How a San Diego web start-up made tag management sexy

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Imagine being at a dinner party and being asked, ‘what do you do?’ It’s always tempting to say something like, ‘I’m training to be an astronaut’ or ‘I’m a neuroscientist.’ Replying with, ‘I work for a web start-up specialising in tag management’ is hardly likely to set conversation ablaze. However, before your eyes glaze over, take a look at San Diego-based start-up Tealium: since its launch in 2008, it’s managed to raise an expanding pool of funding every year. That suggests it’s seriously onto something and demand for its offerings is definitely out there.

If the term tag management induces bafflement, here’s what it is: assisting websites to implement the tags they use to collect data, like placing cookies for targeted ads. Given that Tealium has just announced $30.7m in Series D funding, it’s clear that that kind of assistance is seen as important to many companies.

However, Tealium is adding a new dimension to tag management: a new real-time data platform, ‘Audience Stream.’ Here’s how the startup’s CEO, Jeff Lunsford, explained the need for this kind of technology to TechCrunch journalist Anthony Ha:

“I have a 21-year-old daughter, and if you try to target her what she was interested in 24 hours ago, forget about it. You need to target her based on what she’s interested in [while she’s still in the same session]. We’re trying to streamline this data supply chain to help our customers go from batch file transfers to real time.”

Until Audience Stream, there was no way of avoiding a 24-hour time lag between collecting data and integrating it across multiple different systems (the average Tealium customer has 20 or more). The result is more personalised ads, but with younger consumers, as Lunsford notes, they’ve often lost interest by the time the ad arrives.

Audience Stream delivers the data in real time and it’s going down a storm: over 500 of Tealium’s customers are now using it.


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