Hoodies up it's time for marketing tag management 101

Lots of little hoodie wearers are going to be visiting your marketing teams talking about ‘tagging’ so it’s probably a good idea to give yourself a crash course first so you don’t get confused panda about the whole thing. 

It's just really seeing 'did the customer come this way?'
Measurement and attribution has always been a pain with both online and offline conversions so companies want you to ‘tag’ up your sites so we can all see what’s going on and what paths customers are taking and where referrals have come from and that sort of thing. 

Web page tagging is a lot like graffiti tagging. Companies use their third party tag’ to show that users have visited somewhere. So companies like Facebook and Google want you to put their tags on your pages so they can show that customers visited your pages on their customer journey. Metrics and research providers like Kissmetrics and Nielsen also use tagging technology to measure who is doing what on a page. A tag is a snippet of code that goes in the html in the page.

"We have nerds that do that, I’m just the marketing person. I think we have all that anyway"

Tagging for mobile

Yes and this where it starts to get interesting and you do need to know this for yourself. You might have heard this week about Facebook launching something called Atlas for ad serving. When you think Atlas think mobile and think mobile video —those auto play videos that are turning up on your Facebook iPhone app.Central to Atlas are Facebook custom audiences. You create a Facebook custom audience by putting a ‘tag’ Facebook Custom audience pixel, on all  your pages. The current FBX ad serving stuff is limited to desktop inventory only. Custom Audiences from Your Website allows targeting across browsers, overlaying of Facebook data, access to mobile inventory, and usage of all Facebook ad units, all of which are not available on FBX. It's the thing that gets read and messed about with in Atlas so they want you to put it on all your things. You can read more about it here

Ok but what about if you don’t really use Facebook, why is this important?

The end game is to connect company data with Facebook data with customer data. The uses are wider than Facebook and the model is one being explored by lots of advertising companies so the more you understand it the better. 

For example, if you go to the supermarket and use a loyalty card, the supermarket has point of sale scan data linked to your personal data on the loyalty card. Using Atlas, the shopper’s data can be imported from a big enterprise database like Oracle and analysed to create highly targeted audiences back into Facebook and, ultimately across online and offline ad networks. Cookies aren't that great on mobile and advertisers want to get to user-level rather than session level measurement so you can imagine with mobile phones, getting down to an individual with a lot more context like geo-location becomes possible. 

WOAH. Yes woah and that’s why you need to try and understand as much of this as possible. 

Step 1 I would suggest is make sure Google Tag Manager (there are other tag managers but this one is free and there is a lot of info around on it to learn from) is managed from client side for your brand and that you can access it. Don’t let the tag management sit with an agency or outside your company if at all possible because you need the agility to manage your own tags.  Google Tag manager means that you can change the tags on your sites without having to get developer resource. Tags such as Facebook Custom audience pixel and Google analytics tracking sit inside the tag manager. Get Google Tag Manager installed and then your team manages it. If you don’t know how then start to learn, it’s really important. 

That is the end of my blog post. 

PS:

If the technical stuff is scaring you and you like the investor strategy stuff then maybe start with this recent interview with early Facebook investor Peter Thiel who just happened to write a book with the partner person for Facebook talking about Atlas Shrugged weird magic-nomics which basically says that there was Microsoft and they missed mobile and Google are good at search stuff but Facebook is good at mobile stuff (shhh don’t mention android) and that there is a massive global ad industry and Facebook is all over it so you should invest. 

Then Marc Benioff tweeted that he’s all about Facebook and Atlas and Salesforce exacttarget are doing some partner stuff with the partner person who wrote the book with Peter Thiel and so it’s donkey kong o’clock but we love competition but monopoly is also good and hey, it’s all about the customers SMILEY FACE :))))

Confused pandas struggle with web analytics so please make it easier

Forrester released a report today about analytics and there’s a lot that I agree with and a lot that I don’t really agree with but there’s one thing that’s clear: the landscape has changed. What’s not clear is what the actual products do and I think tech vendors are going to have to do a lot of work to turn marketers, advertisers and publishers into real, hands-on users. There are many confused pandas in the wild. 

Remember when Adobe was the pretty/expensive one and IBM was the big ugly serious one and Google was the weird free one? Also wondering why Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud wasn’t mentioned as their analytics are probably sufficient for a lot of marketers who are currently using nothing at all -remember we’re working off a low base in a lot of marketing teams. No, I have no affiliation with Salesforce I just think the ExactTarget product is a good one. And Oracle. Where’s Oracle in the report? So defining enterprise web analytics in itself is still a bit of a head scratcher. I guess Forrester try and cover it with their “a significant base of enterprise-class clients” criterion but with the rate things are changing I don’t think historical client lists are going to count for much over the next three years. Or staff dedicated to web analytics products. Is that engineering or sales or support? 90-day free demo and a bit of Hadoop and look at that, you’ve changed data systems. 

It’s good that Adobe is in the number one position. Omniture Site Catalyst is the best analytics product on the market today and Adobe should be making a lot more of it. What? Well you see I have a real issue with your Marketing Cloud Adobe. It’s way too complicated. I think you probably already know this and I know you’ve had a few acquisitions and are trying to stitch is all together but good grief, nobody can remember the name of two cloud products let alone five.  Take Microsoft Office. I’ve been using it since the late 90’s and I can name Word and Excel… and then.. oh look I stopped caring. Make it easier for people Adobe and go hard on Omniture.  Start with the customers (i.e. advertisers, publishers and marketers) and work back based on what we can use it for, not all the standalone parts because nobody got time for that and your products are fantastic but it’s so hard to know what product does what. 

