Tealium Crash Course

Jun 13, 2023 | Digital Analytics, Tealium


What will be covered in the course

  • What is Tealium
  • 2 Real World scenarios: 2 Google ADS tag implementations. </strong >While going through this scenario we’ll learn:
  • How to request Permissions to access the tool
  • What are Tealium variables and the concept of Datalayer
  • What is a tag and how to check its basic configurations?
  • What are load rules and why they’re useful for your tags
  • Tealium deployment process
  • How to quickly test if a Tag is loaded on the website
  • What are Tealium extensions and how do they differentiate each other

Then let’s start talking about what Tealium is!

1. What is Tealium?

Per definition Tealium is a Tag Management System, basically, it is a Web Interface that allows us to install and manage Tracking tags on our website. Without a TMS we’d have to manually paste the code of each Marketing Tag into our codebase. Then to recap:

    • With TMS we have everything at hand in a well-formatted UI that can be used also by non-technical people to implement and manage Marketing Tags because there is no code involved in most of the settings you’ll do.
    • Without TMS we have the tags’ code spread across the codebase making it nearly impossible to have the same general overview and ease of use we have in Tealium

At Beluacode.com we help our customers to use Tealium ( and GTM ) to manage their User Tracking Environment allowing them to install and manage Digital Marketing Tags and also import Javascript-based snippets of code to add functionalities to the website.

2. First Real-World Scenario

The idea today is to go through a real-world scenario where we’ll implement a Google ADS tag accompanying practice with a bit of theory to gain a general understanding of the Tealium basics Access Tealium First, we have to access Tealium using this link my.tealiumiq.com</a >.

  1. Scenario overview

Our task today is to install Google ADS on our website in order to track a conversion happening on our “expose” pages. Usually, Digital marketing vendors suggest having :

    • A “general tag” that is installed on all pages just collects the pageview or loading the Tag vendor code.
    • And different tags ( or the same tag with different variables ) for each conversion ( event ) you want to have.

3. What is a tag in Tealium?

    • A Digital Marketing Tag is a portion of code that we add to our website to use the functionalities offered by the Digital Marketing Vendor.
    • Usually to install a tag on a website the first step is to grab the tag code, from the Vendor documentation, and paste it on our Page Code.
    • The first issue that I can see here is: What if I need the tag for 15 pages? You have to repeat the process 15 times. Yes.
    • With Tealium instead, there is No coding necessary because it offers a user-friendly interface to configure and deploy a tag whenever and wherever you need it.
    • Let’s see how a tag creation works in Tealium.

3.1 Adding a tag pt.1

    • Go to the left side of the Tealium interface and select Tags and from there select, on the top-right side of the page click + Add Tag.
    • Search for Google ADS and select the option without (legacy) appended at the end of the tag. It’s good practice to use the latest version of the tag, no matter what.

3.2 Configure a tag

    • You’ll be prompted with a configuration modal in which you have to adjust the tag settings.
    • In our case, most of the entries have to be populated depending on the conversion needs. I.E. the conversion ID/label/value is something that should be manually imported from the Google ADS Account

3.4 How to access the installation guides for Tealium Tags

    • As you can see we have a bunch of information to fill in with accurate descriptions for each entry in the Tag configuration prompt.

3.5 Publish locations

    • This is a setting shared by all Tealium tags and it’s very important that the first time you create a tag, you adjust those locations to exclude PROD.
    • Later in the course, we’ll have an in-depth look at best practices related to the Tealium deployment process.

4 What are load rules and why they’re useful for your tags?

    • A load rule determines when and where a tag or an extension should fire on our site. think of them as conditions that must be met in order to fire the tag/extension.
    • I.E. The Google ADS should run only on Homepage/ everywhere on the website

4.1 Access load rules section within a tag

While in the Tag configuration prompt, select the “Load rules” </strong >tab and you’ll access all the already created load rules. For now, let’s use the “Load on all pages” default load rule.

