Andrew Geddes, ObservePoint – Take Back Your Time: How to Automate Even More with ObservePoint

January 16, 2020

Learn from Andrew Geddes, Sr. Manager of Consulting at ObservePoint, how to make the power of ObservePoint work for you even more. Geddes will discuss how to:

  • Build broad and targeted audits and journeys
  • Use reports to point you toward quick wins
  • Effectively share actionable insights

Fill out the short form to view the session on-demand.

Take Back Your Time: How to Automate Even More with ObservePoint - Andrew Geddes

Hey everybody, thanks for being part of our Virtual Analytics Summit today and thank you for taking the time to join my session. I'm going to talk about a subject that I think everyone can benefit from and that's taking back your time, how to automate even more with ObservePoint. I want to share with you some tips and tricks and how to get the most out of ObservePoint, how to utilize the data effectively and get actionable alerts, with ObservePoint. 

Little bit about me, so I am Andrew Geddes, I've been with ObservePoint for a little over four years. I'm the senior manager here of the consulting team. I've worked primarily with large media and entertainment customers. I have worked with customers across all industries, but I focus a lot of time with the media and entertainment industry. Some of what I talk about today may resonate even more with that group, but it should resonate with everybody. 

Starting off here. I want to take you back to a time that I was in college, which, doesn't seem like that long ago. and it wasn't really, but that was in 2004, when I started my freshman year of college. This is about what it looked like, we all had our headphones, our new iPods, iPod generation 4 had just come out. It was all the rage and everyone on campus seemed to have one, including myself. So these are my peers in college circa 2004, not myself pictured. These are the tools that we had. These are the tools that we brought to class every day. These are the tools that we used in our, in our studies. And we had a backpack full of these things and we thought we were pretty hip having the iPod that had all of our music in one place. We didn't have to carry around those big CD cases. You know, everyone had the CD cases, they all got stolen out of someone's car at some point. We didn't have to do that anymore cause we had the iPod. We had really consolidated. But did we really, I also had books, five, five subject notebook of course. The iClicker to take quizzes in class, a flip phone, computer, every recording device, if you're really ambitious graphing calculator. Oh, we had all of these things that we had to take the class. We had backpacks full things. We had to lug them around, back in 2004, but we thought we were pretty technologically advanced at the time. Well, fast forward to 2020 looking at 16 years later, what do we have now? We've got, an iPhone that does everything. All of the things that we brought to class back in 2004 can be contained right here in the iPhone. 

So I want to share with you how to take a 2020 approach to your data analytics validation as opposed to the 2004 approach where we thought we were pretty advanced and doing things the right way, but really we can consolidate a great deal of that into a new device. In college, we're consolidating to the iPhone. You can take that to class. I'm sure if I walked around campus today, people don't even really carry backpacks cause they can just pull out their iPhone and do everything that they need to do with that. Including textbooks, notes, recording music, it's all there. So I want to help you to take a 2020 approach and think about how less is more with your analytics and governance strategy. 

So here's the agenda. We're going to talk about audits. We're gonna talk about journeys. We're going to talk about reporting. We're talking about collaboration and we'll dive deeper into these. But you know, these are the table stakes of ObservePoint. These are the things that you utilize every day and get a tremendous amount of value in utilizing ObservePoint. Now I'll tailor this conversation to not just our advanced users but also users who might just be getting started with ObservePoint. And hopefully, everything I talk about will resonate in some way. 

So let's start with the audits and I'm going to toggle back and forth between ObservePoint and, and the presentation here and show you some things, for my account. And show you some recommendations that I would give. The first one is audit organization. So if you're looking at an ObservePoint account, this is what you see. When you go into mine and it looks like a lot, even though I only have 14 audits, 9 Web Journeys and 3 App Journeys in here. It looks like this is a lot and it can be kind of cumbersome to navigate and filter through this. The first thing I recommend everyone is to use the labels. If you're not using the labels yet, you need to to make it a point to do so. I have labeled everything and wanted to talk about today with this fancy, easy to use label "less". I put "less" here as the label and I can see all of the audits and journeys that will be pertinent to the conversation today. I'm going to filter down just to the audits because we're talking about audits to start off and talking about an organization strategy. 

