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3 Ways to Decrease the Tracking Technologies on Your Site

June 19, 2017 – Evidon Team

Evidon’s research has shown that vendor redundancies are the direct result of a lack of knowledge about technologies implemented, and capabilities offered by key partners.

Every once in awhile, we encounter a prospect who expresses to us that there is “no point” in greater visibility into their site’s tracking technologies, because they themselves have no control over which vendors are implemented, and which ones get removed. Add to this, the shared belief by many, that marketing and advertising technologies are the “revenue-generators,” and therefore removing them would mean taking potential profits off of the table.

While I don’t agree with the above argument (if you haven’t, try loading TMZ.com with technologies blocked via Ghostery, or check out this chart from GroupM’s Timothy Whitfield, which looks at adtech:page load), I’m willing to put my perspective to the side and illustrate some other potential implementation “wins,” in the form of non-martech/adtech vendor redundancies. First though, I wanted to share some thoughts from Lenovo’s Gary Milner, in a recent interview with Digiday, that shed light on the redundancy issue, and the argument for less overall technologies:

“The [brand’s] mindset is: we want to get more reach, and for that we need more [demand side platforms (DSPs)]. The reality is, you keep adding DSPs. You find you’re bidding on the same inventory. You’ll end up with higher costs because you’ve been bidding against yourself. The fewer DSPs, the more volume run through one or two suppliers, and rates are down. [Lenovo] looked at the audiences we were developing in all of these DSPs, and all were the same. There wasn’t any extra reach; we were reaching the same people. So we incur all these extra costs for the same outcome.”

Technology (Capability) Redundancies To Look Out For:

1) Rogue Tag Manager Implementations.

All too often I see one of two issues related to tag management implementations:

  • A website has implemented a new enterprise tag management system, but hasn’t completely removed their previous tag manager’s code from pages (i.e. article or product pages, “legacy” URLs);
  • An employee has taken it upon themselves to hard-code the free version of Google Tag Manager in order to leverage greater reporting benefits of Google Analytics, essentially making it easier to gather audience metrics with the ability to feed Google Tag Manager “pageviews” or “events,” for instance. Hard-coding a free tag management platform in addition to the use of an enterprise-wide tag manager, such as Tealium or Signal, can defeat the purpose of (and the benefits associated with) implementing the paid-for tag management system to begin with.

2) Speaking of Analytics Technologies… Data Overload.

It goes something like “data is only as powerful as how you use it”… And yet, most businesses that we speak to consume mass amounts of user data, and have no strategic vision for how it should be used.

More often than not, multiple analytics vendors are implemented, and the respective pools of data are leveraged by departments working in isolation from each other. Marketing leverages Adobe Analytics, eCommerce leverages Piwik Analytics, IT leverages the analytics gathered from Tealium (tag manager), etc.

This also highlights an issue that Evidon champions, step 4 in our Steps to a Successful Digital Governance Strategy: develop and internally circulate your business’s vendor strategy. Your vendor strategy will help provide proper guidance to stakeholders seeking to implement technologies and allow for optimal cost-benefit calculations. While some “analytics” tools can be complementary, or offer a unique value proposition (voice of customer analytics, versus site performance analytics), we often see that this isn’t the case.

3) “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.” – Erik Qualman

The number one recommendation that I give clients that ask for implementation advice is to remove social media! We don’t suggest removing all social media buttons, in fact often there are several that we suggest keeping, but far and away the most redundant technologies, from a capabilities perspective, are related to social media.

There’s a scene from the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You,” which seems to me to be analogous to how businesses (inaccurately) leverage social media implementations. The movie’s actress complains of too many technologies available for communication with potential suitors: “I had this guy leave me a voicemail at work, so I called him at home. And then he e-mailed me to my BlackBerry, and so I texted to his cell. Then he e-mailed me to my home account and the whole thing just got out of control. And I miss the days where you had one phone number and one answering machine. And that one answering machine housed one cassette tape… and that one cassette tape either had a message from the guy or it didn’t. And now you have to go around checking all these different portals… just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.”

Now, I’m not (seriously) equating using social tools to getting a date, but I am suggesting that websites use way too many vendors to “enhance” users’ social experience and gather social data, but the costs have begun to outweigh the benefits.

Here’s a list of the social-related technologies that a website I recently encountered had implemented: Gravatar (site aliases), PowerReviews (product reviews), Adobe LiveFyre (inline commenting), Disqus (social commentary), Gigya (social engagement), AddThis (social sharing), LiveChat (voice of customer), Olapic (earned-content platform), plus (!) LinkedIn widgets, Facebook widgets, Google+ widgets, Pinterest widgets and Twitter widgets. Talk about social media overkill.

Why Do So Many Redundancies Occur?

Far and away, Evidon’s research has shown that vendor redundancies are the direct result of a lack of knowledge about technologies implemented, and capabilities offered by key partners. This is why we consistently emphasize the need for businesses to educate internal stakeholders on the challenges technologies introduce, as well as to educate on current partner implementations. We also encourage thorough vetting pre-implementation, and ongoing documentation of business purpose associated with vendor implementation requests.

** Register for Our Upcoming Webinar! With the explosion of MarTech and new regulations, like the GDPR, looming, Evidon has focused on enhancements to our products that make it easier to establish and maintain effective Digital Governance frameworks. Join our webinar on June 22nd to learn about the new features that we’ve created to make Digital Governance and Compliance simple.

If you’d like to better understand your own site’s implementations, feel free to email me (mollie at evidon dot com). You can also follow me on Twitter @MolliePanzner, and if you’d like to learn more about Evidon, you can visit us at Evidon.com and follow us on Twitter at @Evidon.


Mollie is the Senior Director of Product Strategy at Evidon, and a subject matter expert on digital governance and vendor analysis.