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19 Dec 2016

Conversion tracking: tracking user behaviour and assessing your ROI

By: Nadine Ishani

Recently, we've had a number of clients ask us to install tracking tools on their websites. This is a really exciting development but don't forget about your users! Here are some things to consider before you whack some code up on your site.

Recently, we've had a number of clients ask us to install conversion tracking tools on their websites. Whilst many corporate companies have been using these tools for a while, it's really exciting to see more arts organisations getting involved in conversion tracking. We're looking forward to making use of the technology across a wider range of client's sites but we just want to flag a couple of things that need some consideration ahead of launching into this brave new world. 

Drupal makes it straightforward for us to set up any of these tools (and many more) on any given site. So the question isn't how are we going to do it - the questions are what do you want to do and why? And once you've got your hands on all that lovely data - what are you going to do with it?

In our experience, the request to add tracking isn't always coming from the venue we're working with. Often it's a tool that promoters, producers and marketing agenices would like to use to be able to track the success of their marketing campaigns through to purchase. The tracking will allow them to keep an eye on the success of different elements of their campaigns. Over time this will allow them to run more efficient and effective campaigns, helping venues sell more tickets.

Privacy

It's a bit of an obsession of ours but by law every company should have a privacy (including cookies) policy that outlines how use use your customers data. In your privacy policy you will have outlined to your customers what data you will collect and how you will handle it. Make sure that adding the tracking code doesn't contravene your existing policies. 

To do this you'll need to understand what information is being tracked, by whom, and how that data is being stored and used. In understanding this, you simply want to be clear about what you can and can't do under the terms of your existing policy. If it's overly restrictive then you may need to talk to senior management about amending your policy to allow you to make better use of current technologies to better serve your customers (and make budgets go further).

When it comes to privacy, a wrong step can put your company at risk of a fine of up to £500,000. No fine that large has yet been issued but we don't want you to be the first! So make sure you understand your privacy policy and the contract that you have with your customers.

Earlier this year, we wrote about what to include in your privacy policy - that article is as good a good place as any to start.

Systems

Once you're clear and happy that your policies allow you to pop a little bit of conversion tracking on the site, you'll need to work out where you need the code to go. It depends on the purpose of the code but some will need to go on every page on the site and some will only be on a single page.

It's important that you understand where the code needs to go and give clear briefs to anyone doing the work for you. This will help ensure that the data you collect is clean and useful to those processing it for reporting purposes.

If the code is being used to track customers through to a transaction, then you will likely need to talk to other suppliers as well as your web agency. We work with clients who use a number of different platforms for ticketing and the ability, or indeed the mechanism required, to add tracking code to those platforms varies. So you'll need to work out what your set up is and talk to your different suppliers about the best ways to track your customers across the different platforms that you have in place.

Depending on what you're 'selling' this could mean that you need tracking code on your website, ecommerce platform, donation platform and ticketing platform. The specific combination will depend on what campaign you're running and what you need to measure to track your success.  

Some older platforms are not be able to support cross domain tracking and it's not easy to add and remove tracking code without support from a developer. Newer versions allowing you more control are available so you may need to upgrade some of your existing software in order to make the most of it.

Google Tag Manager is a useful tool that can be used across platforms and domains to track customers journeys. It has a user friendly interface and once the container has been added to a site/platform, it allows tracking code to be added and removed without the need for a developer every time. This makes it much more flexible as a tool but still requires a certain level of confidence and know how. Give us a shout if you want to know more about this solution.

Checklist

  1. Get to know your privacy policy and terms and conditions. Make sure you understand what limitations you're working within (or what you need to change)
  2. Assuming that it's good to go, check in with your suppliers (website, ticketing, ecommerce, donations, mailing list) about the best way to manage these requests
  3. When someone asks you to add some conversion tracking code, make sure you understand:
  • what the code is doing
  • what sort of data is being collected
  • where that data will be held
  • who will have access to the information collected
  • what the data will be used for
  • what page/s should the tracking code be installed on 
  • what platforms it should be installed on
  • what dates it should be there from/to (excess code over time will slow down your site so mke sure to remove tracking code you don't need anymore)

If you're happy with all of the above then go ahead!

Final word

These tools are a great way to better understand the online behaviour of your customers and how they interact with your marketing campaigns across different channels.

The data collected can help you and your partners make better use of budgets as you start to understand the ROI for each of the channels that you use. It can also help you identify which channels are used by different audience segments. All of this is really great and exciting stuff.

We pride ourselves on helping you put your users first so we just want to make sure that they are getting what they expect from you.

Get in touch about your next project!