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Best practices for using Tags

Tags offer a flexible way to organize contacts and can be used in automation triggers and as conditions in conditional content. They are meant to represent temporary data and are very easy to apply to contacts. For example, tags can be added to contacts manually or by automations, forms, link clicks, integrations, and API calls.

Because tags are easy to create, you may end up with too many tags or a disorganized tagging system. However, following these best practices can help you avoid what could be a confusing or even frustrating situation. 

  • Plan your tagging system
    What tags do you need and how will you use them? This is an important question to ask yourself for two reasons. First, it will prevent you from creating tags simply to create tags. As marketers, we become collector's of data but more data isn't always better. If you aren't going to use a tag, its existence only complicates things. Second, when you see the tags you're going to create, it helps you identify and define a logical structure.

    For instance, you might decide that you want to tag your customer's by the category of product that they purchased so that you can upsell, cross-sell, and downsell post-purchase. You might decide that it is logical to have a structure like:

    Customer - Camer
    Customer - Lens
    Customer - Storage
    Customer - Accessories

  • Error on the side of simplicity... but be descriptive
    Some people like to use acronyms and codes in their tags because it creates a shorter, prettier tag. The downside is that tags become cryptic and difficult to decode. If you choose to do this, be sure that you use the description feature of the Tag Manager to clearly document what the tag's purpose is and what it means.

    Even though your tags may become longer, it's good practice to make them as straightforward as possible. For instance, “Visited pricing page” might be a fine tag. You know exactly what it means and you'll never forget.

  • Use consistent naming conventions
    Some people use brackets:
    [CUSTOMER] Camera

    Some people use colons:
    Customer: Camera

    Or dashes:
    Interest - Content - Videos

  • Categorize your tags
    You can also use a naming convention to categorize your tags. For instance, you might have a group of tags that indicates different behaviors:

    [ACTION] Downloaded whitepaper
    [ACTION] Clicked link
    [ACTION] Opened campaign
    [ACTION] Visited web page

    Or, you might have tags that indicate product and content interests:
    Interest - Product - Cameras
    Interest - Product - Storage media
    Interest - Content - Lenses
    Interest - Content - How to

    You are able to use any special character so choose whatever notation style makes the most sense to you.

  • Prune your tags regularly
    Even with a plan, you'll probably find that your list of tags continuously expands. Make a point of regularly reviewing your tags and removing the tags that are redundant or unnecessary. The Tag Manager makes it easy to see all your tags, delete them, and merge duplicates into a single tag.

    For more best practices and tips on using tags, check out this blog post.  
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