Tips for a successful migration from Adobe DTM to Launch
Adobe announced in 2018 that it’s phasing out its Dynamic Tag Management (DTM) solution and will offer customers a brand new Tag Management System called Launch instead.
In April 2021, Adobe DTM will go to sleep. It’s time to move on.
You might be using Adobe DTM right now and wondering what Launch is and how to implement it. You’ve come to the right place.
Our analytics expert Patrick Psiuk has compiled tips and best practices for a successful migration from DTM to Launch.
What is (Adobe Experience Platform) Launch?
Launch or Adobe Experience Platform (AEP) Launch is a dynamic tag management system built from the ground up.
What’s new about the solution is its openness: in addition to “tags” for the Adobe solutions Analytics, Target and Experience Platform, Launch also supports third-party tools. That includes Google tools. It all works via extensions.
Why do you need a tag manager?
Tag management systems like Launch or DTM are needed when code snippets like tracking codes or conversion pixels have to be integrated into your website.
The standard code of the tag management system only has to be integrated once. The configuration is then made into the tag management system. This means that when you want to add a new marketing tag, you don’t need to adapt your website anymore. This is good for IT (because they don’t have to make an effort) and good for marketers (because they are not bound to IT releases to make adjustments).
If you are already using Adobe DTM or any other tag manager solution and would like to migrate to Launch by Adobe, these are the steps to follow.
5 steps for a successful migration
At the end of 2020, you will have to replace Adobe DTM. The best alternative is to use Launch.
In order to migrate successfully, without data loss or lost variable configurations, you should follow the following best practices.
1 – Plan
A migration from DTM to Launch is not something you just do on a free Friday afternoon. It needs to be well thought through.
Since a lead time of about 6 months is to be expected, the project should be started early, especially since Adobe will not allow any changes to the DTM tracking code after the end of 2020.
Your team of digital marketing managers and data analysts must be involved at an early stage to outline the project.
2 – Document
Documentation is absolutely required. It must clearly define the current state of your tag management system and what elements need to be moved to the target solution.
Thorough documentation will help you verify that nothing has been forgotten during the migration.
It’s absolutely essential that the current state and the desired final state are meticulously documented before the migration is started.
How the documentation should look is a question of personal taste. An Excel sheet containing all the essential definitions is sufficient:
- Data elements
- Variable declarations
- Rules and pages that have to be specially tracked
You may also want to list your current pain points with DTM, which you would like to solve with the new system.
3 – Revise the data layer
There are some things you may want to solve differently and more elegantly with your new tag manager system.
A migration is reasonable timing to carry out an improvement of the data layer.
Are you using a data layer already? If not, it’s high time to introduce one!
Are your data layers outdated? We can upgrade to the latest version right away.
Data layers are the core of the analysis stack. They define what data can be collected and how it is collected.
4 – Migrate
You can now begin the actual migration of Adobe DTM to Launch. There are two types of migrations, one already prepared by Adobe, and a manual variant:
Lift & Shift is the automatic migration. You only have to click a button. The rest works like magic.
This is practical and helpful, but you have no control over what happens. By following this path you won’t be able to fix your current pain points as they will be migrated as well.
Long story short: the automatic migration is only suitable for those who are completely satisfied with their current setup.
The second approach, manual migration is an actual new beginning. This approach is preferable to Lift & Shift in most cases.
The main benefit is to get rid of legacy data that you don’t want to migrate.
Functions can be set up in a new and a better way: what was not correctly implemented with your previous solution can now be fixed.
Launch also offers new mechanisms such as extensions. An extension is a kind of template which bundles individual functions and makes them available. We recommend using existing extensions instead of building your own.
5 – Test, test, test
When rebuilding with Launch testing is relatively easy, because the application is easy to understand. Nevertheless, at least the following things should be tested thoroughly:
- Conversions are the real reason why analysis and optimization of websites are done in the first place. It’s important to ensure they still run smoothly..
- The most important pages of your website should be tested thoroughly: does everything work as usual for both the user and the data analyst?
- The data must also be viewed from the analytics side: do the numbers make sense? You can set up a test dashboard for this purpose.
- The data layers should be checked and viewed in detail: are the reported values correct? Are values or definitions missing? Are there too many measurements and can it be simplified?
If you follow these tips, almost nothing can go wrong.
Changing from one product to another is costly and takes up a lot of resources, especially when this change is forced by the software vendor.
In this case, the change is definitely worthwhile. The leap from DTM to Launch is immense, and with Launch, Adobe offers a tool that is second to none.
That’s why a well-thought-out migration is the best thing you can do. Combined with “mucking out” the data layers and integrating new functions, it’s a step in the right direction – forward.
Senior Consultant Digital Marketing