Hidden web tags and your data: New risks across the board
However, hidden web tags, also known as “piggyback tags,” are less well-known. Because they are usually introduced through third-party vendors, piggyback tags are invisible to marketers unless specifically searched for and identified. In addition, since you can’t control what you can’t see, your company is also susceptible to any changes that third parties may make to their web tags.
Hidden web tags create new business risks
Piggyback tags expose your company to four systemic business risks:
- Customer loss due to poor user experience. Since piggyback tags can create painfully slow page loads, they can add multiple milliseconds of latency
- Non-compliance with consumer privacy regulations such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA)
- Data breach and leakage vulnerability through the open data connection piggyback tags exploit by merely existing on your site
- Erosion of trust among consumers and business partners since hidden tags collect inherently unknown data. Lack of trust translates into lack of revenue
The origin of piggyback tags
Web tags aren’t exactly new: they are a byproduct of the adtech (advertising technology) and martech (marketing technology) solutions that marketers have relied on for nearly two decades. But the dangers posed by piggyback tags have multiplied in recent years, due to the massive growth of martech (today, there are more than 7,000 martech solutions alone) combined with the evolution of a data-hungry adtech industry powered by information exchange.
How hidden web tags infiltrate your website
Multiplied across a large digital property, you could easily have hundreds or even thousands of hidden web tags.
How to keep core business assets out of jeopardy
Comprehensive web tag management can categorically reduce risk by eliminating suspect piggyback tags. By proactively monitoring your digital properties’ web tags (both visible and hidden), you and your marketing team significantly help your company to:
- Protect customer experience, trust, loyalty, and revenues
- Reduce compliance risk by adhering to consumer privacy regulations
- Reduce the risk of data breaches and leakage
- Continuously build consumer and business partner trust
Continuous web tag management comprises four steps:
- Scan your site to identify all visible and hidden web tags using manual, automated, and real-time options
- Identify the vendors the tags belong to
- Research the vendors to see what these companies do, and what types of visitor information they collect
- Eliminate unwanted tags with just a few clicks
Because many tags on your site are likely to be invisible, you will need a couple of purpose-built tools to help you find and eliminate unwanted piggyback tags.
- Tag mapping tools pinpoint the hidden web tags on your website, running a deep scan to reveal the full scope of your tag ecosystem
- Tag investigation and removal tools provide an extensive vendor directory containing detailed information about each supplier, the type of data they're collecting, and what they're doing with it. Unwanted third-party tags can be easily removed.
Tools for a winning tag management operation
Look for solutions that allow your digital marketers to identify:
- What kind of resources the tags are calling
- Which data the tags collect
- The impact of each tag on site performance
Using the right tools can provide site performance gains with load times on specific pages dropping considerably.
With the right tools, your entire marketing team can deploy martech and adtech with confidence, while ensuring continuous protection of the security, compliance,and performance of your digital experiences.
In my next blog post, I will talk more about the four major business risks that proactive tag management help reduce.
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