An In-Depth Analysis of Digital Technologies Used By The Guardian


When a regular person bumps into a map like this, I guess his first reaction is “What the hell did I just see?!” followed by a quick click on the “close” icon.

It’s like that for most people.

But marketers are different.

We are curious.

Always looking for a vantage point.

That’s why I keep things like this opened for days. I study them. Explore the logic. I use it to research the business benefits and systems behind it. It can seem daunting, but I enjoy it.

It helps me understand the “HOW” and “WHY” is someone using specific solutions for a specific task. When mapped out, the whole architecture becomes so much easier to track and understand.

Connecting the Dots

According to Ghostery, a large site has an average of 75 digital touchpoints. They form a network built to support marketing and sales processes, but a lot of other pretty important stuff like web performance and cloud security.

Now from the user’s angle.

When an Average Joe types into his browser, he gets to the homepage. Everything is so simple and smooth. One can naively assume that the technology behind it is simple too.

The reality is, there’s so much more to it than what meets the eye. A lot more.

To make this post more interesting, I’ll try to map out what The Guardian is using to sustain their online presence.

Tweet this: WEBSITE TECH: there’s so much more than what meets the eye. A lot more.

Starting from the left.

When you land on The Guardian’s homepage, you show up in their Google Analytics. By firing that signal you get assigned a cookie from Facebook & AdWords. Cookies help them retarget you through ads later.

In order to gather data to better understand user behaviour, your browsing history also gets tracked. This is done by ScorecardResearch – a marketing research community that analyzes market trends and then reports on them and user behaviour.

They use Nielsen NetRatings International (an online audience measurement panel) which means your behaviour is also recorded here as well.

They also use Sonobi’s platform, an auction-based marketplace, to optimize ad spend and targeting. Sonobi also provides state of the art ad tech solutions as well as aggregate inventory deals.

Tweet this: A large site has 75 digital touchpoints (average) for: marketing, web performance & security

Along with Sonobi solutions, Trade Desk is there too. It’s used mainly as a data aggregator (from different online and offline sources) and data management platform.

Then there’s BidSwitch, an ad exchange and supply-demand platform that helps advertisers purchase inventory from multiple suppliers as well as sell ad space through multiple networks.

All of these, Sonobi solutions, Trade Desk and BidSwitch, are meant to optimize marketing efforts and processes. The marketing optimization circle is completed with Adify’s ad servers (now Gamut Media). They offer ad distribution, monitoring and performance technologies for ad campaigns and integrate with all the previous mentioned solutions.

They backup all their data through Dropmysite (seen as in the map from the link) and they use Trade Desk to analyze data patterns (Big Data) which they then send to MediaMath for further research & use.

Making the Dots Work Together

Along with the previously mentioned advertising solutions, The Guardian is using multiple platforms to optimize their ad spend, here’s the list:

  • DoubleClick (Google’s platform for integrated solutions for ads)
  • AppNexus (cloud-based platform for enabling and optimizing programmatic advertising)
  • OpenX (Ads bidding optimization platform)
  • Integral Ad Science (Solutions that analyze value of digital ad placements. Known for addressing fraud issues, viewability, brand risk and TRAQ – a proprietary media quality score)
  • Rhythmxchange (tracking services and ad servers by RhythmOne)
  • Criteo (highly personalized retargeting solutions)
  • Infectious Media (programmatic advertising agency solutions)

Naturally, there’s a lot of other stuff on the map, but this gives you a broad enough overview.

I guess you’ll agree that things are not actually as they might appear at first. There’s a ton of work to be done in order to fully grasp what your audience is doing and thinking. And then there’s even more work required to set up all the tools and effectively reach new audiences while avoiding throwing millions out of the window.

Image Source

Tweet this: If your web components don’t cooperate smoothly – you’re throwing money out of the window

Make them Work Flawlessly

But there’s one critically important metric that we didn’t cover, that is – web performance.

When dealing with all these systems, there’s a truckload of connections and integrations. What does that mean?

Basically, when you have so many platforms connected to your web assets, your website becomes heavy. It means it will slow down dramatically if you’re not handling this properly. And all the best solutions in the world won’t help you keep your visitors on your site if it takes too long to load. Period.

I won’t get technical now, plus it’s a whole other realm. There’s so much to say about it that it deserves a post of its own. But still, web performance is closely linked to successful marketing efforts.

If you or anyone you know needs help with web performance and security, let me know and I will contact the professionals I work with to make this a simple process for you.

Now go delight your audience 😉

(All the data in this post is gathered from Ghostery, and can be seen by following this link

Leave A Reply