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Great post Gary.

Your points are supported by a recent survey from emarketer, which found that the main headache in webanalytics is "integration with other marketing solutions" - the "universal tag" I guess would make that integration possible (see the survey here:

Re. separating capture layer from reporting and analysis layer, I believe much to little attention is given to this. The term "web analytics" is used to describe data capture, reporting and analytics, but most of the applications being placed in the software category are mainly data capturing applications with basic reporting features. Many software vendors contribute to the confusion by naming their applications "xxx analytics".

In addition, there seems to be no clear agreement as to what differentiates reporting from analytics. In my view, most of what happens in many analytics/BI applications is actually reporting - real analytics often requires a spreadsheet tool.

At youcalc we aim at offering a pure analytics layer. We have a horizontal analytics platform that can live query SaaS applications (including web analytics applications like Google Analytics, Site catalyst, etc.) and generate real-time analytics on the data. We have zero data capture, zero storage, no warehouse, so in order to deliver analytics we built a full "spreadsheet" modeling layer, that allows for not only mathematical and logical modeling but also some degree of data transformation, mapping (across multiple data sources), etc.

To get a quick idea of what that can do, I invite you to try out some of the analytics apps built on our platform, e.g. this one:

All best


Gary, many thanks for an insightful and post. TagMan, is that Universal Tag. I tried to make this post shorter than your blog post – but there is so much to get across and I’m sorry if it seems longer.

One extra point is that the use of a Universal Tag can also reduce bounce rate and increase conversion! We recently completed a study which you can download from The slowest-loading assets on site pages in our study were tracking tags, taking as much as 250ms. Based on our study, a delay of around one second causes approximately 10% of users to abandon the page, suggesting that four tags on the page could lose you 10% of your visitors.
So – the question is : why serve a tag if it’s not needed for that user – and therefore slow the load of page? By having all tags, controlled from ‘one smart universal tag’ you can conditionally serve ONLY the tags that are needed for that user, and no more.
IE: If someone arrived at from Google SEO search term ‘Jim Sterne’or "Avinash"… why serve the 4 affiliate pixels that you work with, unless that user had previously been exposed or clicked on a related affiliate link? This is also what we call - ‘RealTime’ or ‘Applied Attribution’. Making decisions live, by user – based on the logic you set from your dashboard.
That is what we engineered TagMan do do. It is the cog that (can) powers a lot of what you discuss above. ( Please do visit for a video of the system).

By having a universal tagging system that enables you to manage, track and control all of your tagging needs with the use of one single, Universal Tag; through a simple plug and play UI – we have bridged that gap between Ad Serving, Content Management and Web Analytics to empower your analytics and tracking.

You can house multiple tagging solutions to de-duplicate all online performance marketing, show complete path to conversion and make the tagging process much simpler. You can track all your marketing channels, natural search included, and compare them side-by-side for response attribution modeling. Atlas, DoubleClick and Omniture will all work within our system.

We’re already seeing some amazing bespoke uses of the system, similar to your thoughts above – and excited to see what develops as more people use and experiment with setting the logic behind the tag.

This article is very helpful for thinking about tags. If anyone needs to get up to speed on data warehousing, this link provides a good resource:

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