Archive for 2010
By tealium | December 22nd, 2010 at 1:25 pm | 0 Comments
Looking back during this holiday season, we’ve come to realize that this past year has been both transformational and rewarding.
Transformation has come in the form of new focus, product developments and road-map in the area of universal tagging / tag management. You will see a lot more announcements in the coming months.
Reward has come in the form new customers joining the Tealium family, with a record booking quarter after quarter.
We owe a great deal of gratitude to our customers, partners, and of course to our team for their continued dedication and support.
Happy holidays from everyone at Tealium. We wish you a safe holiday season and happy new year.
By Ali Behnam | November 23rd, 2010 at 11:26 am | 0 Comments
Congratulations to Antoine Janning and the team at MediaPod for winning the New Services Award at E-Commerce Paris 2010, the largest exhibition of e-commerce technologies in Europe.
MediaPod was awarded Best of Show award for their use of Tealium Universal Tag on client web sites, saving clients several months of IT resources for deployment of tags.
MediaPod is a Tealium Certified Partner. We at Tealium would like to congratulate MediaPod for their continuous innovation in the fields of web analytics deployments and tag management.
By Ali Behnam | October 4th, 2010 at 10:34 am | 1 Comment
Tag Management or Universal Tag?
If you attended X Change, one of the huddles offered was around universal tagging. There are a growing number of companies taking different approaches to the same problem: web site tagging is a mess – whether it’s for web analytics, ad, affiliate tags or a combination. The industry as a whole is starting to tackle the issue – something that we started addressing over two years ago – and that’s a good thing.
Some are using the term “universal tag” while others call it “tag management”. The term embraced by the industry in the long run is anybody’s guess. Our feeling is that it’s pretentious for any one person or organization at this point to decide what the term is. The industry is still very new. In the long run, the clients will decide what the best nomenclature is.
I’ve been in this industry long enough to remember all the different terms that people used to describe the “Web Analytics” industry:
Web Metrics, Site Statistics, Web Stats, Site Analysis, Web Traffic Analysis, Web Intelligence, eBusiness Intelligence, Online Metrics, eMetrics – and I’m sure I missed a few. Eventually the industry started standardizing around the term “Web Analytics”.
Remember ASP? No, not “average selling price” or “active server pages”. It was the term referred by almost all SAAS (Software as a service) providers in the 2000-2003 era. It stood for “Application Service Provider”. Now everyone’s using SAAS. The business models are the same. Only the names are different.
We’re now going through same nomenclature education/battle within the “universal tag” industry. You’ve probably heard the various terms: Universal Tag, Tag Management, Tag Management System, Container Tag, and two other terms that I’d personally like to throw into the mix: “Master Tag” and “Tagging As A Service” (TAAS) – you’ve heard them here first.
So what’s the point of all this?
The point is that it doesn’t matter. This is what marketing people do in order to educate the market. Unfortunately, most of the time they end up confusing the market more than educate it.
So what’s our position on this? Well it depends partly on the methodology used by the provider to tackle the issue. But there are some key features that companies should take into consideration when looking at a universal tag/tag management solution:
Hosted vs. On-demand
Our belief is that a true “universal” tag should provide customers with either option. Some customers prefer the entire solution to be hosted by the vendor – it’s easy, clean and void of headaches. Others (especially clients with large traffic) insist on hosting their own solution. For such clients, any third-party server point of failure is an important determining factor.
Dashboard vs. Programmatic Editing
On the other hand, some customers, specifically those that are more technical in nature want to go beyond what can be made available in a user interface. They want to get under the hood and understand the solution at its core and not treat it as some black box magical tag manager. Our belief is that the solution should provide both options to the user.
Lease vs. Perpetual Model
With the lease model, the solution is a SAAS, or as I’d like to call it TAAS. Many of the tag management solutions fall into this category. However, many customers may prefer to own the license outright and not pay based on the number of server calls, especially since one of the value propositions of universal tags is to reduce any reliance on one vendor. Again, the solution needs to provide the necessary level of flexibility in this regard.
Rich vs. One-line Tags
A one-line tag means a simple include line pointing to a JS file which then makes one or many calls to a server yielding the actual “tag” implementation either statically defined or via server configuration. A one-line tag provides the simplest deployment to the client, but comes at a cost. The server dependency can cause reduced customer experience and a single point of failure. The concept of a rich-tag is more of a “master tag” allowing the client development team to expose data relevant to the application. A rich tag has more initial upfront work but is ultimately more flexible and from a performance standpoint, optimal. We usually see clients that have over 5 data points (variables) opt for rich tags and others with less demanding needs opt for one-line includes. If your site already has meaningful meta data tags, microformats, or consistent elements in the page like breadcrumbs, you may already have a rich tagged site. Our belief is that a “universal tag” supports both tagging options.
