TagMan Claims Inaccuracies In Google's Analytics Platform

Tag management company TagMan has secured $5 million in funding from several big-name investors. However, material it sent to prospective clients claiming that Google Analytics makes a poor marketing attribution tool seems to have socially cannibalized the company's positive financial news on Twitter.

The TagMan presentation sent to prospective clients points out that Google's strength in its Analytics platform resides in, well, analytics, rather than marketing attribution because the data only tells half the story. It claims the inaccuracies can boost search-attributed conversions by up to 200%.

TagMan research from July claims that for every search click, Google Analytics doesn't represent up to three. The company suggests Google Analytics manages search attribution correctly by default, but not other media. The biggest problem stems from marketers seeing only up to half of path events -- inflating search results by 100% to 300%, as sales are attributed to the wrong source.

Google did not agree with the allegation.

"This marketing campaign misrepresents the functionality of our products, particularly around how we measure impressions, measure AdWords and attribute traffic," said a Google spokesperson. "Our focus is on building useful tools for our clients, like Google Tag Manager for mobile apps and data-driven attribution modeling, which we rolled out this week."

Marketers can set the Google Analytics campaign tracking cookie expiration time in milliseconds. Campaign tracking is set for six months by default, enabling the technology to determine during that time whether visitors to the Web site convert based on a specific campaign, according to Google.

TagMan's research reports that Google Analytics does not fairly include direct traffic in standard reporting. TagMan sources Google's own content that states only direct visits are counted when it’s the first visit in analytics reporting or if no proceeding campaign ref is present. Subsequent direct visits are attributed to the preceding campaign source.

"When a user arrives at your site via an untagged campaign or navigates via the navigation bar, GA assigns that visit to the preceding campaign source reference," according to the TagMan marketing material. "That click has a high probability of being a search click, which can inflate search traffic. TagMan data shows direct traffic is typically around 50% of total traffic — therefore GA misrepresents the reporting of search by up to 100%."

Tag management has become an important tool in attribution. As Gartner Research Director Martin Kihn points out, in the shadows of the Omnicom-Publicis merger announcement, Adobe acquired Satellite, a tag management solution supporting Toyota, TicketMaster and others.

Adobe's acquisition is the latest flutter in a tag management maelstrom, Kihn describes in a blog post. "In less than a year, Google Analytics launched Tag Manager, data platform [x+1] acquired Ubertag, BrightTag bought Site Tagger, and ad network ValueClick launched its own offering," he writes. "Gartner estimates industry revenue doubled this past year, and i-bankers are sniffing around hot private providers such as Tealium, Ensighten, BrightTag, and TagMan."

Greycroft Partners and iNovia Capital led TagMan's funding round, with Silicon Valley Bank contributing. The company will use the funds to expand its global presence and grow its partnership program, STREAM, launched in October 2012. The certified partners program offers tag implementations, real-time data collection, and cross-channel marketing data from an independent source to support companies like Cole Haan, Fanatics, Seatwave, TireBuyer, Stride Rite, Lands' End, Hayes and Jarvis, Sovereign, Travix and others.

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