This may seem like a no-brainer to some, but this step is the one that is most often skipped and causes the biggest headache. So take some time to map out what exactly you want to track on your website and also be sure to ask yourself “Why do I want to track this? What actionable insights can I gain from this metric/dimension?”. This is important because even if you have the ability to track every click on your website (and with GTM you certainly can), doesn’t mean that you should. Think about what are the most important metrics that you can take action on and make a positive change for your department. You can tell your boss “50% of users clicked on hamburger menu”, but what does that actually say about your website? Once you have all your KPIs listed with important information like your overarching goals and what metrics you want to get from them, it’s time to map out your tracking into any analytics platform (like Google Analytics).
To start an Analytics Audit, I dig into GA’s settings and export large reports from GA in order to look at all the pages, events, and campaigns for at least a year. From there I have a series of checklist of questions, but here’s a brief summary of the reports and thinking for each of the 3 main reports.
All of the questions and information from the Analytics Audit will really help when you start mapping events from the new Measurement Plan into your Implementation Plan. Which leads me too…
Now the true benefit of the Measurement Plan and Analytics Audit will shine as you are able ask more detailed questions as you figure out the most effective way to track the new KPIs into GA (or any other analytics platform). This allows you to really iron out any kinks with naming conventions for all the components (like pages, events, campaigns). Please note that any changes you make in GA will not change historical data so changes in namings might mean you will have to manually compare old data to new data. My opinion tends to be that that’s a sacrifice I make to be able to really get actionable and readable data, but if that’s not the feelings of other departments or the university then you will have to discuss or set up your own instance of GA and/or GTM. The Implementation Plan will help identify how the KPIs need to be set up in GTM tags and how to set up properties and/or views in GA. Once your plan is in place you can start acting on it for GTM tags, but for the GA set up I have a few notes in the next steps.
Setting up a GA is not as simple as adding GTM code to your site since it’s never really a one-size-fits-all answer. There are pros and cons of using properties and views, especially for a setup like a University where you are often grandfathered into whatever approach was put in place years ago. On a very simple level, a GA property uses the same tracking ID; therefore, if you have multiple tracking IDs for GA then you have that many properties. In my experience, most clients have at least one property that is for the entire university and then multiple others for each department/college.
For each property the best practice is to have at least 3 views with the following suggested filters:
You have created and implemented your Measurement/Implementation Plan, so you can now move onto the most important part about tracking — making actionable decisions based off of insights in the data! Be sure to remember that sometimes that decision will be to update or change the way the tracking works and for that I would suggest starting at the step 1 and documenting and discussing each step and change. Going through this process will help empower your team/department into better understanding your data and by proxy, your users!