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Tell-Tale Signs That You Need Web Governance

Tell-Tale Signs That You Need Web Governance

Powerful tools like Google Tag Manager (GTM) and flexible Content Management Systems (CMS), allow digital marketers to implement basic tracking by applying tags to their website.

These tools can bring great insights about user behaviour and help marketers identify improvements to their sites as well as new features and innovations.  The downside of tags is that, if left unchecked, over time they can cause problems and work detrimentally to what marketers originally wanted to achieve.  This article explains why and also gives tips on how to avoid tags adversely affecting your site.

Loss of control

A key problem with tags over a long period of time is that companies often lose sight of what tags have been placed on their site.

Marketing-related agencies and others working on the site are often given free reign during a particular project and place tags for that assignment’s goals and KPIs.  But as time progresses, and the project ends, and people in the organisation move on, companies forget or no longer understand what tags are in place and what they’re for.

A classic case in point was when one client called us in.  They had over 150 tags set up in their Google Tag Manager, and only a very small proportion of which they actually understood and knew the purpose of!

A key objective for them was to rationalise all the tags and regain control of their website’s metrics, particularly ahead of GDPR.  We set to coordinating, rationalising and consolidating the account and in doing so we developed a custom web governance document.

This meant that, going forward, the organisation always had a report which clearly set out what information was being captured in the site and why.  The governance report also set out a clear, structured and well documented process for any future developments of the site – so the current ‘cleaned’ state could be preserved irrespective of which agencies and staff came and went in the business.

We anticipate that many company’s websites and digital marketing approaches are in need of web governance. This is because:

  • most sites have developed piecemeal over time,
  • staff working on those sites have come and gone, and understanding of specific tags have gone with them
  • different metrics for measuring the site have changed according to different business objectives, and
  • GDPR has prompted many companies to consider just what cookies and data capture they’re using.

What to look out for

So here are some tell-tale signs which suggest you should regain control of the tags on your site and invest time in web governance:

  1. Page load speeds have slowed, but there hasn’t been any developmental work on the site
  2. Tags conflict with each other, leading to unrealistic trends
  3. You are unsure of what tags are on your site
  4. There seems to be many tags on your account
  5. People don’t trust the web statistics that are coming out in your analytic reports
  6. There is no tag owner when you try to remove or change a tag

With GDPR now here – there is increased pressure on organisations to take greater responsibility for how they collect data and insights from the people who visit their sites. Now more than ever, it’s important to review, understand and regain control of your GTM tags.

This means considering your website users’ perspectives. Are you being completely responsible with your tags and resulting data?  For example:

  1. Where does each tag sends data to (Google? LinkedIn? Other providers?)
  2. How much control do you have over the data/insights being collected.  For example, can you delete the data?
  3. Are all the tags on your site still relevant?
  4. Who has access to this data and this website?

In our experience, many website owners accidentally allow agencies to have free reign on their site with GTM. Over time many people end up having access to add critical code to your site. In other examples we’ve found new agencies simply add fresh tags without doing an audit of existing ones first. This leads to multiple tags building up on the site. One result can be that page load speeds dramatically slow down and weaken the site’s performance – particularly from a search ranking and user experience perspective. Another negative result is that tags compete or double-count data or events, so the analytics a company receives are incorrect.

Checklist to kick-start your web governance

If we’ve inspired you to regain control of the tags on your site and improve your overall web governance, here are 4 steps to help you get started.

The Fusion Analytics team have a proven track-record in web governance.  We regularly help organisations review, rationalise and regain control of their website tags and analytics.  If you need a helping hand, do get in touch with one of the team.

Step Review area Tips
1. Where does each tag send its data? ·         Conduct an audit of the current tags and their functionality.  If you need help, do get in touch.

·         Categorise and label each Tag, Trigger and Variable.


2 How much control do I have – can I delete the tag/data?


·         If you are using GA (Google Analytics) this has previously involved a lengthy process. Recently though Google is trying to make it easier so you can delete the data.

·         If you have control over the database in your website, you may find it easier to remove any data you no longer want/need.  At WebFusion we also have a tool which can help this.

3 Are all our tags still relevant? ·         Once you know what each does, remove any you don’t need and document what’s left.

·         In a central document, log each tag and the owner of that tag – this ensures you know who was responsible for that implementation and or version

·         Ensure that document/report is held centrally, consulted and updated when any new website project requires tags.  Again, if you need help, just contact us.

·         Make sure those responsible for your GDPR compliance are aware what tags are in place – particularly those capturing/analysing personal data from users

4 Who has access to this data and this website? Do we need to limit access rights?


·         With those connected to your organisation (staff, suppliers, outsourced resources etc), you can add users with different levels of access in Google Tag Manager (GTM).  We always recommend adding individual users to your GTM Container.

·         Don’t just give access to one person on a team or through a standard account which is then shared. In these circumstances it can be hard to identify who has access. Although this method can take longer to set up, in the long run you will have a far clearer picture as to who has access or not on your account.

These tips represent best practice web governance. In reality not all are immediately possible as you may lack the time/people/skills to conduct the audit and implement the actions which arise from it.  If any of these are the case for your organisation, do get in touch. The Fusion Analytics’ team has the tools, experience and knowledge to help you regain control of your analytics, website, database management and other marketing channel data.

One final tip

Finally, once you have all your ‘cleaned’ tags in place and your documentation written and organised, it is important to ensure that your cookie policy is in line with what your site actually does. For this we recommend that your cookie policy is at the tag level, rather than cookie level. This ensures that, if a tag drops multiple cookies, your policy still covers it.

Can we help?

And if you need help with any web governance issue, we can pull on our experience as digital experts, to advise, train and implement a workable solution. Our web governance solutions are ones that are easy to use, not just for the short-term, but which also stand the test of time. Contact us on T: 0203 2875387 E:

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