The market for tag management systems is gaining momentum at an impressive rate. On the surface, tag management is a rather pedestrian topic, focusing on the occasionally arcane and frequently ugly mechanics underlying our websites. Indeed, tag management seems to be worlds apart from the current marketing zeitgeist, which often directs our attention to sexy topics such as social media, tablet computers, and gamification. But if we take a deeper view of current marketing trends, it is clear that the two are actually very closely connected. Digital marketing execution and analysis are heavily dependent on website instrumentation, which by extension benefits from enabling technologies such as tag management.

Ultimately, I think the enthusiasm for tag management systems stems from the simple fact that these solutions address very real and tangible pain points felt by nearly all companies doing business on the Web. I believe that the effective use of tag management technology and governance practices can deliver significant efficiency, performance, and financial gains. And I'm not alone. Since publishing How Tag Management Improves Web Intelligence, I've seen steady and growing interest from Forrester clients on the topic.  

For a relatively young technology segment, tag management is evolving quickly. In a matter of a just a few weeks, we've seen the tag management market take several significant steps forward:

  • Established vendors enter the market. The entry of established vendors into a market is always a major milestone in the development of a technology or service. Adobe and IBM, both leading web analytics vendors, have launched tag management solutions, named Adobe Tag Manager and IBM Coremetrics Digital Data Exchange, respectively. Both solutions were announced earlier this year and became generally available in early November. Due to their substantial market presence, these vendors will enhance the overall market profile and penetration of tag management solutions and increase the level of competition across all vendors, all of which should drive positive outcomes for users.
  • Startup vendors receive funding. Multiple tag management system vendors have received new funding in the last few months. BrightTag raised $5 million in a Series B fundraising round in August, and TagMan raised $5 million in a Series B fundraising round in October. It is exciting to see that the work of these firms is gaining sufficient traction in the marketplace to warrant interest and investment from VCs. Again, this is an encouraging validation of potential of the overall tag management market and should result in the continued development and distribution of tag management solutions.
  • Tag management becomes an extensible platform. Tag management systems occupy a unique position on websites as the focal point for coordinating the delivery and collection of data and content. Vendors are starting to explore various extensions that build upon foundational tag management capabilities. For example, Ensighten supports the enforcement of privacy and opt-out policies through its Privacy Sentinel offering. And the IBM Coremetrics Digital Data Exchange offering is designed to support data syndication through the application of data standardization and distribution controls.

We're entering an exciting phase in the development of the tag management solutions market. Tag management is building into a legitimate and recognized category, and the diversity of firms and their solutions is giving us a glimpse of where this market can go in the future. 

I plan to continue researching tag management in 2012, but in the meantime, why are you excited about tag management? What problems is it solving for you, and what gaps have yet to be addressed?