Archive for 'Vendors'
I am delighted to announce three big additions to the Web Analytics Demystified family today! The first is our newest Partner and lead for tag management, platforms, and technology, Mr. Josh West. Josh is an incredibly experienced developer and has been working in the digital measurement space for years, both at Omniture and more recently Salesforce.com. Josh adds additional depth to our expanding team, complimenting all of our work, and Josh will be working directly with Adam Greco, John Lovett, and I on a variety of custom analytics and integration projects. More importantly, Josh will be be the Demystified lead for tag management system (TMS) vendor selection and integration projects, adding capacity in what is one of the hottest and most active components of Demystified’s business.
We will be adding Josh’s blog and content to the web site in the coming days, and of course you will be able to meet Josh in person at the Web Analytics Demystified ACCELERATE event in September in Columbus, Ohio.
Secondly, we are excited to announce that we have become certified partners with both Adobe and Google, adding to our existing agreement with Webtrends. Both companies are giving us great access and insight into their analytics and optimization product families, and we are delighted to be formalizing such great, long-standing relationships. Additionally, we are joining Google’s Premium Analytics reseller program, allowing our firm to be even more creative in how we help Enterprise-class clients make the switch to Google’s most powerful analytics solutions.
You can read the press release about Josh West and our expanded partnerships here. If you have any questions about Josh or either partnership, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly.
Today started with a flurry of communication about Adobe’s intent to start giving their Tagmanager product away to all SiteCatalyst customers at no charge. I see this change as having significant impact on the larger tag management and digital analytics marketplace, so I figured it was worth writing about.
Adobe’s news, confirmed but still not official, follows the launch of Google’s free Google Tag Manager by just over a month. This timing may be a coincidence — stranger things have happened — but it is just as easy to imagine that someone in Adobe decided that it was better to shake up the tag management market than to try and compete head-to-head on more robust, less expensive, and more widely adopted solutions. Additionally it is worth noting that IBM/Coremetrics made a similar decision months ago, essentially to provide access to their Digital Data Exchange product at no charge to customers.
For those of you keeping score at home, from the perspective of the traditional web and digital measurement vendors, here is broadly how things look today:
||$ to $$$$$
||Varies by Vendor
||$ to $$$$$
||Varies by Vendor
As you can see, three out of five of the market leaders as listed by Forrester Research in their Q4 2011 Web Analytics Wave report are currently providing their own in-house tag management product to customers at no charge. Only Webtrends and comScore at this point are left relying on third-parties, essentially forcing customers to either allocate budget, negotiate contracts, and manage another vendor or leverage Google’s tag management platform, a frightening prospect these days given Google’s continued push into Enterprise-class analytics.
What’s more, the real impact will likely be felt less in the halls at Webtrends, IBM, Google, and comScore and more at stand-alone tag management vendors like Ensighten, BrightTag, Tealium, TagMan, and others. This group, well summarized by Joe Stanhope in his recent report “Understanding Tag Management Tools and Technology”, breaks along two lines of maturity: Emerging and Mature.
By “Emerging” I mean simply platforms that are earlier-stage start-ups, built on open source code bases, or otherwise not a full-bore efforts on the part of leadership teams and investors. In this group I count Search Discovery’s Satellite product, UberTags, Tag Commander, and until recently SiteTagger (who were acquired by BrightTag this past August.) I also count the offerings from Adobe, IBM, and Google in this list — each are a great first-effort from their respective owners, but each have functional gaps relative to the mature platforms listed below.
The “Mature” platforms, at least in my mind, are BrightTag, Ensighten, Tealium, and TagMan. Each of these companies are growing, well funded, stable, and reasonably focused in their efforts to create value for the tag management market and their shareholders alike. And, while I admittedly don’t know the TagMan guys very well, the other three are all known to Web Analytics Demystified to have happy and satisfied Enterprise-class customers who are increasingly dependent on their platforms for their analytics and optimization strategies.
The challenge all of these companies now face is this: without regard to relative maturity or technical sophistication, the two biggest companies in the digital measurement space (Adobe and Google) are now giving away tag management. What’s more, Adobe’s solution is essentially already deployed as part of most SiteCatalyst customer’s existing deployments, giving Adobe PR the license to declare that “Tagmanager is the world’s most widely deployed tag management solution” if they wanted.
