Rule Your Tag Validation [Recap]

September 21, 2017 Jack Vawdrey

This post highlights a recent presentation by Patrick Hillery and Matt Thomas at Validate 2017, a data governance boot camp hosted by ObservePoint.


Excellence in data governance requires a standard to validate against your implementation.

The process of creating a standard begins with clear documentation of business requirements and KPIs, followed closely by tag validation. Tag validation is the final link to connect the data supply chain and close the governance feedback loop.

Robust tag validation is powered by rules.

Implementing rules in an automated data governance solution means validating your analytics and marketing tags are gathering the correct data correctly. To clarify, rules check that data collected and sent through server requests matches a certain format—a format as defined in your key business requirements and recognized by your third-party tool.

ObservePoint’s robust Rules Engine gives users highly customizable tag validation. When paired with alerts, data governors can stay on top of tag performance and ensure their third-party tags work properly.

At Validate 2017, ObservePoint’s Patrick Hillery, Director of Solution Engineering, and Matt Thomas, Project Manager, offered insights on how to implement rules effectively to validate your implementation. Here are some of the highlights from their presentation:

The purpose of rules

Rules provide significant benefits to an organization, as they help data stewards:

  • Enforce KPI measurement across web properties and mobile applications
  • Create efficiencies in their organization
  • Achieve true automation

Translate business requirements and KPIs into rules

Rules validate a tag’s ability to fulfill key business requirements and properly measure KPIs.

Start off by looking at your goals from 20,000 feet, then narrow in on how your third-party technologies help you accomplish those goals. Identify the required format of your tags/variables in order to translate requirements into rules.

For example, if you want to measure a campaign’s ability to increase content consumed, you would need to create a rule that checks campaign parameters are set and analytics tools are present.

Scale audit rules

Large organizations may have hundreds or thousands of domains/sub-domains for microsites or subsidiaries. Trying to create rules to validate each domain individually would be a nightmare. Build an organization-wide standard for analytics implementation and recycle rules across your web properties.

Organize rules using labels

Labels are the mechanism that allow you to organize, filter and apply your rules based on common characteristics or use cases. Some common labels for organizing your rules include:

  • Colleague Name – By labeling any item you create, you can easily find your own work later on. This also allows you to find the colleague who has done other work to ask questions or collaborate (e.g.  george costanza – qa engineer, elaine benes – social media analyst).
  • Business Unit/Subsidiary/Country – Label any item according to a logical business grouping so you can quickly find all items which are related to a specific BU (e.g. bancomer, france, entertainment).
  • Site Section – Certain items (particularly Rules) may only be relevant to certain parts of a site, so you should parcel them out by site section (e.g. all pages, search results page, product pages, order confirmation).
  • Technology – Rules should be labeled with the relevant technology. This will make it very simple to look at all the rules for that analytics or marketing tag (e.g. adobe analytics, google universal, clicktale).

True tag validation is rules-based. Making the step from auditing to validation requires a robust rules library. ObservePoint’s powerful Rules Engine makes it possible to build a portfolio of rules to ensure you’re successfully meeting business requirements and recording KPIs.

Validate is a hands-on, technical boot camp where data governance teams and analytics professionals hone their digital analytics skills and learn to drive more results with their marketing technologies. Learn more about next year’s event.


About the Author

Jack Vawdrey

Jack Vawdrey is a content marketing strategist and closet programmer interested in the opportunities that marketing technology and automation present for enterprises. Passionate about digital marketing, content marketing, and analytics, Jack is continuously honing his skills in these areas and relishes an opportunity to share what he's learned. Jack joined the ObservePoint marketing team in 2016 as Managing Editor and now works as a Content Marketing Consultant.

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