Digital analytics is instrumental to any website change
I often get asked by my clients when the analytics team should be looped in as new features, page(s), or site redesign are being developed on a website. In other words, rather than waiting until after something new has launched, at what point should the digital analytics team be brought in to scope the data collection requirements and help create and implement a tagging plan?
I truly love this question, as it means that digital analytics has finally been recognized as a launch prerequisite, and our clients want to make sure we have the necessary window to think through requirements, implement data collection methods and perform QA. Rather than rushing to slap tags on something a week after it launches in response to a business question that can’t be answered without data collection in place, we can get ahead of the questions and look like superstars when we have the answers (data) already at our disposal.
Based on my experience, here is the ideal digital analytics project plan:
Phase One – Design
The digital analytics team should be given the final website or feature design comps/wireframes as soon as they are ready. This will allow the team to familiarize themselves with the new website or feature and develop a plan for analytics tagging and data collection, which may include development requirements.
Phase Two – Implement and Quality Assurance
For multi-page site releases, the digital analytics team should be given access to the Development/Quality Assurance site no later than two weeks prior to launch (for extremely large builds and feature releases, more time should be allotted). During this phase, they will implement any tagging via GTM or GA settings required for data collection, conduct QA of tagging, provide development feedback (if applicable), and ideally resolve any development issues related to analytics prior to the launch. For single page site features/releases, the digital analytics team should be given access to the Dev/QA site no later than one week prior to launch.
Phase Three – Go Live
The digital analytics team will also perform QA post-launch for features/releases that include new analytics tagging/data collection to ensure that all code and changes were successfully pushed to production.