So first and foremost, I would set up an audit that's going to scan daily. And I'm going to use top pages for a daily audit. So this is probably your top 100, maybe 200. If you're a really large website, maybe 500. You're going to have your most critical landing pages or critical pages that tell your users go to every single day. You're going to scan that and you're going to have rules in place to look for the presence of analytics. Because at the very basic level with ObservePoint, you want to validate that your analytics are firing every single day. If you get to a point where those analytics aren't firing every single day and you go months or weeks or a certain amount of time without that data, it has a huge impact on the business and also huge impact on you as the analyst with the people that that will be coming down on you for that. So you don't want to do that. So I do recommend putting a fail safe in place, having top pages daily audit, and to check for the simple presence of all of your critical analytics tools. Now there's additional scheduling that I would recommend and I've got a monthly in here. You may also want to include a weekly as well, and you also will probably start to include things like a QA audit as you get a little bit more advanced. I would do a weekly audit if you're doing things like a weekly release or maybe it's a biweekly audit where we have a biweekly release going on. I would set up an audit to look for those things. When you get to that, you're going to set up your rules a little bit more in depth and we'll talk about that as we move forward here today. But the organization approach, you really don't need an audit for every single section of your site. I'll show you ways where you can get around that. You know, that's like having to bring a textbook to every single class. You know, you're packing your backpack with six different textbooks and that's a 2004 thing. That's not 2020 where you can just bring your iPad or your Kindle reader or whatever it is and bring that to class and you don't have to bring any textbooks. 

So that's the approach I would take with the audits is simplify it. You can encompass most of what you want to audit in a few audits. And again, I'll talk about how we do that as far as scheduling the audits we talked about that I had recommended daily, weekly, monthly, and then even a quarterly, if you're going to do a really large index of your site, maybe a hundred thousand or 200,000 pages. I do that more on a quarterly basis and that would be to see if all my analytics tags there across my whole site. Are there maybe some rogue or piggyback tags that have found their way onto the site that we want to get rid of. So I want to jump back into the audits and show you what I mean in simplifying these. So a lot of people have taken an approach of, “I want to have an audit for every single section of my site.” Well, I'm going to stop you before you do that. And before you clutter up your ObservePoint and make it look like you're from 16 years ago. And so I want to show you the advanced setup here.

 We can see, we can specify to go to specific amounts of pages. So this is just the sample just 10 pages, just to give you a visual of what's going on here. If I wanted to go to just my main sections, my main sports on the espn.com site, I would say I want to go to two MLB pages, two NFL pages two NHL pages, so on and so forth. Then you can also say where you want to exclude. So you can say, I don't want to go to any of the blog pages, but you can add additional filters here using regular expression. Or you can simply use a string or a word in the URL that you want to exclude and you want to have ObservePoint, avoid crawling to that page. So this is going to go to a set amount of espn.com different sports pages. So we've got some MLB, NFL, et cetera, and you can bump these limits up. Well, maybe you wanted to go to 500 MLB pages, but only 20 NFL pages. You can do that here. Instead of creating an audit for every single one of these that you're going to have to then go scour and look at the data and the results, you can do it all in here and you can build your rules accordingly to make sure that, those sections are validated in the way that you want them to be. We won't talk too much about rules in this session, but we will be referencing them as we go. 

Let's talk about journeys now. The first thing you want to do is identify your critical paths. You know, I work with a lot of clients and they have this approach of I want to validate everything and I want to validate my entire SDR, which is, you know, that's a noble approach and a noble idea. But in reality, you know, you're going to find yourself waiting through journeys, waiting through audits and not really able to get actionable insight from those. So when you're talking about journeys, yeah, there's definitely critical paths that your clients are going to do. There's metrics of conversion that you want to be tracking. There's analytics along all those conversion paths and you need to be tracking those things. But I recommend starting with your top five, starting with your top 10 and building those out and getting it to where the alerts are set up. So if you get an alert, you know that there's an issue instead of, I've built 10,000 Journeys and some of them are not set up right and I don't really know what to do. I'm getting tons of emails from ObservePoint and I'm just lost and I'm just buried in this copious amounts of alerts. And you want to avoid that. You know, that's like, that would be like getting an iPhone for the first time. You know, you're so excited and you go to the Apple store and you say, I want to download every single app that's there and I want to put that on my iPhone. Now what's going to happen? And we have 1,002 thousand and 10,000 apps on your phone is not going to function the way you want it to. You're not going to get the insight that you want to get from it. So identify your critical paths, identify the apps that you're actually going to use, the apps that you care about. Going back to the iPhone analogy, and that's what you want to put on here first. 

