In 2020, digital analytics is more important than ever. In the current digital landscape, becoming more data-driven allows businesses to deliver amazing experiences to their customers and stay competitive in a cutthroat marketplace.
While the upside of becoming data-driven certainly has its reward, there are also several challenges you can expect to encounter as you improve your data-driven capabilities.
Top 3 Challenges Facing Data-Driven Businesses
Companies working to use data more effectively in 2020 are sure to encounter obstacles as they strive to improve their use of data. The top challenges these companies can expect to face are as follows:
- Navigating vast amounts of data
- Team Misalignment
- Time and resource allocation
We’ll look at each challenge individually.
Navigating vast amounts of data
I have good news: all the work put into analytics technology during the last few decades has paid off, as businesses are now able to collect vast amounts of customer data on nearly every element of their website.
However, all this data comes at a cost, and more data does not always mean better data. If anything, more data means more time and resources spent sorting, cleansing, and understanding that data. The more data you have, the harder you have to work to ensure data accuracy.
Furthermore, not all data is created equal, as there are likely only a few critical customer journeys and high-traffic pages on your site. Prioritizing data collection and analysis outside of these critical site elements can be a distraction, causing you to sink valuable time and energy into work that only marginally impacts ROI.
Additionally, you can’t ignore the front-end data collection processes of setting up and maintaining an analytics implementation.
Analytics implementations for robust websites can be massively complex—containing thousands or millions of analytics tags. The sheer volume of tags makes ongoing tag debugging and maintenance a challenging endeavor, especially since websites and their associated analytics implementations change frequently.
This challenge is only magnified if you’re attempting to manage your analytics implementation manually—likely by using an in-browser analytics debugger—especially since manual tag management is time consuming and prone to human error. Moving forward, you will not be able to adequately manage a robust analytics implementation manually.
A common story in the world of data governance is as follows: a team sets up a system and process to collect accurate data. Then at a later date, another team or individual does something that breaks the system and process because teams didn’t communicate clearly.
Different teams working on the same website and analytics implementation will always have differing objectives. For example, a marketing team’s objectives around a website and analytics implementation will likely focus on customer experience and ROI, while an IT team will be more focused on functionality and security.
Due to these differing team goals, ongoing blunders are inevitable if teams fail to align.
Time and resource allocation
Growing your brand by acquiring and retaining customers is no easy feat, especially since there are seemingly endless ways companies can allocate their time and resources to accomplish those goals. As a result, this is a serious challenge for many companies, and especially for marketing leaders.
According to Mikel Chertudi, General Manager of the Strala Business Unit within ObservePoint, “Heads of marketing, heads of experience are becoming much more accountable to the CFO and to the CEO to drive growth within an organization. And they have to do it more efficiently.”
A core component of this challenge resides in a company’s ability to obtain accurate campaign attribution. Without accurate attribution, a company lacks the necessary insights to efficiently allocate budget.
So, how can companies overcome these challenges in 2020?
With the help of a tag governance and performance measurement solution.
Tag Governance and Performance Measurement
Using a tag governance and performance measurement solution can help companies overcome many of these challenges and accomplish the following:
- Ensure accuracy of large amounts of data with automated testing
- Align teams on analytics goals
- Effectively allocate time and resources with accurate attribution
Let’s break each of these down.
Ensure data accuracy with automated testing
An effective tag governance and performance measurement solution will help companies manage tagging complexity by allowing them to set up ongoing tagging audits that ensure their tags are functioning properly in the correct location.
Now, while an effective automated testing solution would allow you to run tests on your entire site, an all-inclusive testing strategy of your entire site is not optimal.
Websites are large, and running comprehensive tests on a regular basis would take excessive time and resources to execute. Additionally, running all-inclusive tests would return vast amounts of data to sift through.
Just because you can collect vast amounts of data does not mean you should collect vast amounts of data.
Instead, you should take a more targeted approach that makes test automation work specifically for your website’s goals. Your website likely follows the 80/20 rule, in that roughly 80% of your website’s revenue comes from about 20% of your website’s functionality. This 20% of your website is where you will want to focus your testing efforts.
