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Ensighten: Riding The Tag Management Wave

Ensighten solution empowers marketers and boosts site performance.

When Josh Manion, CEO and Founder of Ensighten called people and said, “I’ve got an application that is one line of code, supports every application, makes your site faster, and works in every environment,” he heard a chuckle at the other end.

That was 2009. Fast forward to 2012. Those prospects are now customers with the average customer paying low six figures a year. The company has been granted a patent for online consumer privacy management with several patents pending on its core technology. The provider of enterprise tag management recently raised $15.5 million in Series A financing, led by Volition Capital with participation from Eastern Advisors and Floodgate Fund.

And they are growing at a pace which their CEO describes as “sometimes stressful.”

Vice President of Marketing, Des Cahill told Patch that the company has served 750 billion tags to date with 300 billion being served in Q2 of 2012 alone, which is a 40 percent quarter-over-quarter growth.

Tags are codes of JavaScript that a website uses to manage third party digital marketing services like ad networks, social media sharing, web analytics, chat applications and content optimization. Ensighten’s tag management system takes the JavaScript off the page and renders it in the cloud in an application. “You may think of a tag management system as a CMS [Content Management System] for JavaScript in the cloud,” explains Cahill.

Ensighten’s tag management solution allows businesses to manage their websites more effectively by replacing hundreds of lines of code with a single line of code per page. This enables real time marketing, boosts site performance and ensures privacy and data compliance across all devices including mobile.

“Ensighten’s approach uses a backend rules engine to make decisions on every page. When a new page is delivered, the tag engine is contacted and rules are run in a central location rather than a browser,” said Bill Gassman, research director at Gartner, talking of their architecture that, “allows for extremely sophisticated tagging.”

Headquartered in Cupertino, and with an office in London, it was not long back that Ensighten occupied a 500 square foot office on Castro Street in Mountain View. “My office was so small that I could touch all four walls while sitting on a chair and stretching my arms,” jokes Manion.

The company was born out of tag management pain that Manion lived as CEO of Stratigent, a web analytics and marketing optimization consultancy. “2009 was really the tipping point,” says Manion. “There were plenty of tags, and with a very strong use for every tag, the result was a completely unmanageable mess with everything hardcoded onto the page.” The result was extreme lack of marketing agility and poor site performance.

He and his team at Stratigent built a TMS prototype and conducted a test market. “When we took the resonance of the response we got to market, it was massive,” says Manion. And Ensighten was born on December 30, 2009.

Today Ensighten has leading brands like Sony, Microsoft, Staples, United Airlines, and Monster as customers. Subaru of America was able to decrease their homepage load time by 2.72 seconds by switching to Ensighten.

Within tag management, Gassman sees two markets: One for advertising; the other for optimization and customer experience.  Players like TagMan and BrightTag that are reasonably good with attribution of calculations, focus on advertising while Ensighten and Tealium score on optimization.

Google’s entry with its free Google Tag Manager is expected to significantly raise awareness and impact the tag management landscape, like it had done with Google Analytics in 2005. This would present companies like Ensighten and Tealium with a golden market opportunity.

“Google Tag Manager is more appropriate for those who have a few tags, and tags are not a critical element of their business,” Gassman told Patch. “Ensighten is more relevant in complex situations where tagging is a critical element of business.”

With Google entering the market and a market penetration of under two percent, the tag management space seems ripe for disruption.

Know of start-ups, new or unique businesses in Cupertino you'd like to learn more about? Send suggestions to Anne.Ernst@Patch.com.

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