What is a container tag?

author avatar
Matthias Kupperschmidt
11. May 2023
2min read

In the realm of digital analytics and tag management, a container tag simplifies the process of deploying and managing multiple tracking tags on a website.

It acts as a centralized hub, encapsulating and coordinating various tracking codes, scripts, or pixels from analytics tools and advertising platforms. This makes it easier and cheaper to manage, as technical marketers can make changes themselves without being dependent on developer resources.

Currently, 30% of all websites on the internet use a tag manager. GTM is the most-widely used tag management system with a global market share of 94%, though there are other competitors, like Adobe Launch and Tealium iQ. 

If you want to learn how to use Google Tag Manager, read my guide on how to implement a Google Analytics setup with GTM.

Purpose and Functionality of Container Tags

The primary purpose of a container tag is to enable marketers, analysts, and webmasters to manage and control multiple tags efficiently. By implementing a single container tag, users gain the ability to add, edit, or remove various tags without directly modifying the website's source code through a developer.

How does a container tag work?

Within a tag management system, a container tag acts as the core component that governs the execution of tags.

When a webpage loads, the container tag is the first script that initiates, and it subsequently triggers the loading of implemented marketing tags. The container tag collects, processes and shares data between tags, manages tag firing rules, and controls the order in which tags are executed.

Can multiple container tags be used simultaneously on a website?

Typically, only one container tag is used on a website. Implementing multiple container tags simultaneously can lead to conflicts and unpredictable behavior.

If properly reviewed though, multiple Google Tag Manager containers or combinations of e.g. GTM & the Tealium tag manager can work.

Are there any security concerns associated with container tags?

While container tags themselves do not pose inherent security risks, tag implementation can always introduce potential vulnerabilities. For instance, if a container tag is configured to load external scripts from untrusted sources, it may inadvertently expose the website to malicious code injection or data breaches.

What happens if a container tag fails to load or encounters an error?

If a container tag fails to load, it can impact the execution of associated tags, leading to incomplete data collection or functionality issues.

How are container tags implemented into a website's code?

Implementing a container tag typically involves adding a small snippet of code to the website's source code. The container tag code is usually provided by the tag management system platform. Once the container tag is in place, marketers or webmasters can begin to configure tags using the tag management system's user interface, without requiring further direct modifications to the website's codebase.

Do container tags have any impact on website performance or page load times?

Container tags can impact website performance and page load times, primarily due to the additional network requests they introduce. When a container tag is present, the associated tags need to be fetched and executed, which can add latency to the page loading process. However, modern tag management systems often employ advanced techniques, such as asynchronous loading and tag caching, which in turn bring page speed advantages in comparison to implementing the tags directly in the code base.

author avatar
Matthias Kupperschmidt
11. May 2023
2min read