Ditto IBM. Lots of acquisitions and suites of brands and products that do various things that become a bit of a blur after the first 10 minutes of the demo. I’m sure it’s all fabulous but it’s hard to get your head around and way too hard for the new wave of customers such as brand marketers and journalists to find their way around. 

Hilariously, Google Analytics Premium gets the ‘simple and easy’ tag and the ‘democratise all the information’ tag which I think are probably the two most important things at the moment and they still didn’t get in the first pack of product leaders according to Forrester.  More weighting on these factors is needed because teams are growing so we need more people at various skill levels working on the data. Remember when you had one or two analyst nerds that ran reports and worked for the executive team the whole time and ignored your five ‘can you do a campaign summary pullleaaaasseeeee :) :):)?’ emails? That’s your current situation today? Yes. Simple and democratisation are important because you can outsource hyper analyst data nerdery for special projects but it’s great if more people can login and work with the data everyday. 

I don’t really know anything about Webtrends and SAP and SAS which in itself is a factor. If you want to sell to marketing people you need to get a bit better at marketing because we’re looking at different factors than maybe, a traditional CIO, CTO person. Engineers tut tut at me for liking Salesforce products because they maybe aren’t as well made as others (are they? I wouldn’t know) but they are good at sales and marketing and are getting better at wooing a marketing customer through education and training. Analytics and simple don’t really go together that well but whoever figures that part out will win all the analytics customers. 

It's a great time to be a marketer

In between watching the America's Cup races on YouTube, I've been flicking through some new IBM marketing survey results

I have a little theory that a lot of the time, when people say they want to see ROI on social marketing and media they are actually saying "I don't understand". 

It's created a lot of junk metrics like Klout score so that people can say 'the answer is 46!' and everyone feels in control and not overwhelmed by how vast marketplaces can be. 

Looking at the graphics on pages 16 and 17 of the IBM report (pictured) we can see that data explosion, social media and growth of channel and device choices are the top three concerns. Factors such as ROI and privacy concerns are much further down. I think these results provide a much more accurate snapshot of where marketing teams are at in real organizations and it's good that people are being OK with being overwhelmed because there is a lot of complexity. The best thing to do is admit what you don't know and stay teachable and curious. Good marketing theory still holds and if concepts don't make sense, ask questions and make an effort to figure things out, rather than getting bogged down in pretend metrics and privacy concerns. The 'how do we measure it?' question will be answered a lot more easily when you understand the customer result you are trying to achieve and also by admitting that you aren't going to get everything right the first time when exploring new channel and device choices. 

I'm also going to watch Scott Dorsey's keynote from Connections 2013  (Salesforce ExactTarget) today- they've got a pretty impressive lineup of speakers such as Condoleezza Rice, and Imagine Dragons playing at their party. Big fan of Imagine Dragons -good audience profiling there Salesforce. Listen to Imagine Dragons and read the IBM report and your brain will be smart and entertained all at the same time. It's a great time to be a marketer. 

Out and about

I think it was Robert Kiyosaki who said you need to spend time 'outside and inside' to build things and it has definitely been an 'outside' time for me. 

So what was I doing when I wasn't here?

Last Saturday, TedxSydney came to the Sydney Opera House and we were wowed with presentations from great minds and dreamers who got me thinking about lots of things that I wouldn't normally think about like irrigating green areas on building roofs and democracy in West Papua.  I got a nice new drink bottle and had a lovely time playing with the Nespresso machine at the Hub Sydney event. I now want a Nespresso machine. 

All the presentations are online - I highly recommend Emeritus Professor Ron McCallum 'My insight into the blind reading revolution'. Ron is blind so make sure you hang in there till the end when he 'feels' his standing ovation, it's pretty cool. Jennifer Robinson -probably known for her association with the Wikileaks/Assange story - 'Courage is contagious' is also well worth a watch. 

Then on Wednesday, the ExactTarget tour came to town (the beautiful Sydney Town Hall building to be precise) for Australia's largest interactive marketing conference.  It was a fantastic event with a bit of the floaty future stuff but mainly just practitioners bolting together playbooks and workflows around some Australian-specific research, which is my cup of tea. 

Mobile and mobile email was the most discussed topic and I found the communication design and activation topics the most informative. The Google mobile report that everyone rocks out was used again to show Australia's leadership in smartphone use and I learned some new things about the high Apple-ness of Australian consumers -around 50% of mobile emails are opened on iOS mail.  Good to know and good to think more about responsive design and see some best in class examples and find new sites (to me) like 'mobile patterns'.  The '300% year on year' inbox growth figure also confirms what I think we all know but really need to work on fixing. Lazy batch emailing isn't going to cut it and highly customised, relevant communications optimised through social preferences is what we should be heading for. 

We ate and drank and tweeted lots and I especially liked the orange notebooks of which I am now a proud owner of three (sorry about that).  Slides are going up at some stage so keep an eye on the #etconnect hashtag.