For Tealium, a universal tag is about choice. Henry Ford once said “Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black”. Although the philosophy works for industrial assembly lines, a “one-size fits all” strategy is the wrong approach for enterprise-level web sites with distinct environments.
This is the Tealium philosophy – a solution that can adapt to client needs and environment. This is why we feel that “tag management” as it stands today only provides a subset functionality of an enterprise-level “universal tag”, and why we have chosen to build universal tag products and to provide universal tag services.
By Ali Behnam | September 16th, 2010 at 8:00 am | 0 Comments
Tag Management has arrived. While attending this year’s Google Analytics Certified Partner (GACP) Summit, one of the topics of discussion among attendees was universal tagging and tag management. This of course is great news as it validates our vision dating back to 2008, as we first introduced universal tagging for web analytics.
What was once a vision and a consulting project here at Tealium is now a topic of discussion at web analytics conferences, including the upcoming X Change. And as marketers’ knowledge of universal tagging increases, so does the product’s maturity. A key requirement has been the ability for business users to manage their tags without IT involvement.
Enter Tag Management Console.
The Tag Management Console is the admin console for Universal Tag Deployments. Within the Console, non-technical users can manage their tag using a drag-and-drop interface.
Want to add DoubleClick tags to your site? Simply drag the DoubleClick icon and enter your account ID.
Want to add Google Analytics? Drag the Google Analytics icon and enter your account ID.
Want to add Eloqua tags for better lead nurturing? Well, you get the idea.
Once configured, users can add, edit and delete their marketing tags and manage complex implementations such as changing mappings from one vendor variable to another. Again, all this is done without straining valuable IT resources, meaning that you can make changes to your tags in hours or days instead of weeks and months.
Contact us to schedule a live demo of Tag Management Console.
By Ali Behnam | June 8th, 2010 at 9:00 am | 0 Comments
So far we’ve discussed using the Universal Tag to improve your implementation, achieve a better web analytics process and prepare for the unknown. But there’s another major benefit associated with the Universal Tag.
Universal Tag is about reducing redundancy.
The redundancy that we see typically comes in one of two forms:
- Redundancy associated with using multiple solutions
- Redundancy associated with data already available on the page
In this post, we’re going to discuss how Universal Tag can in fact reduce redundancy.
Redundancy Associated with Using Multiple Solutions
The trend that we’re clearly seeing today is that businesses are using more digital marketing tools than ever, which is resulting in more tags on web pages. For example, the home page of staples.com includes 7 different vendor tags. Many of the tags require their own set of variables to be declared, which results in redundant data. On this page alone, we see two different web analytics solutions: Omniture and Coremetrics.
Lets look at another example. This web site is using two different analytics solutions: HBX & SiteCatalyst. Both tags are collecting the same set of data, although the syntax may be different. If you were to look at the page weight associated with the HBX and SiteCatalyst tags on this page, you would end up with about 4 KB of added page weight per page. This is extra code on every single page.
For this same implementation, a Universal Tag page code will look something like this – which amounts to about 150 characters – a saving of about 4,000 bytes per page. To put this into perspective, for each 1 million page views per month, the bandwidth savings would be 3.7 GB/month, which is quite substantial.
Compared to traditional analytics tagging, the Universal Tag offers several advantages:
- Simplified tagging
- Smaller page weight
- More flexible deployment
Redundancy Associated with Data Already Available on the Page
Often times, the data being passed to analytics solutions is already available on the page. Think about it. On a product page, you want to be able to capture the product name and attributes such as size, color, ratings, number of comments made, sku number, category, brand and other attributes. To demonstrate this, consider this example shown below of a product page.
The page itself includes just about all the information needed, including the product name, category, brand, rating, number of customer reviews, as well as the user status (“signed in” or “not signed in”). This is all information that’s useful for web analytics implementations. This information can be typically found in a number of ways, including:
- Parts of the page URL
- Query parameters within the page
- Meta tags on the page
- Other in-page elements such as h1 or other such tags
- Cookie values
The idea here is nothing new. See this great blog post by Dennis Mortensen from Yahoo! Web Analytics about the use of microformats for web analytics. The Tealium Universal tag fully supports the use of microformats, as well as other page elements mentioned above for data collection.
