2012: The Year Marketers Really Harness the Data?


ADOTAS For quite some time now, the folks from TagMan has been vocal about the importance of their stock in trade, tag management, often underplayed or misunderstood by online retailers and marketers. (For some background, read up on what TagMan execs have told Adotas about why businesses should pay attention to this stuff here and here.) But tag management itself isn’t the only thing on their minds. The TagMan team has considered recent trends in online marketing at large, and they’ve compiled a list of trends they’re expecting in the coming year. Here’s what they see coming:

1. Tag management adoption will go from 15 percent to 50 percent among U.S. IR100 (Internet Retailer’ list of top businesses)  in 2012. We credit a few factors for this projected growth. First, Joe Stanhope at Forrester Research put out a report on the merits of tag management in December 2010 that sparked a lot of interest among retailers and other businesses. For the past several months, a lot of companies have started looking more seriously at this area and researching the options available. TagMan expects that a lot of this interest will turn into tag management adoption — again, among leading U.S. retailers — in the coming months. And as with other technologies, once a few big names demonstrate success with implementing a solution, there is often a domino effect with more and more companies following suit.

2. Data will become the most crucial thing to drive strategic direction and real-time decision making, and it will fall to “data scientists,” rather than agencies, to help the brands. In other words, brands are becoming better at digital marketing, relying less on outside help to tell them, for example, what a banner ad is or how an affiliate works. As this happens, they will rely more and more on the technology stack to manage their media and let the agency stick with the offline media — their bread and butter. For example, real-time bidding on display pretty much negates the traditional role of the agency in the media buy. All you need now is a creative strategy (which may be outsourced) — the execution and delivery can be easily be managed internally using better and better technology.

3. We’ll see further growth in adoption of privacy products allowing consumers to opt out at the tag level, due to new E.U. privacy legislation coming out May 2012. There will also be a need for country-by-country controls.

4. 2012 will be the year of “complexity managed,” with marketers gaining the ability to manage the complexity and vast array of all the new services and tools that have become available. The last couple of years have seen an explosion of technologies and services, all of which deliver advertisers greater efficiency in their online marketing activity (data management platforms, exchanges, demand side platforms, ad verification, online customer service, attribution management, retargeting). This year will be the year advertisers start to make sense of all these new services — not only in their minds, but also technologically — using platforms like tag management to house and integrate them to build a single view of their online audiences, delivering a managed approach to actually acting on that view.

5. We also envisage 2012 as the year when attribution will move from being a topic of discussion to a mode of reporting. In other words, more advertisers will plan their spend and optimize their campaigns based on attribution analysis of all their consumers’ responses to marketing and non-marketing channels (direct to site, online chat, call center activity from web). Using this, we should, for example, expect to see the bidding of search and display start to work in harmony. In general, display has the most to gain as full-channel attribution analysis will demonstrate that banners do work as an upstream channel, which will redefine development in the display sector away from its current uncomfortable chase for the last view. Also, clients who start to examine the mix between paid and natural search will find “target busting” efficiencies in both — if Google lets them.



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