San Diego’s Tealium Unveils New System to Manage Tracking Code in Web Pages

7/26/11Follow @bvbigelow

Tealium co-founder Ali Behnam tells me their San Diego startup began three years ago as an IT consulting firm, and soon ran into a lot of clients who needed their help to address a variety of headaches associated with managing all the page tags on a company website. The tracking code that makes up these tags is part of the HTML markup at the top of a Web page, and typically connects the page with outside services, such as Web analytics.

Instead of just providing the heavy lifting that companies needed to manage all their JavaScript-based tags separately, Behnam says, “We came up with a concept to create a single tag, and then managing all their tools and vendors using that same tag.” They refined their product over time, and today Tealium is announcing the public debut of its universal tag management system, Tealium iQ.

The self-service system enables Tealium’s customers to test, manage, and deploy various digital marketing campaigns, using a simple drag-and-drop interface on a Web console. The company says its Web-based approach enables marketers to manage their own campaigns, with no knowledge of JavaScript, and so lifts the burden of tag management and marketing demands on a company’s IT personnel.

As Tealium’s Behnam defines it, a tag is a piece of tracking code that’s added to a web page. Once a Web page has loaded, the tag executes a command that allows the tracking of the page by a digital marketing vendor.

Tealium estimates that 90 percent of Web analytics companies and other digital marketing providers use some type of JavaScript-based tag that needs to be implemented on a client’s website. Such tags are used to optimize company websites for search engines, to collect and measure data for Web analytics, and to carry out online surveys, retargeting campaigns, behavioral targeting, and other online marketing functions.

Tealium says most enterprise-class websites (operated by corporations, government agencies, and other large organizations) are carrying between 20 and 30 vendor tags on their Web pages. This often messy and disorganized assortment can include page tags, microformats, and such in-page elements as meta tags and cookie values. A gaggle of tags can be expensive to maintain, require frequent updates, work at cross-purposes, and affect overall website performance.

Behnam says Tealium iQ is the first software-as-a-service technology to allow enterprise marketers to manage 100 percent of the tagging themselves. Users can add a new vendor with a few clicks and easily set rules for how the tags should be loaded–for example, specifying that the Google AdWords tag loads only if a visitor comes to the website from AdWords. “Adding an AdWords tag becomes a simple ‘point and click’ on a logo in our library,” Behnam says.

Before starting Tealium, Behnam and co-founder Mike Anderson worked at WebSideStory, a San Diego company that provided website traffic analysis and Hitbox-based Web analytics. WebSideStory changed its name to Visual Sciences in 2007 and was acquired by Omniture in 2008, the year before Omniture was itself acquired by Adobe Systems.

Initial funding for Tealium came from the founders and consulting work. Behnam says the company, which now has 10 employees, is still doing some consulting. It’s just becoming a smaller part of their business.

The company says its enterprise customers include Cisco Systems, Dreamworks, Advance Auto Parts, and Orange, the French telecom giant. Limelight Networks CEO Jeff Lunsford, who was previously a CEO at WebSideStory (where he worked with Behnam and Anderson), became a Tealium investor and board advisor in May.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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