Google Analytics Enhanced E-Commerce. 8 Steps for Successfully Managing an Implementation Project

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1 Google Analytics Enhanced E-Commerce 8 Steps for Successfully Managing an Implementation Project

2 Enhanced E-Commerce Implementation How long will implementation take? What level of effort is required from our team? How much developer s time should I request for an analytics project? These are typically some of the first questions that we hear when prospective clients engage us to estimate the scope of implementing Google Analytics Enhanced E-Commerce. Google Analytics Enhanced E-Commerce is the most technically advanced and sophisticated part of implementing a measurement architecture for Google Analytics. But, before you can benefit from the amazing reporting and analytics capabilities made available to you once everything is up and running, you, as a web analytics owner for your organization, must figure out how to get the teams coordinated. You will need to get the teams that historically have very little to do with analytics to work with you and your consultants on your time frame, within your budget and make the implementation their top priority.

3 Enhanced E-Commerce Implementation (Continued) We started our first Google Analytics Enhanced E-Commerce implementation project in early 2014, way before this capability was available to the public. Our first production site running Enhanced E-Commerce for a Fortune 100 customer went live around the time Enhanced E-Commerce became generally available as a beta. Since then, we ve launched a number of Enhanced E-Commerce implementations for sites ranging from small online auction shops to Internet Retailer Top 500 companies. The purpose of this document is to outline the eight steps that need to be considered for the Enhanced E-Commerce implementation to be a success. This document is not designed for a technical audience. Rather, we created it for marketers to understand the steps, the teams and the time allocation required to launch this type of project. Our long-term goal is to provide a separate guide for each area, but in this document we will make you aware of some factors that contribute to the success of an Enhanced E-Commerce implementation project. This document primarily focuses on cross-team management challenges, not on the items that are within the area of control of marketing/analytics team.

4 8 Steps to Success Implementation 1. Stakeholder Alignment 2. Developing Standards 3. Scope Management and Iteration Planning 4. Resource Allocation 5. Communication Flow 6. Risk Management 7. Testing 8. Training

5 Step 1: Stakeholder Alignment This sounds like your typical corporate project management gobbledygook, but here is what this really means: Implementation Stakeholders: Marketing IT/Development QA Privacy & Security The web analytics team responsible for the implementation of the e-commerce capabilities may not have authority over the IT and QA teams. It can also be challenging to get items on the IT team s backlog and so a web analytics implementation project has to be prioritized with the other million items on their list. Unfortunately what typically happens is that even when the analytics project is prioritized on the IT team s backlog, other things end up taking priority and the analytics implementation gets pushed back. We recommend proactively managing an analytics implementation project. From our experience, if it is not proactively managed, it will get delayed 9 times out of 10. So, to proactively manage, here are a few things that will help: Achieve Executive Alignment You need to sell the benefits of advanced e-commerce analytics to the technical leadership team. Get them excited. Show them the benefits to the company. Achieve Implementation Team Alignment Help developers and scrum masters understand why this is valuable. Bring pizza and have a lunch and learn on why these new features will improve their lives.

6 Step 2: Develop Technical Standards Topics to include in your standards: Data layer architecture including user and page attributes Standardization of engagement tracking Registration data and User ID architecture Tracking of complex objects that go beyond tracking on click events Technical team involvement has to focus on two areas what needs to be done and why it needs to be done this way. There are many transition points in the project where analytics specialists are not going to be available. For example, after the implementation, when new pages or capabilities are added to the site, there has to be a technical standards playbook that outlines all the technical requirements from a measurement standpoint that development architects need to incorporate into features and capabilities. This becomes even more complex when you are dealing with multiple technical vendors, each responsible for a certain website within your organization. This is also very applicable during the implementation project. The more complex your website, the more sections you have in your product catalog, the more difficult it is for the analytics team alone to identify every area that needs to be tracked. With Enhanced E-Commerce, we are no longer tagging just the pageview we need to track the type of list a product shows up in (Product list page, product details page, cart page), where the products are positioned on the page, and so on. For a successful Enhanced E-Commerce implementation, you must develop technical standards around analytics and these standards should constantly evolve through your iterations. These standards must also be included in the set of technical requirements for the development team not just for the implementation project, but for all future projects as well.

7 Step 2: Develop Technical Standards (Continued) These are examples of technical standards:

8 Step 3: Scope Management and Iteration Planning Balancing the budget available for implementing Enhanced E-Commerce against the scope of complete implementation is not easy. These are the primary components of a successful technical implementation: Establishing the data layer on every page Checkout process and transaction/order tracking Cart operations (add/remove/update) Tracking view/listing type Impression tracking Internal promotion and discounts Refund and cancellation tracking Depending on the availability of your technical resources, not everything needs to be included right away. We recommend that you follow the sequence on the next page.

9 Step 3: Scope Management and Iteration Planning (Continued)

10 Step 4: Availability of Resources This goes hand-in-hand with stakeholder alignment, but this adds yet another angle. Your project has internal resources and external resources. Lets consider this scenario: You have web analytics consultants helping with the analytics architecture and setup. You also have your internal development team that actually needs to make the technical changes. There is one potential challenge here. Lets assume that the consultants do the first phase of this project create the architecture and you work with them to get it reviewed and approved with all the technical and marketing stakeholders. Since the Development team works in 2-3 week iterations, do you need your analytics consultants for the entire duration of the iteration? What do you do if some of the coding work gets moved into the next iteration? The challenge: If you are not paying for the consultant s time to be available during the development phase, they will be working on another client s project and may not be available when you need them. On the other hand, it is a waste of money to pay for the consultants to be available just in case the development team has questions or issues.. This can be even more difficult if you have to deal with an external development team from another agency.