So I've identified a few critical paths with the, with the ESPN site. So they want to look for searching. What are our clients searching? Are we collecting the terms that we should be collecting? Are the analytics along this path firing the way that we want them to. We've got top three headlines and we also have some, some video testing as well. We won't dive into the, the journey building so much, but more so the results. If you have questions about Journey building, you can reference our training materials or feel free to reach out to your consultant, they'll be happy to help you with that. So let's click into this search journey. We see that there's different error messages. We have this action failure, the line. We have a rule failure, which is the exclamation point. If you go to the action failure, if you look at the results in here, you notice that on step six, we've got an issue here. We want to rectify that or you can actually utilize our script team had to fix this journey and they'll take time to fix that for you. So you don't have to do the legwork to do the fixing if you have a rule that or an action that fails. So once you have the Journey operating and working in the way that you want it to be working, whether you've utilized our script services team to fix the journey or you fix it yourself, it's really easy to build rules around this. I actually use, I do my rule building right within the journeys. Even when I'm building rules for audits, I love to use this functionality. Where I can just click on the tag that is relevant to me. I can click this add rule button, I can click all the variables that are of interest and relevance to this project or this validation that I'm doing. Just name that rule. Then you can customize these rules to get as specific as you want with what it is you're validating. So you know, if you don't want these values to be exactly what they were when this Journey first ran, you can change these. You can use regular expression, you can use a contains filter, you can use if set, not set, greater than, and equals two. There's a ton that you can do to make these rules robust. I think a lot of people find themselves with, with some basic rules and get a little concerned when they go and have to build some of these more advanced rules. And again, feel free to leverage your consultant to help you build some of these more advanced rules that go through, you know, specific, dynamic variables or validations that are relevant to your business. 

One of the biggest things that you can do, one of the most valuable things you can do, with the Journeys is setting them up around release cycles. So if you have your Journey set up and if you have them running, you can do the same here like you did with audits. You can put them on a schedule, you can have them run weekly, you can have them run daily with journeys, you can run them even more frequently. You can run these as frequently as every 15 minutes if you like. So if you have a path or a critical path that is just absolutely vital and you need to be alerted immediately. If there's an issue, I would recommend setting these up for, every 15 minutes. But of course, you know, you might not want to be that granular. Maybe you'll go every hour or every six hours and set these up at whatever schedule is most relevant to you. But I do recommend setting these up around the release cycle. 

So you're going to run those QA Journeys first and then you're going to have your prod Journeys run immediately following whenever that release was. We have that set up and you have that running in an automated fashion, you're going to know that, okay, everything looks good in QA. I expect no alerts from my prod Journeys. And as you get no alerts from the prod journeys that you know, you're good to go. Or you can come in here and you can look at the data if you want to, you know, just double check and make sure everything is the way you anticipate it to be. So having those journeys built around release cycles, definitely something I recommend and setting those up on a schedule that'll be most useful and relevant to you. I want to jump over into reporting now and reporting is where you're going to get the actionable data out of ObservePoint. 

So the first thing I want to share with you is a Tag Presence report and this is one of the lesser known reports that I think a lot of people find a lot of value, let me show you how to get there. I had to get that Tag Presence report out of ObservePoint. You're going to go to the tag presence section of any audit or you're going to hit a view page and actually turn my tag filtering off to show all tags cause I want the report to show me all tags and you're going to hit view pages and then you're going to export the report and you're going to click on tag presence. Now this'll give you a full report that's going to show you all the URLs that you scanned. It's going to show you all the technologies that we came across in the columns and it's going to show you if that technology had a tag present, in the rows. So it's a, it's a really good 10,000 foot view of these are all the tags that fired. These are where they fired and these he's are where they didn't fire if you expect them to be there. So tag presence report as well as the cookies and console log reports if you want to get it a little bit more technical. Those are available here in the tag present section and view pages. So there's a couple things for our advanced users that that you might be familiar with already. For those who are, might be a little bit newer with ObservePoint or haven't, used some of these tools or haven't seen these tools yet, I want to point them out to you. 

For those of you that are advanced users of ObservePoint or have been around ObservePoint for a while, you've probably used labs@observepoint.com, maybe you haven't and that's okay. But it's another tool that I want to share with you that might be relevant and might have some importance for you. And I'm not going to dive too heavily into these because I don't want to, you know, take time, you know, going into the nitty gritty. But if you do have questions, again reach out to your consultant and they'll be happy to help you set this up or feel free to reach out to me. So in talking about labs@observepoint.com, what this allows you to do is you can build a status summary. So if you go to the status summary section in the labs, you can build out, you know, what journeys, what audits you want to see, you can filter in by label and then you can set this up on a schedule. So if you want to just get like a weekly, weekly account summary, you can set that up. You know, like I have here. So if you had it, what that looks like, it'll you put in all your details, you want a, the information you want, the audits and journey sent to you, and you'll get a weekly email with a summary of all of your audits and journeys. A lot of our customers find this valuable. Obviously you're going to set up the alerts in a way that you're going to get actionable insights, but this will also give you another level where you can see where your journey is and where you're at, and if it might've had issues or real failures. The other thing I wanted to share with you is it's called ObservePoint labs. So there's those two things, kind of confusing labs at ObservePoint and ObservePoint labs. This ObservePoint labs allows you to do things, utilizing our API in Google sheets. So it's just an add on in Google sheets. If you go to get ad-ons and search for ObservePoint labs, you'll find it here and it'll look like this, this little box here that this little modal pops up. So I'm just gonna accept the cookies there. And then you put in your API key and you hit continue. You can also utilize your Adobe API key. There some push pull relationship things that you can utilize, but this ObservePoint labs who allows you to use the API to do things like bulk updates, bulk changes also allows you to do things like a comparison report. So if you want to schedule a report that's gonna show you the differences between an audit that ran last week to an audit that ran this week and have that run just every week and show you the differences, you can actually set up a comparison report here in the sheet to do that, and it'll run each week. It'll also allow you to get an email that'll link you to this report every week and then you'll be able to see the differences. So once you have those alerts set up, once you have all of your rules in a place where you feel comfortable with, I do recommend coming here and starting to do things in the more advanced tools like lab setups observepointpoint.com and ObservePoint labs. The last thing I want to touch on is collaboration. So with the collaboration piece of ObservePoint, one of the most critical things that you can do is setting up your notifications, setting up your alerts, the way that you're going to get them in an actionable way. 

