The online marketing space is constantly shifting due to the rise of new technologies, services and marketing tactics, and e-commerce businesses are one of the many sectors that are highly affected by the constant evolution and change. In order for these business owners to survive and thrive, they need to make better decisions faster, which is why web analytics plays a big role.
Having recently worked with a large e-commerce client, I wanted to share how we scaled web analytics, created specific objectives and managed different contributors and reporting within the project.
Why should you bother with analytics?
The analytics implementation for this specific project was mainly to set up the tracking pixels with e-commerce of multi countries and micro campaigns that are running under various markets. Analytics and data are extremely valuable in this case as they allow us to discover what activities work, which ones fail and immediately take action when it comes to finding solutions. The diagram below showcases the level of contribution, power and interest from different stakeholders:
The challenge with this particular client was that there were over forty different markets, each with its own website management and deployment team. The large web of contributors that included various technical ad creative agencies as well as campaign managers made it difficult to track the progress and manage analytics for the global ecommerce client overall. To make it easier to understand what role the different stakeholders play in this project, refer to the diagram below:
Defining SMARTER Objectives
Marketers are already very familiar with defining SMART goals and objectives, but the main task for an analytics agency that oversees such a large scale project is to create a universal implementation framework based on country specific SMARTER objectives. This helps to synchronise all marketing activities across various contributors and properly customise analytics tracking. SMARTER objectives are there to help you to test or filter realistic targets which you can use to assess the quality of measurements as well as eliminate any problems from the starting point and adapt important set up requirements.
- Specific: Can the detail in the information sufficiently pinpoint problems or opportunities?
- Measurable: Can a quantitative or qualitative attribute be applied to create a metric?
- Actionable: Can the information be used to improve performance?
- Relevant: Can the information be applied to the specific problem faced by the contributors?
- Time bound: Can objectives be set for different time periods as targets to review against?
- Evaluate: Can objectives support overall brand goals?
- Re-evaluate: Can the objectives help you to review and assess the project?
Problems that may be encountered while working with cross-country teams
- Each country might have different SMARTER objectives which would make universal web analytics implementation challenging
- Multiple source deployment may disrupt your analytics implementation
- Analytics and marketing objectives changes are sometimes not notified to the analytics agency
- Testing and retesting time of analytics implementation
- Deployment teams implement analytics without enough considerations
Important setup requirements to consider
- Country marketing managers need to define SMARTER objectives for their respective countries and send these to the analytics agency
- The analytics agency needs to define a common template of implementation methods from the SMARTER objectives
- Choosing a web analytics platform based on anticipated data collection limits
- Setting up analytics user permissions for different stakeholders
- Consider an Analytics Tagging solution
- Setting up different analytics views for stakeholders
- User reporting duplication due to multiple analytics code
- Setting up user journeys and customer personas
Universal Google Analytics
When you set up your objectives in regards to contributors, what’s next? As analytics experts, we suggest to start implementing Universal Google Analytics as this will give you a variety of customisable options required for this large scale project. Our client wanted to drive customers to its e-commerce stores worldwide as well as see how a variety of campaigns affect the customer journey on easy to navigate microsites. Below is the list of Google Analytics features that are useful to implement for this type of campaign:
- Setting up of accounts and user permissions
- Cross device tracking with user ID
- Setting up updated user ID policy
- Setting up demographics reporting
- Google Tag Managers set up for multiple pixel implementation
- Events or virtual page views
- Enhanced e-commerce set up
- Integrating WebMaster Tools and Google AdWords in Google Analytics
- Social tracking integration
- Adding relevant referral exclusion, search exclusions, IP filters etc.
- Defining user journey and personas and implementing custom remarketing tags based on user journeys
Integration of reporting and visualisation
Now that you have all your analytics features set up and ready to go, what is the best way to assemble complex reporting? It’s important to take into account how to visualise the complexity of analytics and present it to multiple stakeholders. There are a few solutions that are helpful when it comes to web analytics reporting:
Tableau is a great business intelligence and visualisation tool. The hosted solution allows you to integrate different GA data and create single views and multiple dashboards based on user requirement. It uses Google Analytics’ reporting API to pull data from Google Analytics and combine everything together to create a single view of the brand.
- Google Spreadsheets
- Custom Dashboards using GA reporting API
The final solution is to build a custom dashboard using GA reporting API. The Google Analytics Core Reporting API gives you access to most of the report data in Google Analytics. With the Core Reporting API you can: build custom dashboards to display Google Analytics data, save time by automating complex reporting tasks, and integrate your Google Analytics data with other business applications.
What are your thoughts on implementing web analytics and reporting processes for large brands? Have you found this information useful? Do you have any suggestion you would like to add? If so please share them in the comments below.
Also, check out our recent guide to Google AdWords which will give you valuable information to make the most of your PPC activity, starting with the best optimisation reports.