11 Step 4: Availability of Resources (Continued) There is no easy solution here except to recognize these challenges at the beginning of the project and to make sure that all three parties participate in the creation of the project timeline internal marketing, development and the analytics consultant teams. We will talk about improving communication in the next step, but one idea that you may want to consider is setting up the schedule such that your analytics consultant is fully available for a couple of half-day blocks during the development iteration. This way, they can participate in the developer s daily standup meetings and also work side-by-side with them to build more advanced tracking code. If nothing else, having a weekly check-in for project updates is key so that all teams remain on the same page throughout the project.

12 Step 5: Communication Flow Communications do not just happen they must be planned ahead of time. Here are some things that have worked well for us: Daily Standups or Weekly Check-In Meetings: When possible, have the analytics and development teams do daily standups together. Its not about the function, but about working together on the project. At a minimum, have a weekly check-in to review the progress of the project. Project Intranet: It is critically important to maintain not just the technical specs for the e- commerce implementation, but also a complete communication portal with all the requirements and design documents. Maintaining it will take a little bit of extra work, but unlike many other projects, analytics projects require significant cross-team communication. This also allows anyone joining the project in progress to be able to quickly ramp up on the entire project status.

13 Step 6: Risk Management Risk comes from not knowing what you`re doing. Warren Buffett Risk is like fire: If controlled it will help you; if uncontrolled it will rise up and destroy you. Theodore Roosevelt Risks that you want to consider: 1. There are some Enhanced E-Commerce capabilities that have to be done right away and there are some that can be implemented through incremental improvements. 2. Analytics data must match your backend e-commerce transaction data. We will talk about testing processes in the next step, but your goal here should be at least 95% accuracy. Tracking some analytics server-side to allow for visitors who have ad blockers or other issues can help bring analytics data closer to 100% accuracy, but these projects are more complex and can be done in a later iteration 3. Unfortunately, staffing may change in the middle of the project. There are many things you can do to mitigate this risk. Here are some things that work well for us: 1. Make sure project intranet becomes a living document, not something that s done once as a checklist item. 2. Parkinson s Law is works expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. There is not that much technical work that needs to be done assuming that the developers understand what they are doing and why. Start with an assumption that the developers must understand the outcome of what you are doing and the technical team will get the necessary tagging done very quickly. Otherwise coding will end up taking a very long time if analytics experts has to point out every single place on every page of the site that needs to be tagged certain way.. 3. Invest time in training upfront Rule 8 is dedicated to that.

14 Step 7: Testing There are many aspects of successful testing but there is one that is critically important to the success of a Google Analytics Enhanced E-Commerce project: You must have a way to test the e-commerce implementation in the production environment. And on top of that, you must also have a process for cancelling test production transactions before they go into fulfillment. Keys to Successful Testing Understanding your historical averages for data pre-implementation This establishes a baseline for where you were before Enhanced E-Commerce. This will not be available for completely new features (like product/promotion impressions, product/promotion position, etc.) but should be established for transactions, revenue, product revenue, and so on. Having a clearly documented testing plan The plan should describe not only what will be tested, but what the targets are for accuracy. For example, your testing plan should record how each new feature will be tested, and if it can be compared to back-end data, what the acceptable accuracy rate is.

15 Step 7: Testing (Continued) Turn your results into an understandable document that can be communicated to key stakeholders This allows you to accomplish both confirmation of quality data collection, but it also helps build user confidence in the data and shows stakeholders the success you have achieved.

16 Step 8. Training As consultants, most of the time we are asked to do training at the end of an Enhanced E- Commerce implementation project. This only makes sense, because now the stakeholders will need to understand how to utilize the new features. Obviously, there are certain things that can t be shown until the end of the project, but we always recommend starting the project with training and then incorporating training into each phase of the project. Technical training for the development team helps ensure that the developers do not just blindly follow the specs, but have the knowledge to make recommendations and influence how some of the tracking works. Also, repeatable technical training ensures that as the development team continues innovation beyond the initial Enhanced E-Commerce implementation project, they have the expertise and the standards to continue innovation. Our goal is to empower marketers and their IT teams to utilize the new Enhanced E-Commerce functionality, but also to continue to innovate for continued analytics growth.

17 Google Analytics Enhanced E-Commerce Google Analytics Ecommerce data has traditionally focused on details about the purchase - transaction details, product details, and others. But, marketers today want to understand the entire customer journey. They want more details about customer behavior when looking at products, interacting with merchandising units and on-site marketing. Enhanced Ecommerce is a complete revamp of how Google Analytics measures the Ecommerce experience. Businesses can now gain clear insight into new important metrics about shopper behavior and conversion including: product detail views, add to cart actions, internal campaign clicks, the success of internal merchandising tools, the checkout process, and purchase. Merchants will be able to understand how far along users get in the buying process and where they are dropping off

18 LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW INFOTRUST CAN IMPROVE YOUR ENHANCED E-COMMERCE IMPLEMENTATION Call us at or visit InfoTrustLLC.com/Contact-Us today. CONTACT US TODAY

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