Interview with: Josh Manion, CEO and Founder of Ensighten
Ensighten is a partner of Lima Consulting Group and is the tag management software that we use to manage digital marketing services like web analytics, ad networks, content optimization, social sharing, conversion pixels and voice of consumer on customer websites.
Q: What made you start Ensighten?
I started Stratigent, a web analytics consulting firm, in 2002 to work with big brands with very complex tagging requirements. So I experienced the pain of managing tags first hand. We tried a couple of the tag management products on the market at that time, but their container tag approach didn’t scale well for enterprises and didn’t support all enterprise tagging use cases, like complex web analytics data collection and site content personalization. In 2009, I decided to solve the problem myself with a fundamentally different approach. The objective was to reduce, or in many cases eliminate, the need for IT / developer involvement in tagging while not limiting the functionality of any marketing service.
I had four key design requirements for the system we built which became the foundation of Ensighten: it has to deploy in a single line of code, support any tagging use case or vendor without custom development by either party, support any device, and accelerate page load in the process.
Q: What is different about your tag management solution than others?
That investment in building the Tag Delivery Network provides several unique values to our customers:
- Ensighten Manage easily deploys any type of tag, including complex ones like content optimization and multi-variate testing, as well as web analytics, voice of customer, or just simple conversion tracking pixels.
- Our customers can configure tags on a per visitor, per session, per page basis – as granular as they want – while accelerating page load performance. This level of complexity and sophistication is where many of the other vendors break down; even if they theoretically can support deep conditional logic, page load performance starts to take a hit and it gets worse with more conditions.
- Ensighten supports not only the wired web, but also mobile web, iOS and Andriod apps, flash and rich media, video. Some Ensighten customers even use our platform in airport kiosks, ATMs and other digital devices beyond the PC, smartphone and tablet.
- Our privacy product, Ensighten Privacy, is the best on the market by far – a single line of code controls the data collection of all tags, according to the local laws of the site visitor. No need to move code into a tag management system – just instant compliance. No one else on the market can do this.
Q: More specifically, how is your tag management solution different than the Omniture Digital Pulse or Tag Management solution?
Digital Pulse is not a tag management system; it scans web pages to detect tags much like ObservePoint. Adobe Tag Manager is a very limited tag management system; not many of our customers are interested in such basic functionality. Ensighten Manage was built for enterprise-level complexity. We support unlimited variations of tag conditions while actually making pages load faster and this is exactly where Adobe Tag Manager stumbles. It’s a container tag that supports a small set of conditions and doesn’t scale well when marketers want to do more sophisticated things. Tag Manager actually cannot implement Adobe’s more complex services such as multi-variate testing and retargeting, which can severely impact site performance.
Q: What new technologies will compliment your offering?
Q: What has surprised you about the tag management industry since you’ve started?
Without a doubt, the most surprising thing is how quickly it has grown to include perhaps a dozen vendors and become a mainstream technology category. Just a few years ago it was a risky proposition for a marketer to buy a tag management system when the ROI wasn’t proven. Those early customers kind of went out on a limb, but now there are really big brands like our customer Sony, who have seen 18x ROI within a year. It’s incredible.
Q: What is the size of the tag management market?
The addressable market for tag management is tremendous. What online business couldn’t benefit from increased site performance, more efficiency in deploying and managing third-party digital marketing services, and the ability to control privacy compliance and data collection practices? I see a lot of similarities to the web analytics market a few years back. Let’s assume today that less than 300 companies are using some form of website tag management, but there are about 10,000 companies that actually need and will buy an enterprise TMS within 3 years.
Q: Where do you see tag management industry in 5 years and Ensighten’s role within?
It’s clear that tag management offers real and measurable ROI to web-based businesses. We believe that tag management in the next few years is about becoming a digital marketing enablement platform, helping customers collect, control, and act upon data. As consumers spend more time on mobile and non-computing devices (e.g., game consoles, kiosks, in-vehicle systems, IPTV, etc.), the importance of Ensighten’s solutions for mobile app, video and flash tagging will increase for our customers. I expect Ensighten will continue to lead the category in technical innovation – based on our unique cloud TMS architecture and Tag Delivery Network infrastructure. As with any emerging technology category, we’ll see consolidation among the many vendors in this early stage marke. Those without differentiated and unique value-add will consolidate or fail.
Q: What are the three most important numbers that we need to be aware of with your industry?
- Page load speed of course is critical. Servers and server software get better all the time but website pages are becoming more complex, network traffic is constantly increasing. Bing reported that a page delay of just under 2 seconds resulted in 4.3% revenue loss per user. That’s a lot of money for a company the size of Microsoft. We recently competed for Subaru’s business and won because we reduced page load by 2.7 seconds compared to the incumbent TMS vendor.
- Time to deploy tags and make tag changes. What we see is that without tag management, it often takes months to fully implement some of the more complex tags like web analytics and multi-variate testing, because of the website release cycle. But we all know that consumers move much faster than that and so should marketers. With solid tag management technologies and processes, we should see marketers reporting that deployment takes only minutes.
Josh Manion, CEO and Founder
Mr. Manion leads the technology vision and day-to-day operations of Ensighten, as well as establishing key accounts such as Sony, Microsoft, American Express, Staples, Home Depot and Capital One. Prior to founding Ensighten, Mr. Manion served for seven years as the CEO of Stratigent, a web analytics and marketing optimization consultancy. Mr. Manion worked with clients such as Motorola, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Mattel and General Mills, and with partners such as Omniture, WebTrends, Google Analytics, Unica, Coremetrics, ExactTarget, Optimost, Gomez, OpinionLab, Teradata and TeaLeaf.
Prior to Stratigent, Mr. Manion served as the Vice President of Strategy for MCurve, Inc, a network technology reseller and consultancy, Director of Analytics for Myteam.com, and COO and Co-Founder of ForAthletes.com, which was acquired by Myteam.com in 2000. Mr. Manion graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a degree in Management Science and a focus in Information Technology. Mr. Manion has been a professional chess player and is currently ranked in the top 60 players in the United States.
Ensighten’s enterprise tag management and privacy solutions enable the world’s largest enterprises to manage their websites more effectively. Ensighten’s industry-leading tag management platform replaces hundreds of lines of code per Web page with a single line of code, and empowers marketers with an easy-to-use Web interface to quickly add, remove or manage any third-party service — such as Web analytics tags or advertising pixels. Ensighten’s global Tag Delivery Network serves over 750 billion tags annually to over 15,000 Web domains, accelerating page-load times and handling more than $20 billion in ecommerce for top brands that include A&E Networks, LendingTree, Lenovo, Microsoft Stores, Monster, Sony, and Subaru. Visit us on the Web at www.ensighten.com, and follow Ensighten on facebook.com/ensighten and Twitter @ensighten.