5. Tealium deployment process

    • After you’re done with the Tag configuration, you’re ready to publish our changes on our website.
    • But before doing that let me explain our deployment process that should be always followed.

5.1 Publish on DEV/QA first

    • The Tealium profile is divided into 3 different environments — DEV/QA/PROD.
    • As you can imagine if we introduce some error with our changes on DEV/QA profiles the main website won’t be affected.
    • That’s why we always suggest publishing on DEV/QA first and then doing your checks. If nothing strange pops up after your tests you can publish your changes to PROD.
    • Use “Save as” and not Save. Tealium allows us to revert back our changes to a previous version but in order to generate a new version we have to use “Save us” because with “Save”, we’ll just override the previous Tealium version making it more difficult to revert back your changes.

5.2 In order to test the DEV and QA version you can :

    • To see your changes reflected on the QA version go to your website and wait for 5–6 minutes after have published
    • To access the DEV version you have to install a Chrome extension called Tealium Tools. Once installed visit your website and click on “Environment Switcher” and select DEV
    • Using the environment switcher you can test the DEV/QA profile directly on the main website. In some situations, testing on the Sandbox version of the website is not enough</strong > and the environment switcher is the fastest way to test your changes on the PROD website.

5.4 What checks are we talking about?

    • You shouldn’t perform very in-depth checks even because you can have a very big environment and some side effects of your changes can be reflected in website areas completely different from the one(s) you’re working on.
    • But some basics check should be mandatory and not very time consuming
    • Open the browser console on the page where the tag is supposed to run and check for console errors. Easily recognisable — Messages are written in red
    • With the console opened you should have it on the top of different tabs. The one interesting for us at the moment is the “Network” tab
    • Once the network tab is open you should fill in the input box with “filter” as a placeholder for this string “collect?v” in order to see if Google Analytics is correctly sending hits, if so, it is working.

6 How to quickly test if a Tag is loaded on the website

    • Now that we’re performing safety checks why not test if our tag is effectively loaded on the page it is supposed to run?

6.1 Is my tag loaded on the page?

    • Access again the network tab on your website
    • From there you have to change the string you used before to check if Google Analytics is working with this one: “utag.”
    • Basically, all the tags you create in Tealium have a unique identifier called “UID”, you can see it in the Tealium web app.
    • Remember the UID of your tag and come back to the network tab. Do you see some utag.xxx.js where xxx is your UID?
    • Good work your tag is loaded on the website.

7. Data layer and variables

As said before, usually, Digital marketing vendors suggest having :

    • A “general tag” that is installed on all pages just collects the pageview or loading the Tag vendor code.
    • And different tags ( or the same tag with different variables ) for each conversion ( event ) you want to have.
    • What we did before was create the general tag and now we’ll go through the process of creating one Google Ads conversion tag that will trigger on a particular website section only

To do so let’s repeat the points from 3 to 3.2

7.1 Set your load rules pt1

    • Now that we have completed the tag configuration let’s move to the Load rules tab.
    • Here now instead of keeping the default load rule “Load on all pages“ selected we will create a new load rule to run the tag only on a particular section of the website.
    • Select “+ Create Rule “.

7.2 Tealium Variables

Before going through the process of creating a load rule let’s discuss a bit about the notions of Variable and Data Layer.

    • A variable is a portion of memory assigned to hold a particular value. Its purpose in Tealium is to store some particular value needed for later or to manipulate it using extensions.

7.3 Tealium Data Layer

The majority of the variables we create in Tealium are stored in The Tealium data layer which is essentially a big box containing all of them. This variable ( which is a JS object ) is accessible from the browser console by typing utag_data ( or utag.data )

7.4 Set your load rules pt.2

Coming back to the load rule creation Here you have to:

    • Give a meaningful name and a description
    • Select the variable on which we want to base our condition to run the tag ( if you want to create a brand new variable look at Section 8.2 )
    • In our case, we want to run this tag only on E-commerce pages — basically the enhanced E-commerce funnel. Let’s imagine that our website is divided in different website areas and each area has a unique identifier stored under “website_area”
    • Click under “select variable” and chose the mentioned variable ( in our example it is already present in the data layer )
    • Choose the operator that best fits your requirements, we’ll use contains (ignore case) here
    • And for value, we should use an “E-commerce funnel”.
    • But how do we know the value held by website_area?
    • Let’s go to the website section you want to load your tag and type in the console utag_data.svc_module_name. You should get the string you’re interested in.

