Why you need a data collection strategy

Marketing based on fact, not fiction

Why you need a data collection strategy

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Audience first, inside out, market orientation, we all know that some of today’s most successful companies are extremely customer focused. In order to successfully implement a marketing strategy based on this principle, you must first learn what it is that drives your customers to engage with and buy from your brand.  

It’s typical to assume that you know who your customer is and what motivates them, this is unlikely. The first step should always be to understand. The question is, how do you start this process? 

A common trait of successful companies is that they will have moved on from demographic targeting to engaging with their audiences based on relevant (micro) segments. These segments are more often than not based on needs and behaviours, but how do you get this information? How do you establish these needs and behaviours from the data you collect from your website?  

There are several ways, but the first move should always be implementing a solid Data Collection Strategy. 

At drop consult_ we divide the Data Collection Strategy into several parts, covering all phases of the data consumer (customer) lifecycle. The two key components are Tracking Strategy (this has a big focus on PAID media and how you connect your different assets) and Tagging Strategy (this is what the rest of this post will focus on).  

What does a Tagging Strategy cover and why do you need one? 

Privacy 

In today’s world “Privacy by Design” is no longer just best practice to protect your customer data, it’s a legal requirement in most parts of the world. As such, it’s your responsibility to govern what data third party providers like Facebook and AddThis are collecting. After all, our data is our strategic asset. Establishing some basic principles here will go a long way to keeping you compliant.  

Engagement  

So, you have just launched your new experience. Maybe it’s video based or a webapp based on augmented reality. 

It doesn’t really matter what type of experience it is, long gone are the days when simple pageview metrics would do. The areas that you need to track include: 

  • Videos
  • Surveys and forms  
  • Sales funnels  
  • Chat bots  
  • Top touchpoints 

Not all customer journeys are “conversion” focused, so you need to understand how your audience and segments engage when using your site for other reasons. This will help you to be more relevant and deliver a better experience.  

Behaviours and Intents 

It’s worth separating out the key intent signals and behaviours you want to understand and define them in your strategy.  

For example: 

  • Should you increase your retargeting spend for audiences that spend the most time on your delivery details page? 
  • What if the search history on the page contains more than four terms per search? (more specific searches are often a strong signal that a consumer knows what they want)  
  • “Recipe Searches” or online “Car Configurators” are great ways to collect data on which digital interactions lead to sales.  For example, if people specify cup holders on a car configurator, there’s a good chance they’re serious about buying. 

Segmentation 

The first thing you will see in any data collection survey is segmentation questions. This is done so the results can be drilled down based on the answers (i.e. demographics or attitudinal). It therefore makes sense to capture these as contexts across your digital assets.  

It might be as simple as  

  • Capturing what audience type it is, are they a “Meat Lover” or a “Veganist”? (with a Tracking Strategy this is incredibly easy) 
  • Their navigation behaviour, are they a “Casual Browser” or maybe a “Video Fanatic”? 
  •  Tagging each key section visited

This insight can be used for contextualising journeys, retargeting smarter, or Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)  

Identifiers 

As you started your strategy with a Privacy by Design approach and a Consumer Data Lifecycle you will now know which identifiers you can join to enrich your eco-system. For example, you can contextualise the user experience if you join cookies with emails or join your CRM IDs with 3rd party identifiers.

There are multiple opportunities, but you should always agree your data strategy before you start.  

Content  

Basic content will usually be captured via “page view” / “screen view” tags. However, this will often not cover everything. For example, you might want to capture “page type” so you can slice the data by shop pages or blog visitors. If your pages are long, it makes sense to capture how far people scroll down – to understand if you need to update the content.  If you are considering CRO, you need to understand what content has been viewed on a page so you can make a call as to which elements you need to bring to the forefront. 

Meta Data / Other Data points 

Depending on what system you have, you will need to capture other data points. In Google Analytics (free version) capturing data points like timestamp, cookie ID, navigation pattern (reload, navigate etc.) will accelerate the analytics understanding as well. 

Conversion Data  

No matter if you have a shop or not, capturing your conversion points is vital, this goes from your micro conversions, such as:  

  • Viewing/Adding product to basket 
  • Key pages  
  • Printing a recipe 
  • Starting the checkout journey  

to the harder conversion points, such as: 

  • Registering for an account 
  • Signing up for a newsletter
  • Booking an event  
  • Purchasing a product 

In summary, if you want to do data driven marketing informed by behaviours and intent, then a Tagging Strategy should form a key part of your Data Collection Strategy.