Approaching tag governance with automation and this more targeted approach will allow you to efficiently navigate the problems created by vast amounts of data.
Align teams on analytics goals
Aligning teams around analytics goals can be accomplished through effective communication processes and by using a tag governance and performance measurement solution.
The first step here is to establish communication by aligning standards, goals, and knowledge between teams. According to Jim Cain, CEO and Founder of Napkyn Analytics, aligning these elements requires leaders of each team to hold meetings specifically about standards and language. Then these leaders need to work to unite each team on terminology around KPIs, goals, and terms for how each team conceptualizes different work elements, like what project completion looks like and which team owns specific tasks.
When IT, analytics, and marketing teams get on the same page by uniting on common terminology around these KPIs, goals, and workflow items, the teams close communication gaps and effectively improve collaboration.
Next, you’ll want to use an automated tag governance and performance measurement solution to eliminate chances of miscommunication and accidental tagging blunders across teams. This can be accomplished by setting up the following in your solution:
- Data owners. Setting up data owners will give you a clear view of who is in charge of what in terms of data, which will greatly reduce miscommunication around data-related responsibilities.
- User permissions. Establishing user permissions within your solution will safeguard your data from unauthorized use and prevent cross-team data blunders.
- Notifications. Setting up notifications in your solution will allow you to be alerted whenever something changes or goes sour in your tagging implementation, which will help you quickly resolve team alignment and tagging issues whenever they arise.
Effectively allocate budget with accurate attribution
In order to allocate time and resources effectively you need accurate attribution, which can be accomplished with the help of a tag governance and performance measurement solution.
Such a solution will enable you to predefine data standards before you ever start collecting data, allowing you to ensure unification for all the data you collect—even offline customer touchpoints. These capabilities will help you obtain accurate data insights throughout all your campaigns, so you know exactly how to allocate budget to maximize your ROI.
Additionally, by using a tag governance and performance measurement solution you will be able to move away from the outdated methods of using spreadsheets to manage attribution. Instead, you will be able to move to a more automated platform, which will help you avoid lost time and the human errors that come with manual campaign management via spreadsheet.
Overall, the combination of best practices and a tag governance and performance measurement solution put data-driven companies in a position to continually rise above the challenges of today’s digital analytics world.
Now, you might be asking yourself, “how do I obtain a tag governance and performance measurement solution?”
Tag Governance and Performance Measurement
The first option to obtaining a tag governance and performance measurement solution is to build your own.
Building your own solution
Building a solution yourself is possible but is also a task of serious magnitude, as doing so would require individuals with comprehensive expertise in data collection, processing, and querying. You would also need to consider how to incorporate functional visualization, UX/UI, notifications, and reporting functionality.
Also, if you were able to build a solution, you would need to dedicate manpower to updating and maintaining that solution over time so the solution continues to adequately serve your needs as time goes on.
Undoubtedly, you would need to dedicate extensive man-hours and resources to the creation, customization, and maintenance of such a solution.
The next option for obtaining a tag governance and performance measurement solution is to purchase a third-party solution.
Purchasing a third party solution
Due to the labor-intensive nature of building—and especially, maintaining—an automated testing solution yourself, you’re likely better off finding a pre-existing solution, especially since you will be able to configure and customize a well-made tag governance and performance measurement solution to your specific needs at a much quicker rate than you could ever build one.
Additionally, with a third-party solution, since the third party has already built the solution, all you need to do is allocate the manpower to manage it. And in doing so, the third party will also provide you with supporting materials to help you get the most out of your solution.
In terms of existing third-party solutions, ObservePoint recently acquired Strala’s performance measurement technology. The two business units together provide you with everything you need to ensure your tagging implementation is providing you with accurate data and that your attribution is giving you valid insights. If you would like to find out more about this acquisition and how it could benefit your business you can read ObservePoint’s acquisition blog post.
About the AuthorLinkedIn More Content by Chris Baird