Now publish the tag following the Deployment process and test it using the knowledge acquired before and you should be all set.

2nd Real-World Scenario

    • Imagine you want to have a conversion for each section on our website, then, a different tag with a different conversion Label for each section
    • Instead of creating different tags, one for each section we can create 1 tag and dynamically change the variable associated with the Conversion label based on the website_area var seen before
    • How do we then change dynamically the Conversion label value? We can do this in Tealium using an extension.

8 Data Mapping and Tealium extensions.

8.1 Data Mapping

Let’s create a new google ads tag and fill in just the conversion ID and not the conversion label. After having set your load rules ( in this case select load on all pages), you need to fill in also the “Data Mappings” section to comply with the scenario task. Basically, A data mapping connects a value from your data layer to the corresponding variable in the vendor tag. I.E. :

    • Imagine that in your data layer, you have the gads_conversion_label variable as the value for Conversion Label
    • In Google ads: conversion_label is the only variable name recognised to hold such value.
    • In order to give this information to Google ADS we have to map the variable in our Tealium data layer with the one understood by Google ADS

In our case, what we manually set before as a hardcoded value (Conversion Label ) will be set by using the Data Mapping Google ADS section.

8.2 Create the variable

The first thing first then, is to create the variable we’ll manipulate based on the Website Section.

    • Create the variable by accessing the Data layer section and clicking on “new variable”
    • Select UDO variables. The particularity of this kind of variable is that it will be included in the Data Layer
    • And give it the name of gads_conversion_label

8.3 Adjust the mapping

    • Now that we created our variable, let’s return to the tag and adjust the mapping.
    • How can we make sure that this conversion label is dynamically populated based on the website section? Extensions!

8.4 Extensions

A Tealium extension ultimately is a portion of JS code added to our website but in Tealium we can set it using a very user-friendly interface without dealing with code. There are different kinds of extensions. Some of the most used ones are :

    • Set extensions
    • Lookup table extension
    • Javascript extension

in Tealium when you try to add an extension there is a brief description giving you an idea of its functionalities.

8.2 Create a Set Data Values extension

After having created the variable let’s create a Set Data Value extension to set the value of the variable when particular conditions happen :

    • On the first row let’s select the gads_conversion_label variable and give it the needed value
    • On condition, select svc_module_name contains “expose”

But as you can see here there is a problem. Instead of having different tags doing this, we’ll end up having the same amount of different extensions and we’re really not solving anything.

8.3 Create a Lookup table extension

That’s why we have to explore a bit more the available type of extension. Looking at the description for Lookup table ext it seems that this is what we want. Basically, what does the extension do?

8.4 Publishing and Testing

    • The first row is the variable used for the condition — First part the of the condition ( IF svc_module_name ) ( or in your case website_area)
    • The “Lookup match” is the middle part of the condition “is equal to expose” — ( is equal to “expose” ) ( or in your case E-commerce funnel )
    • The second row relates to the variable we want to change based on the value we have for svc_module_name — Which is the last part of the condition ( assign to gads_conversion_label the output value manually set in the ext )

Now we’re ready to publish our changes and check if they’re working as intended.

    • First, click on Publish and do it for DEV/QA only
    • Then go to the console in the browser and type utag_data.gads_converson_label
    • You should see this value changing for each website section. And therefore it will be mapped to Google ADS differently for each website section

If you arrived right here at the bottom, congrats! You should have now a basic understanding of Tealium! If you’re interested in more content related to the Digital Marketing world visit our blog beluacode.com

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