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Navigating the arcane world of Tracking Validation...

The author

Eric Dumain

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Published on

09-10-2023

5 minutes

Navigating the arcane world of Tracking Validation...

Or how to minimize the impact of tag validation on Time To Market

No time? Read the short version of this article!

Contents :

I) A Strategic Approach to Tag Validation
II) The tag validation process
III) Choosing the right solution to secure the tag validation process.
IV) Tagging strategy & validation: Data On Duty ticks all the boxes.

At a time when digital has become crucial for businesses, developing a commercial website is just the beginning. Maintaining it, keeping it running smoothly, and delivering an excellent user experience is an ongoing process involving many factors. 

One of these is essential: validation of tracking, in other words, of the tags deployed on the site and its related environments, including of course traffic acquisition.

Tags are bits of code integrated into the website, responsible for collecting data dedicated to traffic analysis and understanding, optimization, personalization, conversion (...) This may concern the number of users who have visited a page, or the items a customer has added to their shopping cart. Tags help analysts obtain valuable data on user behavior, providing information that can guide decisions. In short, tags collect data that can be used to make tactical and/or strategic decisions for short-term use.

However, the more tags a website has, the more complex it becomes to manage and validate them. This could potentially slow down the website development process, lengthening Time to Market (TTM). This also applies to tag migration processes, in particular when it's necessary to add granularity to existing tagging plans, or business, product or regional specificities, etc....

Balancing the speed of tracking validation and the quality of the data collected becomes a real challenge in constantly evolving digital environments: new landing pages, campaigns, new production launches, etc... 

So maximizing tracking validation while minimizing its impact on TTM will offer a decisive competitive advantage.

I) A Strategic Approach to Tag Validation

Effective management of the tag validation process can have a significant impact on Time to Market and data quality for your digital environments. By implementing automation tools, adhering to consistent tagging standards, leveraging CI/CD (Continuous Integration and Deployment) practices, and prioritizing training and knowledge sharing, you can optimize this process and make it an integral part of the smooth running of your website, rather than a bottleneck. Aligning the stakes of all contributors is a prerequisite for tracking success (Business Owners, Digital Analysts, Digital Performance Managers, Traffic Acquisition, Privacy Managers, IT...).

It's important to note that, while speed is paramount, it shouldn't come at the expense of quality. A well-managed tag validation process helps ensure data integrity, accurate analytics and regulatory compliance (RGPD, CCPA...), all of which are essential to the long-term success of a website or eCommerce site. It's all about striking the right balance: delivering high-quality digital products quickly to market, enabling us to meet users' needs and stay ahead of the competition.

As digital methods and practices continue to evolve, it will become increasingly important to find effective ways of managing and validating tags. In a data-driven world, good tagging practices aren't just about technical correctness; they're about unlocking information crucial to the success of your online business and your company.

So, as you work to minimize the impact of tag validation on Time to Market, remember: it's not just about speed. It's about delivering a website that meets user expectations, complies with data protection standards and provides the information you need to continuously improve and grow.

II) The tag validation process

As we've seen, validating tracking - i.e., the tags and the data they collect - is a critical process that ensures that all tags are correctly formatted, deployed, active and working as intended. Here are a few essential best practices to minimize the impact of tag validation on TTM.

1. Automated validation tools : using automated tools to validate tags can save a phenomenal amount of time. However, not all validation tools are created equal. Some are basic, while others are technical, and some are business-oriented. This type of tool must operate in "by design" mode, i.e. at every stage of the tracking implementation: tagging plan, tag configuration, deployment and validation, from pre-production environments through to operation.

2. Consistent tagging standards: ensure that all your contributors use the same set of tagging standards and practices. This reduces the number of tagging errors and inconsistencies, thus reducing the time needed to validate tags. This is part of the alignment concepts mentioned above.

3. Continuous Integration and Deployment (CI/CD ): implement CI/CD in your development process. These practices enable developers to integrate changes more frequently, detect errors early and deploy code to production more quickly. Tools such as Jenkins or CircleCI can automate these processes.

4. Tag Management Systems (TMS): a TMS such as Google Tag Manager, Tealium, Adobe Launch or TagCommander can simplify the tag management process, especially for larger websites with many tags. This can help speed up the process of adding and updating tags. Beware, however, of the limitations of TMSs, which are neither tag plan management nor tag validation solutions, and which have no means of monitoring or self-control.

5. Training and knowledge sharing: make sure your developers are well trained and familiar with best practices in tagging. A good understanding of these practices will help avoid errors and speed up the validation process. Here again, it's a question of upstream team alignment, which is all too often neglected.

6. Involve Upstream Testing: involve your QA team upstream, right from the start of the development process. This allows tags to be checked and validated as they are created, rather than waiting until the end of the development process. The earlier this process is activated, the better the quality of the production release. Maintenance time and effort are also drastically reduced.