This approach creates a smaller footprint on the page, as well as lowers the deployment cycle. However, the approach also has some disadvantages. First, not everyone uses these elements consistently. For example, microformats are fairly new and there are a small number of sites using microformats today. Second, the approach directly ties web analytics deployment to the web design process which has its disadvantages. For example, what happens if you’re relying on tag IDs for web analytics and your design team redesigns the site? The dependence could break the web analytics deployment and is an extra checkpoint for your design team to consider.
In the end, you should pick the method that best works for you. However, it is important to note that whatever solution you end up selecting can fit your specific workflow.
By Ali Behnam | June 1st, 2010 at 9:00 am | 0 Comments
In our previous posts, we talked about how the Universal Tag can simplify your web analytics implementation and improve the web analytics process. In this post, we’re going to discuss another key benefits associated with the Universal Tag:
Universal Tag is about preparing for the unknown.
Let’s face it. Implementations change because requirements change. Traditional web analytics deployments require you to know your requirements well in advance before you start tagging. Your reporting requirements (how you want to see the data) will dictate how you tag your analytics solution.
Want to see the impact of site search on cart activity? You’ll have to tag for it.
Want to see the number of times people view a product before placing it in cart? You’ll have to tag for it.
Want to see the effect of white paper downloads on lead conversions? You’ll have to tag for it.
This is costly. And what makes the process more cumbersome is the fact that requirements change. The change can be part of the evolutionary process associated with web analytics, or simply because of unexpected consequences of your implementation. In this post, we’re going to discuss what happened to a major consumer products company and how the Universal Tag saved them from re-tagging.
In this specific scenario, the company just launched a virtual world promoting many of their different brands. The virtual world is built completely in Flash and in order to track the effectiveness of the on-site promotional offers, the company decided to track the promotions as on-site campaign impressions. In other words, as a new offer (internal ad) appears on the screen, an impression tracking is sent to the web analytics tool.
This measurement framework allows the company to measure the click-through rate of the internal offers (since impressions are being tracked). However, it also results in an unexpected side effect.
Assuming that upon each offer, an impression request is sent to the analytics tool, what happens if the visitor leaves his/her computer while keeping the browser open (say heads out to lunch)?
This implementation will result in many extra unwanted calls being sent to the vendor, which results in both artificially high number of server calls (cost to the customer), as well as engagement metrics in the form of time spent on site.
With a traditional web analytics deployment, the client will have to go back to the web development team and to add a logic within the content management system that caps the number of ad impressions being sent. However, with a Universal Tag deployment, fixing this is simply a matter of adding a new plug-in to the Universal Tag library. The plug-in automatically cuts off requests after a defined number of impressions. The web development team or the agency does not have to change a thing and web analytics practitioners can be in total control of how the data is sent to the vendor.
Web analytics implementations are not always easy. Often times, as you’re getting into advanced implementations, there’s a chance that you’ll see unexpected behaviors or side effects from the implementation. With traditional deployments, these require a re-tagging exercise. The Universal Tag on the other hand lets you deploy once and fine tune without having to re-touch your page tags every time, hence preparing for the unknown.
By Ali Behnam | May 24th, 2010 at 9:00 am | 1 Comment
In our last post, we talked about the use of Universal Tag to improve your web analytics implementation. In this post, we are going to discuss another major benefit associated with the Universal Tag.
Universal Tag is about having a better web analytics process.
Web analytics is an iterative process. A typical web analytics cycle is shown here. First, users deploy their web analytics tool. From there, they analyze the data, and make changes to their sites based on findings. The cycle then repeats itself. However, in some cases, the findings may require users to look at the data in a different angle. Often times, the new angle will require a change in web analytics implementation, which means re-tagging the site.
To demonstrate this, we’re going to discuss an analysis that we recently did for a technology company. This client sells expensive enterprise software and uses a large number of white papers in order to educate its user base. As part of the analysis, the client wanted to know if white papers have a positive impact on site conversions, which is lead generation. The client’s tool of choice is Google Analytics.
To do the analysis, we used the “Visits with Conversion” segment and looked at the downloaded files for the segment. This will show us which files were downloaded during the same session where the lead was captured. The results were initially shocking. For this particular segment, we saw about 30% less white paper downloads than an average session. Are we to believe that converting visitors are less interested in white papers than non-converting ones? This meant that we needed additional information.
The next hypothesis was that visitors download the papers, read them and then come back to the web site and submit their information. In order to prove this new hypothesis, we had to make an implementation change since Google Analytics does not provide this level of cross-session analysis without customization.
