In this exclusive interview, we have the privilege of speaking with a true trailblazer in the realm of digital analytics, Matteo Zambon. A pioneer who has shaped the Italian landscape of Google Tag Manager (GTM) and Google Analytics. He is not your typical academic expert; instead, he embarked on a unique journey of self-discovery and community-driven knowledge sharing, winning important analytics prizes like the Golden Punchard and the Quanties Awards along the way. And… fortunately for us, he will be speaking at the upcoming DDMA Digital Analytics Summit on October 12th.
Come check out Matteo Zambon’s Talk at the DDMA Digital Analytics 2023 on October 21th. Tickets available at: shop.digitalanalyticssummit.nl.
Can you briefly introduce yourself? Who are you, and what do you do?
I’ve never followed an academic digital analytics path. I preferred to trace my own path from the very beginning, for the sake of community knowledge, the desire for constant improvement and because of my burning passion, in particular, for Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics, and in general for the entire digital analytics world.
As a matter of fact, I’ve been the first expert in Italy to divulge, since 2015, the importance of Google Tag Manager and how to use this tool to improve the business and marketing campaigns’ performances of web marketing professionals and entrepreneurs. Besides that, I’m an official Google Tag Manager Beta Tester and Alpha Tester of Google Analytics 4.
Also, I co-founded and run Tag Manager Italia, one of the top digital analytics agencies in Italy, which is organized in 3 vertical business units – Consulting, Education, and R&D -, along with my “dream team” made up of more than 25 experts and professionals.
SuperWeek, Measurecamp Europe, Measurecamp UK, Measurecamp North America, ADworld Experience, Web Marketing Festival, SMXL (and MeasureSUmmit, of course) are just some the international events where I held workshops and educational speeches.
To what extent is sGTM truly the solution for every organization, especially considering capacity, investments, and feasibility? Is it achievable for everyone?
I believe that sGTM is the most accessible, scalable, and effective solution for any company managing advertising campaigns and having digital business assets (websites, e-commerce, marketplaces, social media, etc.). Of course, provided that the company wishes to implement significantly more profitable and efficient business and marketing strategies through the collection and use of precise and timely data 🙂
Jokes aside, many companies have recognized that sGTM is a system that is hard to match, as it can integrate more quickly, simply, and effectively into any organization (from SMEs to non-profit organizations to multinational corporations) compared to most other suites on the market. In this regard, I would like to emphasize the significant cost-opportunity advantage and simplicity that the GTM ecosystem and especially sGTM put in the hands of digital analysts, marketing managers and advertising specialists.
First and foremost, thanks to the integration with third-party systems for Server-Side system management, the creation of tracking systems implemented via GTM not only becomes much simpler and faster, but the quality and quantity of the collected data skyrockets. Costs are affordable for companies of any size, and tracking is carried out in full compliance with the GDPR regulations in force.
In my opinion, the only differentiating factor in choosing sGTM as a centralized tracking system is whether the company in question intends to fully leverage its digital assets, grow, and optimize its campaigns and marketing activities using data.
Is it technically feasible for anyone to use sGTM tracking systems? To this question, I answer ‘certainly not.’ Undoubtedly, the creation and management of a Server-Side tracking system that is now necessary – compared to the ‘classic’ Client-Side system – require specialized agencies and technical experts with advanced technical skills to manage and optimize Server-Side tracking. In this scenario, dedicated budgets proportional to website traffic and server requests must be provided for Server-Side activities.
As a Google Tag Manager guru, what GTM feature(s) would you like to see in the future? And perhaps more importantly, which feature(s) would you like to see disappear?
I love the GTM Community and I think Template is one of the best features released. Thanks to Templates and the Community Gallery you can create any Tags or Variables you need.
The big problem of this community is that there are no star reviews, description reviews and the number of “downloads”. Sometimes it is difficult to understand what are the right tags or variables because there are two or three types of tags/variables with similar operations.
Another thing is about “Folder”. You cannot use it for different elements or you cannot create a nested folder.
What are the most common mistakes that Digital Analytics professionals make regarding Google Tag Manager? What should they really stop doing?
One of the most common mistakes I see is not having GTM activated if the user does not accept marketing consent. GTM does not create cookies, it is the services activated by GTM that create cookies.
Another mistake is to think that GTM has the sole purpose of installing services (Tags). It’s not simply that. You can use GTM to expand the functionality of certain services, effectively making it a temporary data lake.
You’ve built the Italian community around GTM. Have you encountered anything specific to the Italian market that stood out? What challenges have you faced? Do you have any tips for those looking to implement similar initiatives in other countries?
Unlike what happens abroad, in Italy, the potential of GTM was not initially understood, and it is still not fully comprehended today, which is why we created the community. The biggest challenge has been responding patiently to the questions of some members of the community who would like universally applicable solutions rather than adopting a personalized approach to their specific needs. My advice is to start by helping people who are at the beginning of their journey in digital analytics, trying to understand their perspective and the difficulties they are facing.
Can you provide a sneak peek of what you’ll be discussing at the Summit?
My talk will focus on Real-Time Reports in GA4 and BigQuery. I chose this topic because many of the clients who turn to my agency for GA4 implementation consultations are bewildered by the subject of real-time reports. Real-time data was easily viewable with GA3, but it now requires a detailed implementation process with GA4 and BigQuery. The implementation and analysis of real-time reports are extremely useful and valuable for all businesses that need to monitor daily incoming traffic on their digital assets, like publishing and news websites.
During my talk, I will delve into the details of some real case studies of implementations and the customized technical solutions that my team and I have developed for our clients. I’ll also share the challenges we encountered, how we resolved them during the implementation phase, and the final results we achieved.
Come check out Matteo Zambon’s Talk at the DDMA Digital Analytics 2023 on October 21th. Tickets available at: shopdigitalanalyticssummit.nl.