The first thing that you might want to do. So for some of your, maybe it's your quarterly audit or your monthly audit, you want to get an alert, with details of what that audit scanned. You'll put yourself in the notification for an audit. Now, if you want to get the details of any failures, that's where you go to your rule library. So in the rule section, so like I have this rule that I'm using here in this presentation, for Adobe being present. So this is just a simple rule that says on every page, I expect Adobe to be present and if we ever scan a page that Adobe isn't present, I want to be alerted. So if you build this rule, yeah, you can go into the audit and you can check to see if there's a failure, but are you really going to get the action that you want from it? You want to make you have your email set up in the notification center or in the rule set up in the send notifications box. So put your email address in the send notifications box and it'll send you an alert every time that rule fails or every time. In this case, if Adobe wasn't found on any of the URLs that I scanned, I would get an alert and I would be notified right away and I could go in and make sure that, you know, hopefully it was just a one off page and not Adobe falling off of all of your pages. If it is that, and at least you caught it and you can get on it really quickly. 

Couple of other things I want to point out with the rules and with notifications. So if I jump back into the rule, you'll notice that the send notification box allows me to put email addresses in. Slack does have an integration option where you can actually, set up an email address for a Slack channel. So if you set up an email address for a Slack channel, you can just put that email address here in the box and it'll give you what you want. So if you want to get additional notifications, you want to get alerts. If you want to have a, have some of the information, pushed to, to other systems, like maybe that's Microsoft teams or maybe it's again, a Slack channel. You can utilize what we call a web hooks. A web hook allows you to push data to another system and you'll set up the web hook URL and it will allow you to post information to that system. So you'll notice here that if you go down in an audit setup, you have a complete web hook URL. So each system works a little bit differently. And so you'll probably want to work with your consultant to get these set up. If you go to our help documentation, you'll see how to set up these different web hooks. We do currently have options to utilize Slack. You can use a web hook for JIRA as well. So if you have issues, if you have alerts from some of your rules and you want to have that push to JIRA and create a ticket from that right away, or you can do that with a web hook. Okay. So those are some of the integrations that we have available to you. So really any system that accepts web hooks or utilizes web hooks, you can utilize that here in ObservePoint and you can get a integration set up that way. So with all that being said, some of the most critical things to think about in setting up your ObservePoint account is setting it up to where you're getting the most actionable insights. So you're going to want to have alerts around your most critical pages daily. You're going to want to have alerts around your most critical paths and your Journeys, and then you'll start building it out to cover some of the more ancillary things if you can get the setup right and if you can get alerted to issues as they take place and issues as they arise, that's when you're going to see the most value from ObservePoint. That's when you're going to really take back that time and save the time of doing that manual effort of scouring your pages and making sure things aren't missing out. You're going to have peace of mind knowing that ObservePoint is scanning these things for you and it's gonna alert you if there's any major issues. 

So let's remember back to where we started. I talked about my experience in college and how I had a separate tool to do all the tasks that I needed to do in school. And a lot of people take that approach with ObservePoint, like I need an audit to do scans for this. I knew not to scan for this. A journey to scan for this during the scan for that. And it doesn't have to be that way. You'll take a 2020 approach to your analytics. Take the approach that you know, you can set up a few audits that are gonna monitor your most critical pages that are gonna monitor your whole site index. But you're going to be able to do that in an easy way because you've set it up to include the pages you want to include and exclude the pages you don't want to go to. I take the approach with your journeys that your journeys are your most critical paths first. And then maybe you'll have some other set up on a, on a lesser run cadence. But the ones that you see, the ones that you go to every day, you have labels set up to where you can find those easily, find those quickly, just like your iPhone. When you go to your home screen, you want to see the apps that you use all the time. You want to see the alerts and the notifications that are most relevant and pertinent to you. And that's how you want to set up ObservePoint. 

So thank you for your time and really appreciate you listening in today and enjoy the rest of the Virtual Analytics Summit.

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