After its initial announcement at the 2017 Adobe Summit Conference, Adobe has continued to tease the release of their new Tag Management System (TMS), Launch. While its official release date is still “soon,” there is enough information present about Launch to have us intrigued by the possibilities. In case you are a current Dynamic Tag Management (DTM) customer who just had a moment of panic, rest assured that DTM will still be available for existing customers. However, for those looking to uncover new ways of leveraging their TMS, we took a look at a few key features of Adobe Launch to see how the recently announced features could make it an enhancement over its predecessor.
According to Adobe, instead of simply upgrading DTM, Launch has been completely developed from the ground up using modern front-end development practices and an API-first design. Every TMS configuration is driven by an application programming interface (API) that exists behind the scenes. What makes this particularly interesting is that the Launch API is open to developers and vendors everywhere to build customizations that can extend the capabilities of their TMS in very flexible and unique ways. For example, using the API, it may be possible to create automation scripts to perform batch operation or repeat tasks. It may even be possible to build brand-new interface enhancements for the TMS to fit special business needs.
Another important aspect of Adobe Launch is that many of its TMS functionalities are built through "extensions." This not only refers to tag templates built for deploying 3rd party vendor code, but also other parts of the TMS, such as load rules for the tags. In Adobe Launch, a page load rule is just another event and if there is a need for more complex events such as video play, pause or milestone, they can be created as an extension and placed right inside the TMS configuration interface. Per Adobe, there will also be extensions to monitor data layer and trigger change events, so it sounds like a very flexible architecture.
With the promise of extensions, Adobe will purportedly be allowing vendors and perhaps even individual customers to build, manage and publish extensions in a self-service fashion. This should encourage developers to build and share their own extensions and potentially expand TMS capabilities without having to only rely on upgrades from Adobe or vendors.
Upgrading from DTM
According to Adobe, the upgrade path from DTM to Launch is going to be as easy and automated as possible, potentially with little or no base code change for existing DTM customers. So, for customers who are thinking of waiting to start a new project with Launch, there is no need to do so.
From a governance perspective, compartmentalized publishing will also become possible with Launch. This advancement will allow multiple people to work inside the same environment at the same time. The workflow, however, can be heavily customized to allow for strict approval processes as well as granular permission control on all areas of TMS, such as extension usage for each user.
One technical challenge that might arise when migrating to a new tag management platform is when sites do not have a properly implemented data layer. Even though there may be new mechanisms available with Adobe Launch to extract data from the site, a well-structured data layer object will provide even better integrations. This presents a great opportunity to re-evaluate your current data layer implementation to minimize page-scraping logic and expose data in abstract, business-friendly and vendor-neutral formats to maximize your use of the tool. This would not only make any TMS migration much easier, but also significantly improve the long-term development of any analytics strategy.
Preparing for Launch
Much like its predecessor, Adobe has announced that Launch will be provided at no additional cost for all Adobe Experience Cloud customers. If you already have a solid data layer implementation on your website, you should have the option to experiment with the new TMS without an overhaul of your existing analytics implementation. Additionally, assuming Adobe Launch lives up to all of its promises, some new features in Launch could genuinely provide benefits for TMS users.
As longtime tag management advisors and Adobe partners, we have seen continued advancements across many of the technologies available for brands today. It’s exciting to see how we can help brands utilize these new solutions while helping them avoid potential risks. While this is still a developing story (the latest update is that Launch is wrapping up its alpha program and will be starting the beta program imminently), we will keep you updated on all of the latest developments as they happen.
Want to get a jump on planning for Launch or learn how your team can make the most out of your tag management program? Our team of Adobe Certified experts can ensure that you are ready to maximize all of Launch’s features. Reach out to us today at info.US@Ebiquity.com