Touche, Adobe. Touche.
While without a doubt the usual platitudes about “rising tides” and “market education” will be brought up, as will the typical FUD about “fox in the henhouse” and “vendor lock-in”, I wanted to drill down a little and provide my personal perspective on who Adobe’s announcement helps and who it hurts. Feel free to disagree with me here in comments … I know not everyone will like what I’m about to say.
Who Adobe Giving Away Tag Management Helps …
In the short-term, Adobe’s announcement helps more or less every SiteCatalyst customer who has been wondering if tag management is right for their company. The pricing barrier is gone, the deployment barrier is gone (assuming you have the right code base deployed), and for the most part the decision barrier is gone. You don’t have to decide whether it’s right to send even more data to Google … you’re already in bed with Adobe so pull those covers up a little more and snuggle in for a long Winter’s, umm, adventure learning how to actually leverage tag management.
Okay, that analogy stunk. Sorry.
Once Adobe flips the switch, every company leveraging SiteCatalyst has the immediate green light to start to explore tag management. Keep in mind, as with everything else, it’s not the tool you use, it’s how you use it … and if you’d like help getting started with the actual process of tag management please let me know. Web Analytics Demystified is very experienced with the process of bringing TMS up within the Enterprise …
Adobe’s announcement (again, when they officially make it) will also have that “rising tide” effect I alluded to above, without a doubt. Especially considering the money that Adobe is spending on advertising and marketing lately, if Tagmanager is rolled into that it is likely that an even greater number of CEO/CIO/CTO types will be asking their analytics teams about tag management, thusly generating substantially more interest in the topic at vendors across the board.
Longer-term, Adobe and Google’s announcement will help all companies. Trust me here, tag management is the future of digital measurement, analysis, and optimization. Based on work with our clients in the past two years, tag management is Pandora’s box — once it’s opened you can never, ever return to the way things were. And while I certainly don’t want anyone reading this to think that “tag management is easy” — it’s not — with the right people, process, and technology in place, tag management is enabling a whole new type of digital analytics. Again, contact me directly if you’d like to learn more about how tag management might be able to transform your company.
Who Adobe Giving Away Tag Management Hurts …
Much the same as I opined in my Good Guy/Scumbag Google blog post on the same subject, the Adobe announcement is not all good news. While Adobe customers can certainly bask in the altruism of their vendor — regardless of the reason they decided to make Tagmanager free … free is free — not everyone can be happy about this. Here are a few companies who I think are going to be hurt by Adobe’s decision:
- Adobe’s competitors in the digital measurement space. Within the Enterprise market I certainly consider Adobe the market leader. While they are certainly not perfect, post-acquisition I have seen a steady increase in the focus and commitment the company exhibits towards the analytics market and, while I can never be entirely sure if they are actually leading the way or just following very quickly, the result is the same and Adobe continues to log impressive wins in the market. Giving away tag management — even if they have been doing it all along as a practical matter — only makes them a stronger competitor in the RFP process up against the likes of IBM, Google, Webtrends, and comScore. Seemingly overnight, free tag management has become “table stakes” in the digital measurement arena.
- The Emerging tag management vendors. Here the pain is equally inflicted by Google and Adobe. To me it is not clear that companies will continue to pay for a solution that has, in the blink of an eye, moved from the hottest technology out there to a commodity market. Yes, Adobe and Google’s solutions are emerging themselves, and yes, each has as many limitations as they do advantages, but the one thing that Google buying Urchin years ago has taught us is that “free” is very compelling, especially when the final value proposition from the change being considered is not 100% clear.
- The Mature tag management vendors. I suspect that today was one of those “ugh, f*ck” days at Ensighten, TagMan, Tealium, and BrightTag … a day that is sadly increasingly common. The competition among these four is fierce, and I suspect the last thing that any of the executives and investors at any of these firms wanted to see on the heels of a free Google entry was a widespread and automatic deployment of a no-cost tag management from the platform (Adobe) that, honestly, benefits the most from tag management in the first place. To be fair, each of these vendors has a technological and methodological advantage over both Adobe and Google — each in their own way — but again, I consider it likely that at a minimum sales cycles will lengthen, prices will be forced down, and future rounds of investment will be somewhat harder to come by.
