What marketers should know about data governance and tracking script management
It's important to know who your stakeholders are, to establish a monthly review process and to orchestrate where you can.
Many companies conduct data governance. In many cases this involves managing tag, scripts, and pixels placed on websites for tracking and analytics purposes. This effort aims to ensure that data is correctly collected, site performance remains acceptable, and there are no old or extraneous tracking on digital properties.
There are, of course, other objectives. For instance, the evolving privacy landscape (spurred on by GDPR, CCPA, CPRA, Apple’s public and strategic commitment to privacy, growing public awareness of data collection and usage practices, browsers restricting access to user data, etc.) is also an important topic for data governance task forces to discuss. While it’s still difficult sometimes to know how to react, it’s important to stay abreast of trends.
However, for the rest of this article, we’ll focus on pixel and script management, and it is important to know how to conduct these data governance efforts.
Who are the stakeholders?
There are multiple stakeholders who have interest in tag and pixel management.
An obvious one is a representative from your paid search team. They may also represent any external agencies that might manage campaigns on your organization’s behalf, but this may also be a different person. These stakeholders definitely are interested in knowing that tracking is placed properly and behaving correctly. They should also ideally let the rest of the team know when tracking is no longer needed as campaigns end.
Members of the analytics team are also crucial stakeholders. In many cases, they can help ensure that data is correctly captured and reported. The analytics team may manage customer journey analytics tools (like Observepoint) that perform automated checks to ensure that tracking is properly placed and performing as expected. Such tools can sometimes monitor child processes, like ad tech or demographic data providers that script owners append to their tracking tools, which they may not inform you about. This is important, as the child items can affect site performance. Further, the analytics team likely is involved in conversion rate optimization efforts that are concerned with how tracking affects overall user experience.
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A representative from the marketing development team is also an important stakeholder. They likely work with the analytics team on operating tag manager solutions as well as tracking that requires non-standard implementations.
Your SEO team has an interest as well. Tracking scripts affect site performance, which is an important factor search engines use to rank sites. They should continually question if the added site weight tracking adds to the site is worth the cost.
How is tracking managed?
There are many different and helpful tools to consider in regard to tracking management and data governance. Some of these include:
- Content management systems (CMS) and form builders that power websites and forms;
- Analytics tools for tracking conversion rates, site performance, and overall UX assessment;
- Tag managers that help take weight off of the CMS and provide more robust and granular control;
- Customer journey analytics tools that can help ensure that tracking is properly placed and operating as expected;
- SEO tools; and
- A central source (perhaps as simple as a spreadsheet) that tracks each pixel placed on the site recording who owns it, what it does, when it is time to review, and when it is time to start or retire.
When should you review your processes?
It is important to have a regularly scheduled meeting with the crucial stakeholders involved. Depending upon the circumstances, a monthly cadence will likely suffice. If it’s any longer like quarterly, a subset of the stakeholders should touch base — formally or informally — at more frequent intervals.
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Regardless of the cadence, it will help to have a dedicated channel in a collaboration tool like Microsoft Teams or Slack set up for ongoing coordination efforts on an ad hoc basis.
During the regularly scheduled meeting it is helpful to cover:
- What has changed since the last meeting (tracking added or removed);
- Fluctuations in site performance;
- Campaign and channel performance;
- Any anomalies from automated checks;
- SEO performance;
- Evolving SEO needs; and
- The tracking pixel audit (what should get added or removed).
Be sure to also check the list of invited people to ensure you’re accounting for personnel turnover, transfers, and new hires.
Orchestration is required
Data governance activities related to pixel and tag management don’t just happen on their own. Someone should own and oversee this effort to ensure that stakeholders remain in the loop and meetings are regularly held. This designated process owner should also ensure that involved stakeholders remain involved and that the entire team listens and addresses the perspectives and needs of the others.