The solution was to use a visitor-scope custom variable to capture the downloaded document and look at the “download” custom variable report for the “converting” visitors.
With default web analytics deployments, this requires editing the tagging within the download pages, which is a laborious process that will involve the web development team. However, through the Universal Tag, this process be can implemented without a single page tag change.
Following this change, the discovery proved our hypothesis. In fact, we learned that it takes an average of 2 days between a white paper download and a lead registration. This exercise clearly showed the dangers of relying only on session-level data when dealing with complex sales.
Universal Tag made this discovery possible without re-tagging. Because organizations can fine-tune their implementation without costly re-tagging exercises, they can learn faster and therefore get more value from their web analytics investment than those using standard tags.
By Ali Behnam | May 16th, 2010 at 6:42 pm | 2 Comments
It has been a while since our last blog post. We’ve been busier than ever deploying the Universal Tag on client sites and I’m happy to say that the number of unique client deployments is approaching 50.
There’s more and more buzz around Universal Tagging every day and as a result, we’re getting the same questions from more people than ever: What is the Universal Tag?
In this multi-part series, we’re going to share our thoughts as to what the Universal Tag is and what it’s not.
In this post, we’re going to cover what we see as the first misconception about the Universal Tag.
Misconception: Universal Tag should be used by those that are in the process of switching vendors.
Fact: Based on two years of experience, we can categorically say that this is not the primary benefit that Universal Tag provides to clients.
Universal Tag is about fixing your current implementation.
That’s right. Out of almost 50 deployments of Universal Tag, only two clients have signed up in order to switch vendors. The large majority has no plan to switch vendors. Yet they recognize that their implementation can be vastly improved. Universal Tag provides them a platform to do just that.
The reason is because the Universal Tag provides a simplified platform for tagging compared to traditional vendor tags. It also changes the best practice implementation considerably. Today’s web analytics tools require you to think well in advance about the different types of reports that you want to get from the solution. Only after you have a good understanding of what your reporting needs are can you start the tagging process.
The Universal Tag framework changes this by letting you send generic data and map it to vendor-specific syntax at any time. This changes best practice implementations in that it lets you just send the data. The rest can be handled through the Universal Tag.
Here is a real-life example that helps demonstrate the point.
Example: Product Syntax
Consider a scenario of a product page. Within the page, you’d like to capture several components, including the product name, product size, color, and number of ratings received. As far as reporting is concerned, you’d like to get reports on top products viewed, top colors and sizes viewed, as well as average ratings of products (a numerical report) and a histogram or bar chart report of reviews (how many views for products with rating 1, rating 2, …).
Sounds simple, huh? Lets look at how you would go about implementing this with the two most popular tools on the market: Google Analytics and SiteCatalyst. The examples that we’ll use will be for a cotton shirt, color: white, size: large and a rating of 4.5.
First Google Analytics. We’re going to use custom variables to capture product name, size and color. The challenge here is that not only your developers have to know about the specific syntax, but they should also be aware of the fact that you can have visitor, visit or pageview-based custom variables. Now there’s no such thing as a numerical custom variable in Google Analytics, so you’ll have to use the event tracking feature in order to get your numerical ratings report. The implementation syntax will look something like this
pageTracker._setCustomVar(1,"product view","cotton shirt",3); pageTracker._setCustomVar(2,"color","white",3); pageTracker._setCustomVar(3,"size","large",3); pageTracker._setCustomVar(4,"rating","4.5",3); pageTrack._trackPageview(); ... pageTracker._trackEvent("product view","cotton shirt","rating","4.5");
Let’s try the same thing with SiteCatalyst. We’re going to assume that we’ll use prop1 and eVar1 for size, prop2 and eVar2 for color, prop3, and eVar3 for rating and event1 as the numerical event used to measure the average rating. The implementation syntax will look something like this:
s.events="event1,prodView"; s.products=";cotton shirt;;;event1=4.5;evar1=large|evar2=white|evar3=4.5"; s.prop1="large"; s.prop2="white"; s.prop3="4.5";
Again, you’re requiring your development team to know what different props, eVars and events are as well as the exact syntax which should be used (for example using lower case evar for merchandising).
Now let’s look at what this same implementation will look like with the Universal Tag. Here’s an example syntax:
yourdata.product="cotton shirt", yourdata.size="large", yourdata.color="white", yourdata.rating="4.5", yourdata.page_type="product view",
Now what if you wanted to deploy both SiteCatalyst & Google Analytics? No changes. The implementation will be the exact same.