- Tag management investors. Tag management vendors of all types have seen substantial investment from venture capitalists around the globe. Given my writing about tag management I have spent countless hours on the phone with investors considering getting into the sector and, on every call, I was inevitably asked “do you think Google or Adobe or IBM will get into the space?” Now we have our answer, and what’s more, each of these three companies see a greater advantage in having their code deployed than they do trying to use TMS to drive revenue. Unfortunately revenue and adoption is the name of the game for investors, and that game just changed.
I suspect that there is some argument to be made for “this decision by Adobe (and Google) hurts everyone” given that if I am right about points #1 through #4 above it is likely that innovation in the tag management space will slow. Here I am not so convinced — knowing the leaders at most of the Mature TMS vendors moderately well I rather expect them to respond to Adobe and Google by making even better, even more sophisticated, and even more compelling offerings for as long as the market will let them. These guys are a smart bunch, and not a one of them to my knowledge is a quitter, so I expect them all to put up a good fight … driving innovation.
Again, for at least as long as the market will let them.
What do you think? Are you using SiteCatalyst and ready to give Tagmanager a try? Are you more likely to consider SiteCatalyst because they’re giving tag management away? Or does Adobe’s decision not really change your approach towards TMS … and if not, why not?
As always I welcome your comments and thoughts.
The good guys at Google announced today that they are giving away their own Tag Management System, Google Tag Manager. Since I’m not at Emetrics (where the announcement was made) I have been watching the news and responses over Twitter and I have to say it has been quite interesting. Responses seem to fall into two broad camps — “Good Guy Google” and “Scumbag Google” (with respect to /r …) — and since we have been covering and supporting TMS deployments for the past few years I figured I would offer some thoughts on both.
Good Guy Google
In one camp we have, well, most of the companies around the globe who have been considering an investment in tag management. In one fell swoop, Google has made their lives easier by far, at least when it comes to cost-justifying an additional investment in analytics … by simply eliminating the cost all-together. Whereas Google could have brought Tag Manager to market as a revenue generating service similar to Google Analytics Enterprise, Good Guy Google (“GGG”) opted instead for rapid adoption via their tried and true “trade you for data” model which has served the analytics offering so well.
What’s more, Google made the “trade you for data” very transparent in the sign-up process, giving users an easy to identify checkbox that allows them to deny Google the ability to use their data as part of the exchange. How cool is that?
GGG is truly being good in this regard, and although they do indicate under their Terms of Service that they will be using Tag Manager data to improve the tag management service, they explicitly state they will not share collected data without the user’s consent.
Good Guy Google for thinking about our privacy!
While I am still exploring the service it is clear that A) this is a pretty good first effort and B) that Google Tag Manager is lacking much of the functionality and sophistication of the established market leaders in the space, Ensighten, Tealium, and BrightTag. Des Cahill, Vice President of Marketing at Ensighten, posted a nice welcome to Google and a brief summary of some of the limitations the Google product has relative to Ensighten and others that is worth a read if you have five minutes …
That said, given Google’s demonstrated history of rapid application evolution and their long-standing commitment to Google Analytics, I suspect that Google’s TMS will quickly evolve beyond a good “entry point” into tag management to the same type of business-viable solution that Google Analytics itself has become. If I’m right, and hell, even if I’m not, Good Guy Google has changed the adoption curve for tag management forever by putting TMS into everyone’s hands, not just those companies with enough pain or enough money to make the leap.
Inevitably not everyone is happy to see Google come into the Tag Management space. As Cahill points out in his post, the handful of tag management options out there that are targeting the lower-end of the market likely just got the wind taken completely out of their sails (or sales, FTW!) And while these very few companies will point to more mature products, better user interfaces, more well defined SLAs, and whatever other FUD they are able to think up, it is far more likely that these companies are about to undergo a “forced pivot” … which is never that much fun.
And that sucks. Scumbag Google.
