Most marketers know the importance of making strategic marketing decisions based on data and not gut feeling. Most of us also know how important it is to have clear goals, setting up pixels correctly and implementing UTM codes before starting a campaign. It's also easy to take correct data collection for granted, but if you've worked in the industry awhile you know that very few businesses actually have a perfect setup and you often have to work without all the information you would like. This can cause both headaches and frustration. But it does not mean that you will have to go completely blind. We therefore wanted to share with you some of our most common challenges to data collection, and some tips on how we bypass these challenges, and still manage to collect data. You can by the way just see our video on this subject here!
Here are our top 3 most common challenges, and how we approach them:
1. Bad or messy pixel setup
Tracking pixels have evolved and improved over the years, and they will need replacing or updating from time to time. If you want to start using a new advertising platform such as Snapchat, you also often have to add yet another tracking pixel. Sometimes, businesses have not done their homework and ended up with old pixels on their page, missing parameters or duplicate pixels from multiple ad accounts. They sometimes also cram their source code full of different pixels. This can cause issues to tracking, and worst case make your website load very slowly.
Use Google Tag Manager. This tool allows you to quickly add and remove pixels on all relevant pages, as well as troubleshoot any issues. The Tag Manager container replaces all separate pixels, and therefore takes up less space in the source code, decreasing risk of slow load time.
2. No access to booking system
In an ideal world, booking systems keep the customers on the same domain, and you will have insight throughout the customer journey. Some businesses have for various reasons chosen to use a third party tool for their businesses. Developing your own booking or check-out process can be pricey, and it's understandable some want to use existing tools instead. Some tools are tracing pixel compatible, such as Shopify and Woocommerce, but many other booking systems unfortunately lack possibilities for adding tracking pixels and tracking the customer journey. This is negative for social campaigns as you lack insight into ROI and conversion rates which both are important information.
First, check with the third party provider what opportunities they have for adding tracking pixels. You may be lucky and able to add everything as normal. Try to track as much as possible of the customer journey before the customer disappears from the site, up until the last button click. Also, check if you can add UTM codes throughout the purchase process. We recommend having a close dialogue with the third party tool, and ask them for updates to tracking possibilities. If the tracking possibilities are really limited, you may be better off choosing a different provider or investing in your own booking system in the future.
3. No separate pages for conversion
This may sound a bit tricky, but sometimes businesses do not have separate landing pages for conversions. They may just have a text box, or just a link directly to an email or phone number. Imagine on the same page you would like a customer to send an email and purchase a course with just a confirmation message appearing after purchasing. None of these actions would send people to another URL, such as a thank you page, which standard tracking pixels require. The same problem can arise if you have a pop-up instead of a new URL after a completed action.
In this case, custom events in Tag Manager is your friend. Custom events and triggers allow you to track multiple conversions to a page and can also be implemented in your Facebook conversion campaigns. This process is not perfect, and you will need to have a good structure and pay close attention to your tracking. Also, having multiple purposes for one landing page may not benefit SEO or conversion pixels trying to optimize your ads for that page. In other words, you will often be better off splitting up your conversions to multiple landing pages, but should you still like to keep everything on one page, we recommend getting familiar with custom events.
These are some of the most common challenges we face on a daily basis. We hope you can learn from our experience and do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.
Thanks for reading!