This simplified implementation has several benefits. The one that’s clearly being addressed in this post is that it simplifies implementations and vastly reduces the deployment cycle. Your development team no longer has to master the analytics tool being used and can concentrate on sending the data through the simplified tag. Your business team or analytics department can then translate this data into vendor-specific syntax.
In future posts, we will share some of the other benefits that we’re seeing with the Universal Tag. Stay tuned.
By tealium | April 1st, 2010 at 8:00 am | 0 Comments
Tealium is proud to announce the Galactic Tag.
Yeah baby! The Universal Tag wasn’t enough so we’re going galactic.
The Galactic Tag includes a number of exciting features, which include:
- Support for portable zip codes: the Galactic Tag includes a precise geo-location functionality, including the support for the new portable zip code system recently announced by the USPS
- ePaper tracking: the Galactic Tag is the only tag in the market that supports tracking for ePaper. In order to start tracking your printed papers, the only thing that you’ll have to do is make sure your paper has the letter “e” in it.
- Cross-Platform Video tracking: the Galactic Tag also supports the new cross-platform video platform, including videos printed on paper. This functionality lets customers track the effectiveness of their printed commercials using the same deployment.
“The Galactic Tag represents our relentless pursuit to redefine the measurement across the marketing media,” said Mike Anderson, Tealium co-founder. “With this release we’re redefining the market – literally.”
The Galactic Tag is available starting April 1. For more information, you can contact Tealium.
By Ali Behnam | March 5th, 2010 at 5:29 pm | 1 Comment
Last week at Online Marketing Summit (OMS) I had the pleasure of sitting in a panel of web analytics professionals, along with Eric Peterson, Matt Belkin from Omniture, Amanda Kahlow, Bill Bruno and Enrique Gonzalez from AARP.
First, I need to congratulate the folks from OMS for putting together a great show. There was a record attendance of over 800 professionals covering all areas of online marketing, along with a great lineup of presenters.
During the panel discussions, one of the questions asked was how should businesses deal with multi-touch attributions.
Here’s a sample scenario to help explain the pain point involved:
A visitor is interested in running shoes and conducts a Google search for the term “running shoes”. The visitor is presented a number of search ads from competing vendors such as Nike, Adidas, and others, and decides to check out Nike and Adidas sites. The visitor gets intrigued by the Nike ID line of products and decides to conduct some further research, and even registers for the Nike newsletter. While doing research on third-party sites, the visitor sees a banner ad for the Nike ID site and clicks the banner. Finally a day later the visitor gets an attractive email offer from Nike and ends up buying the shoes.
In this scenario, the visitor has been exposed to three separate campaigns. The “running shoes” search campaign generated the awareness. The banner campaign possibly helped increase awareness and instill further trust in the product and finally, the newsletter sealed the deal. By default, web analytics providers give credit to the last campaign touched by the user. In our example, the newsletter campaign will get the credit, whereas if it wasn’t for the search campaign, the visitor would not have even been aware of the Nike ID line. In fact, two variables that make multi-touch attribution a real challenge are:
- Number of simultaneous campaigns. If you’re a company running large numbers of campaigns in parallel, you should account for multi-touch attribution
- Complex or expensive product: the more complex the product, the longer the consideration and therefore the more likely you are to have multiple touch points.
So how does one tackle this challenge? First, for the large companies running many campaigns, there are a number of commercial solutions such as ClearSaleing that help solve this challenge (and a lot more). But what about smaller companies with small budgets using free solutions such as Google Analytics or Yahoo! Web Analytics?
First, we recommend that you investigate if you even have a multi-touch attribution problem. How? Let’s take another look at our example scenario. Two metrics within your analytics solution can give insight into this. They include time to purchase and number of visits prior to purchase (or conversion).
For example, if you use Google Analytics and have e-commerce tracking, you can use the “Visits to Purchase” report to see how many times do visitors come to your site prior to purchasing. If you are a lead generation type web site and have your conversions set up as goals, you can use the default “Visits with Conversions” segment and look at the loyalty report for the segment. In both cases, if most of your conversions come from first-time visitors, then multi-touch attribution is not going to be a problem for you and the rest won’t apply.
However, if you happen to see a big difference between converting visitors and others, then you can build a quick attribution report by following these steps:
- Push the cookie value into a custom variable – such as a visitor-centric custom variable in Google Analytics, a session-based custom field in Yahoo! Web Analytics or an eVar in Sitecatalyst.
You now have a simple yet powerful solution for seeing which campaigns your visitors are responding to, but also in what order.