What’s more, this potential pain isn’t limited to vendors targeting the lower-end of the market. The “big dogs” have taken in over $50,000,000 in venture funding in the past twelve months, and I suspect that most of that was predicated on an assumption of the continuation of the same type of hockey-stick like growth in adoption and revenue acquisition we have been reading about. Now, even if Google’s service doesn’t meet the requirements of an Enterprise-class offering, it is likely that the TMS buying process for a great number of companies just became as complicated as … well … paying for web analytics when their is a widely adopted, powerful, free solution provided by Good Guy Google.
Scumbag Google, indeed.
Good Guy or Scumbag … it Depends!
Whether you consider Google a Good Guy or a Scumbag really depends on where you work and what your vested interest are, and honestly it’s probably too soon to say for sure exactly what impact Google Tag Manager will have on the TMS space overall. Still, I have long commented that the evolution of the TMS sector is much like the web analytics sector, only much compressed, and Google’s announcement will only accelerate that compression.
Now, instead of having five to seven years to build a great company and work towards the kind of million (or billion) dollar exit appreciated by Omniture, Coremetrics, Unica, and Urchin, executives and investors at the marketing leading tag management firms need to be thinking about twelve to twenty-four month exit plans. And, instead of having the luxury of time and a natural growth and adoption curve, the smaller, lower-end firms need to quickly evaluate their commitment to a sector that is about to be overwhelmed by Good Guy/Scumbag Google.
What do you think?
Do you think Google is a Good Guy for making TMS free? Or are you skeptical, thinking that this is the ultimate Scumbag move on their part? I welcome your comments, and to make weighing in even easier I have posted to comments below that you can up-vote or down-vote based on your own, anonymous feelings.
One of the issues we focus on in our consulting practice at Web Analytics Demystified is the relationship between page performance and key site metrics. Increasingly our business stakeholders are cognizant of this relationship and, given that awareness, interested in having clear visibility into the impact of page performance on engagement, conversion, and revenue. Historically speaking tying the two together has been arduous, and, when the integration has been completed, possible outcomes have been complicated by the fact that site performance is usually someone else’s job.
Fortunately both of these challenges are becoming less and less of an issue. Digital analytics providers are increasingly able to accept page performance data, either directly as in the case of Google Analytics “Site Speed” reports, or indirectly via APIs and other feeds from solutions like Keynote, Gomez, Tealeaf, and others allowing the most widely used digital analytics suites to meaningfully segment against this data on a per-visit and per-visitor basis.
Additionally, thanks to Web Performance Optimization and the recent emergence of solutions that allow for multivariate testing of different performance optimization techniques, business stakeholders and analysts are increasingly able to collaborate with IT/Operations to devise highly targeted performance solutions by geography, device, and audience segment. Recently I had the pleasure of working with the team at SiteSpect to describe these solutions in a free white paper titled “Five Tips for Optimizing Site Performance.”
You can download the white paper directly from SiteSpect (registration required) or get the link from our own white papers page here at Web Analytics Demystified. If you want a quick preview of what the paper covers I’d encourage you to give a listen to the brief webcast we created in support of the document.
If you’re thinking about how you can better measure and manage your site’s performance we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line and we’ll walk you through how we’re helping clients around the globe get their arms around the issue.
Just a quick note of thanks to OpinionLab, ObservePoint, and Splunk who have joined I.Q. Workforce as official sponsors of our global Web Analytics Wednesday series for 2012. Thanks to these very generous organizations, my partners and I are going to be able to continue to help Web Analytics Wednesday evolve and continue to be the gathering point for digital measurement practitioners and analysts around the globe.
What these added sponsors mean to all of you is bigger budgets for Web Analytics Wednesday which we hope will lead to bigger and better gatherings. Whereas we typically limited reimbursement from the Global Fund in the past to around $100 USD, we are now able to provide larger sums based on need and demonstrated commitment to the event.
More. Free. Money.
If you have any questions about hosting a Web Analytics Wednesday or how these funds can be used please email me directly. Otherwise I hope you will join me in thanking all four of these companies for their generous support of the entire digital measurement community. You can tweet them at @corryprohens, @observepoint, @opinionlab, and @splunk or let them know you appreciate their efforts in the comments below.