TMH #5: Tag Management with Adam Halbardier

Published 24 August, 2021

This is a special episode for all you Google Tag Manager geeks out there!

My interview guest this time around is Adam Halbardier of Google. Among many other roles, he leads the server-side tagging team for Google Tag Manager.

In this interview, we started casually with server-side tagging, a new-ish paradigm for Google Tag Manager, where the tagging logic is moved to the server rather than kept as a burden on the client.

This then spiralled, of course, to exploring the engineering decisions that come with such an incredibly popular service. We discussed the role of security, performance, and feature design.

GTM isn’t perfect, and Adam rightfully recognizes that. However, I’ve personally always considered GTM to be somewhat different than the other services and tools maintained by Google. 

For one, it facilitates data collection rather than collect data in itself. This is all the more emphasized with server-side tagging, where the pitch is how it improves the governance and oversight opportunities for those data flows that would otherwise go from the browser directly to the vendor, unchecked.

Another aspect of GTM is how it’s always been a community product. I’m not saying the community built it, but that the community around GTM has been instrumental in making it a better service. The custom solutions, templates, and guides that are created and shared continue to improve the GTM experience for all users, not just those who pay the money for premium membership. 

Listen to the episode using the player or find it in your favorite podcast service.

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