Virgin Tries On TagMan Container Technology For Size

I feel your pain. So, after fielding numerous emails about Web page tag containers that feed real-time data into dashboards, I went back to TagMan to get the scoop.

TagMan cofounder Jonathan Baron tells me Virgin Atlantic is testing the company's container that can hold everything from behavioral targeting tags to analytics. Although unconfirmed by Virgin, Baron says the plan will take the technology live across 25 Virgin Atlantic Web sites worldwide on Nov. 4.

Virgin isn't a stranger to cutting-edge technologies. Sir Richard Branson's company began using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology in 2005 to track the inventory of airline parts at London's Heathrow Airport.

In this technology, the TagMan container serves as the box for a variety of snippets of code that can run analytics applications from Coremetric, Google or Omniture, for example. In the same box companies can place ad serving, behavioral targeting, retargeting and conversion tags. The idea is to place one container containing several tags on the Web page. The layer, or container, removes latency that numerous tags on a Web page can produce, Baron says.

A study released in August commissioned by TagMan reveals tags slow down the load time of Web site pages.The worst performing method for tags on the page was an invisible iFrame at the bottom of the page, according to the report.

Tests show the most effective way to collect data is through a blank JavaScript call, particularly if the tracking code is placed at the end of the page.

The report states that on Askaprice.com there was a 9% difference between the traffic reported by an image pixel that was coded in the page verses one that was served through an iFrame. When the iFrame was at the top of the page the difference was less than 1%.

The next step is getting the tags in the container to communicate with each other, Baron says. Theoretically, it would provide a better return on investment and strengthen the information running through the ad supply chain. It could allow Web sites to purchase less ad inventory because the information coming from sites would increase in accuracy.

TagMan has been working with companies like Visual IQ, which provides Web-based dashboards to view the information. Some of the more advanced clients will have a data feed that connects to the dashboard.

Aside from TagMan, Visual IQ's Manu Mathew tells me the company can integrate data through application programming interface (API) connections from DoubleClick DART, Microsoft Atlas, Google AdWords, Yahoo EWS, MSN Ad Center, Look Smart, Business.com, Omniture and more.

TagMan, headquartered in London, was founded by Paul Cook, who wrote the code in the mid-'90s. Cook brought on Baron shortly after. Cook also founded CRM-company RedEye. Now the two are taking the company to the United States. Chris Brinkworth will spearhead efforts in the U.S., where 65% of the company's revenue originates.

The company had been profitable in the first quarter, but slipped into the red as the company began to expand overseas. Baron believes TagMan will become profitable again before the end of the year.

DoubleClick's Floodlight, Microsoft's Atlas, and MediaPlex are among some of the other companies that provide containers for Web site tags.

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