7. Iterative development: implement an iterative development methodology, where features are developed, tested and deployed in small steps, enabling tagging errors to be identified and corrected more quickly.

8. Pre-production environment testing: test tags in a pre-production environment before going into production. This helps identify potential problems before they affect end-users and cause delays.

9. Code reviews: code reviews can also help identify tag errors or problems before they become an obstacle, reducing the time needed for formal tag validation. Implementing these strategies can help streamline your tag validation process and reduce its impact on your Time To Market.

For each of these stages, a centralized tagging validation platform will be a decisive success factor, setting all processes in a virtuous circle.

III) Choose the right solution to secure the Tag Validation process.

When evaluating any new tool or platform, here are some general factors to consider.

1. Functionality: Does the tool have the functionality you need? Can it validate and monitor tags according to your requirements?

2. Integration: Can the tool integrate with your existing platforms and tools? Is it compatible with your various technologies?

3. Usability: is the tool easy to use? Will your team be able to use it effectively without a steep learning curve?

4. Support: does the company behind the tool offer good customer support? Can they help you solve any problems?

5. Pricing: is the tool reasonably priced for your budget? Does its pricing structure correspond to your use and needs?

6. Opinions: what do other users say about the tool? Are reviews and testimonials generally positive?

Data On Duty responds positively to each of these 6 points, making it the best platform on the market when it comes to TTM (Time To Market) and ROI (Return on Investment) based on clear metrics and feedback, right from the first month of production.

IV) Tagging strategy & validation: Data On Duty ticks all the boxes.

Data On Duty automates all validation and monitoring processes for tags and MarTechs, whatever the complexity of your Web environments, with no coding, no extensions, no cookies, no tags, and just a few clicks. Data On Duty provides insight into your data collection processes, giving you the tracking you need to collect the right data for effective decision-making. 

In fact, in order to industrialize and automate tracking validation processes as much as possible, the Data On Duty platform goes much further, and here's how it can help you:

1. Tagging plans repository : Data On Duty offers a centralized repository for tagging plans, datalayer, variable tags and data. It is shared between all contributors (business owners, digital analysts, IT, digital marketing, digital performance managers, data analysts, data protection managers). This ensures that everyone is aligned and working together. As a result, the validation process is simplified and much faster, accelerating Time To Market.

2. Tagging Plan Studio: Data On Duty offers a highly industrialized and automated "Tagging Plan Studio" that facilitates the creation of tagging plans in just a few clicks, and makes them applicable to several brands, locations, domain names (...) at the same time. It can even reverse-engineer any tagging plan to speed up the creation and validation process, and thus the TTM.

3. Automatic validation: Data On Duty fully automates the tag validation process, freeing your team to concentrate on other tasks.

4. Data Quality Assurance: Data On Duty guarantees that the data collected is accurate and reliable, improving the quality of your data-driven decision-making.

5. Self-correcting user paths: Data On Duty secures the efficiency and persistence of tag validation within user journeys without the need for an external application, extension or coding.

6. Monitoring and reporting : Data On Duty not only validates tags, it also continuously monitors them for potential problems. It provides detailed reports to help you understand your tags' performance.

7. Alerts and Notifications: Data On Duty alerts you in real time to critical errors or regressions, or in a time-based sequence for less critical topics, to avoid generating pollution in your mailbox or Slack channel. 

8. RGPD and CCPA compliance : Data On Duty verifies that your tracking is compliant with privacy regulations such as RGPD and CCPA, which is now a major concern for any business.

9. Ultra-fast setup: The high level of integration, automation and "intelligence" of the Data On Duty platform means that what used to take weeks or months with older market solutions can be achieved in a matter of hours or days. Here again, the challenge of accelerating Time To Market is decisive. 

10. Activate me and forget me: Data On Duty's monitoring, alerting and reporting systems mean you don't have to spend time on reports. Results are pre-populated and pre-filtered, so you can concentrate on the essentials. And alert notifications send you straight to the problem area. Again, a major time-saver.

If a tag validation tool doesn't meet each of these 10 points as far as automation and an industrial, non-coding approach are concerned, there's a good chance that it will generate more work than it will accelerate your Time To Market. Spending weeks or months fine-tuning rules in a testing tool makes no sense when speed is at stake.

The Data On Duty SaaS platform has been built with the most modern, flexible and high-performance methods, solutions and technologies, based on the expectations and recommendations of a hundred digital and digital analytics experts who share 4 priority challenges: 

  • Maximum tracking flexibility, 
  • Tracking performance, efficiency and compliance, 
  • Uncompromising data quality,
  • Accelerated Time To Market.

With Data On Duty...

  • Unleash the full potential of your web environments with seamless, automated end-to-end tag validation.
  • Ensure a superior user experience while optimizing functionality.
  • Accelerate TTM up to 90%.
  • Proven ROI from the very first month of operation.
  • Get ahead of the competition.

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