Why Client-Side Tag Management Is Still Important


ADOTAS – Although a grand vision of completely removing JavaScript and image files used for tracking website activity is clearly appealing, we at TagMan continue to invest in client-side technology improvements. Certainly, “simple container tags do not a tag management system make,” and they often add to the page latency issues rather than improve them.

This is exactly why we long ago evolved our technology beyond a simple container tag, to give our clients better performance with all of their tracking tags. Client-side tag management is still important, and will continue to be for some time for the following reasons:

Many vendor tags simply do not allow for a server-to-server integration at this time, such as web analytics, multivariate testing, live chat, social media widgets, and so on (think any vendor not on the short published list of server-side integrations). In order to be a full tag management system, we feel a solution needs to allow for ALL tags to be managed through the technology, rather than a point solution that requires customers to still optimize many client-side third party tags that are not or cannot be integrated, in order to control their tag and page performance.

It’s worth noting that server-side container tags can be managed and optimized through a client-side tag management system, but the inverse is not true. This is a primary reason we continue to focus so heavily on client-side performance at this point in time, rather than more nascent server-side protocols.

Our Smart Tag Loading features allow for complete control and optimization of third-party tags in regards to the page load process. This represents an evolution from simple container tags, which mainly give you efficiencies only in terms of a single piece of code across the site and easy addition/removal of tags.

As for client-side vs server-side, you need to look at the benefits each provides. With advances in how JavaScript can interact with elements in the page, the benefits of tag management can still be gained with virtually zero development work on the part of the third parties and little to no page performance loss at any point in the process.

In some ways and in certain circumstances, client-side tags can actually provide faster, more reliable data for websites. For instance, they do not require multiple views of the user before efficiently exchanging data with third parties. While server-side cookie-sharing provides some efficiencies, it can also introduce issues in data collection.

Finally, although server-to-server data connections can no doubt be made transparent to the advertiser and third parties using the system, there is less inherent transparency available to end users in these systems. As web users (and politicians) are just now starting getting to grips with the implications of in-page tags and cookies, there is the possibility that introducing another mechanism for the collection of tracking data may create additional questions or concerns.

Although server-to-server data exchanges are interesting, they have yet to provide solutions for even a small percentage of the systems our clients wish to use. That’s why we’ve continued to focus on improvements in JavaScript in recent months, and will continue to look towards the solutions that best meet our clients’ needs in the future.


  1. But why would any corporate organisation allow unskilled marketing personnel to add/edit/maintain JavaScript code on their website? I think you are completely missing the major security and governance concerns of most self-respecting corporate organisations

  2. Barry, totally agree that without an audited system with version and permission controls, – that would be a challenge. Corporate IT can *and do* still retain ultimate roll out / release permission using the platform. The TagMan platform makes that part even more accountable down to user level, showing who added, removed or edited code.


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