TagMan's plan to roll out cookie-less ad and conversion tracking technology could become the answer to cross-channel marketing and attribution. The technology -- which supports devices running on Apple iOS, Android, Windows and other operating systems -- aims to replace cookie tracking.
The cookie-less concept emerges from the need to track conversion paths and advertising on smartphones and across platforms, as consumers increase their use of multiple devices and media.
TagMan tracks about 30% of activity from mobile devices running tag management tracking links across apps and Web sites, per Ben Manning, TagMan global product director. The company also tracks advertising and marketing campaigns, such as email, social, search, and display, as well as clicks. Through tag management, the company also captures data on Web sites, such as CRM. The cookie-less tracking allows TagMan to connect the consumer's path across media and device channels, he explains, because they must log in when using mobile apps from, for example, from any retailer or brand like Nordstrom, Delta, and Virgin Atlantic.
The first-party CRM ID that clients pass to TagMan links the consumer's identification on desktop to smartphones or tablets. The client gets a unified view. Clients have access to attribution reports that tell them the number of consumers browsing on mobile apps complete the task on desktops. It helps them better understand the results from mobile campaigns, from search to display or video.
The agnostic tracking model bets on the rise of smartphones and apps. While the best approach requires consumers to sign in to the app first, TagMan's workaround taps technology from services that help identify consumer behavior from multiple devices, and whether it corresponds with traffic patterns, WiFi codes, IP addresses and more.
Google introduced a similar product late last year called AdID, an anonymous identifier for advertising to track Internet browsing activity for marketers. "Advertisers get locked into the Google ecosystem; they need to buy their advertising from them," he said.
And where is the "do not track" option for Tagman? Technically, user info is supposed to be anonymous. Is this an anonymous tracking technology because if it's linking email to search to loyalty cards to purchase, the element of anonymity goes away and I imagine this will only bring up lawsuits and possibly push the government into some actionable legislation regarding net privacy.
Is this tagless option available outside of sites & apps that require logins?
Dan's concern regarding DNT would really only be applicable if available outside a logged-in user session. The whole point of logging into an app or site is to facilitate tracking; of settings for the user and behaviors for the site.
@Curtis - I'd assume this is NOT available outside of sites and apps that do not have logins. Getting a user login will be paramount in a cookie-less world. It's the reason Facebook Connect is so powerful and any publisher that is reliant on Facebook Connect for logins gave away the golden goose.
@Dan - It's still very easy to offer an opt out here. It works the same way as an email opt out. In fact, it's probably easier to uphold, because most cookie opt outs are just another cookie that says "do not track me", so when a user that has opted out and THEN erases their cookies, they could get another opt in cookie the next time they come across a tag.... in this version, there is no opt out cookie, when the user opts out, it essentially keeps data from being collected on their user ID.
(Someone correct me if I'm wrong, I'd love to know more)
This is certainly not a step toward a privacy solution and it doesn't sound like it is intended to be. What it sounds like is a major step toward better targeting and multi-channel marketing that does not set back privacy or hinder progress toward better privacy. Good job TagMan. ChoiceStream is committed to privacy. We comply with current privacy best practices and support development of better privacy policies. At the same time, we also support better advertising like that supported by efforts like this.
This may or may not result in lawsuits; there is no telling what cases a firm might take, as the perception of chance of success can vary widely.
The more interesting question is a build on Curtis's question: what % of visits/events is actually tracked?
I imagine it is a very weak portion of overall visits/events.
As the author and commenter James note, Google and Facebook hold the cards here. They know SO MUCH MORE than anyone else about many/most users' behavior, it does and will increasingly make them the go-to players for widespread data-driven campaigns.
Thanks for all the great comments.
@Dan - TagMan tracking is always anonymous and in accordance with our clients’ privacy policies. We offer a global tracking opt-out (i.e. that applies to every 3rd party tracking client) link from our homepage. Unlike many other companies in this space, we also honor DNT as default. In addition we are integrated with Evidon who enable a leading privacy solution for clients to offer their users.
@Curtis @James – Yes, it is available where no login is available. In this scenario we can fall-back onto other services that help to link up anonymous behaviour across devices. You're right about the opt-out cookie getting flushed and you will like our approach to the solution when we release it.