows consumers to universally opt-out of tracking by marketers and e-commerce sites.

At TagMan, we’ve baked do-not-track compliance directly into our tag management solution. This has been done in a way that not only works now, but has inherent flexibility to enable compliance with future regulations or legislation.

TagMan has a uniquely powerful position within the “stack” of data collection and tracking devices that operate on our clients’ websites. We are, effectively, a single layer that sits between the Internet user’s browser and the tags and cookies that are “fired” and “dropped” when the user visits a website running our system. This enables us to help manage when and how that user will be tracked by the other systems operating on the website, according to the wishes of the user and of the site owner.

We’ve always allowed users to actively opt-out of being tracked by our company, and at the same time to also opt-out of being served whichever tags our clients may determine to be appropriate to honor this opt-out. As well as the opt-out feature a user may directly select by clicking a link on our clients’ websites or at TagMan.com, we of course engage the opt-out for any user who has the “do-not-track” option set in their web browser. This feature is a part of most of the latest generation browsers, and is certainly a technical key component for the online marketing industry seeking to comply with various cookie-tracking rules in markets worldwide.

In other words, our client gets to decide, on a case-by-case basis, which of their tags to allow their site visitors to opt-out from receiving. The decision lies with the client, their company and audience locations, their industry, their tracking/tagging activities, their interpretation of the relevant laws/regulations/guidelines, and of course their privacy policy and the “contract” they are making with their users when they present the opt-out link to them.

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