In a recent study by GigaOm and Ghostery, IT leaders estimated they could earn $50m more per year if they improved the way they managed their digital technologies more effectively. The issues are numerous; targeting companies routinely, taking customer data and reselling it on the open market, tags on a page slowing down the site and hurting customer experience, and hackers cause security breaches by way of a digital vendor on a site. But if a retailer doesnt know that a vendor is even there, they can hardly improve their performance.
Before the holidays hit and even more digital marketing vendors pile onto your site, there are five important steps to take in order to ensure your customer data is secure, your site is lightning fast, and you can resolve issues before anything gets too costly.
1. Perform a vendor audit
Many vendors with access to a website come through third parties like an ad network or data targeting company, and dont actually have any code directly placed on the website. In a lot of large organisations, groups throughout the business, including the ad agency, sign contracts with new technology partners and add them to the site, creating a chaotic situation for website managers.
In a typical audit, retailers tend to find tags for outdated vendors, vendors who are not approved, expired contracts, and even redundant tags for the same vendor. Each of these situations should be remedied before the holiday season gets under way to ensure that data isnt being leaked and that web pages load as quickly as possible.
Once you know which vendors are there, you can determine who the contact person should be for that vendor, both internally and on the vendor side, to ensure speedy issue resolution. If a digital technology, for example an ad server, causes page latency then someone needs to be made aware of it and react quickly. Retailers should also designate rules for the vendor such as where on the page they can place a tag, how many third party tags they can bring with them, and what data they can take, etc.
To get in shape for the holidays, the easiest way to benchmark is to see how your digital marketing vendor latency compares on your site with their performance on other sites. Amazon, for example, uses a tag manager to be very selective about which digital marketing vendors gain access to each customer or page based on a complex series of targeting rules.
Elements change every millisecond, so the only way to maximise performance is to monitor it. One major retailer learned that their retargeting vendor was reselling their customer data without permission to their biggest competitor! Many websites have latency limits; limits on how many third party tags a company can load, what data the technology can take from the page, and more, but dont enforce any of it.
Be sure to keep watch throughout the holiday season and beyond in order to keep your customer data secure and your website operating efficiently.
Scott Meyer is CEO and founder of Ghostery.