This is a guest post from Cleve Young at Starwood Hotels. It is a first look at how practitioners and managers can benefit from the management of dynamic variables in different ways.
A big THANK YOU! Cleve to contribute his time to create this post and share his experiences with us. Cleve’s Engineering Manager and implementation at Starwood hotels.
business today has a relentless pace – we expected to do more, faster and with fewer resources. It is amazing that the marketing and analysis teams are doing this most of the time. But more does not always mean better.
People often refer to time as one of the most valuable human products; Yet we struggle and race to compress time, often lose track of the true value of our time. But if you prefer a short wait time from the daily routine, you will realize more value than you ever thought possible.
Recently I was reading an interesting article, “A short lesson in perspective” in which the author discussed the “test overnight” – meaning, the author sleeps on his ideas overnight and reflects on them the next day it made me think about how I conduct my current job -.. analysis implementation and integration of marketing technology I have often fallen in the night-test methodology enables critical thinking. But instead of using paper models, I use Adobe Dynamic Tag Management (DTM) as my sketchpad to test ideas and think things through.
needs followed are not always obvious (Sarcasm Ahead)
Many people -. including some analysts. – suppose the digital trace analysis requirements are simple and obvious, and in some cases this is true. However, most often, they quickly become complex. For example, say, business people want to know that the customers of the web page are connecting from. Sounds simple enough, right? Just fire a call when the user clicks on submit on the login form. But what happens when there is a technical error?
You must take into account this potential error, click-tracking so simple can not work. Then you realize that certain types of errors can cause different reactions of the page: page reload reload versus non-vs different destination page. If you move the pages after you get the error message, how are you going to follow the page originally tried? How will you know when a successful connection took place? Do you need a value transmitted by the server, or is it a frontend indicator?
And, of course, when the monitoring connection request hits your office, you know the next question will be about the connection errors. Since you are effective, you should take the opportunity to implement the tracking error along the tracking form.
Oh, and do not forget the different type form of potential errors that can trigger at different times. And, of course, once the information technology (IT) security team hears “all this monitoring,” they want to be informed and involved, as legitimate concerns exist regarding the codes of exposure error to the public (who knew?). So now the additional security restrictions offer a bit more complexity. Finally, remember that you need to be diligent about the volume server calls and do your best to piggyback on the call load regular pages.
The above scenario is a common monitoring application, simple. Now we will add a splash of cold water of reality: do not forget that the company needs this tracking information ASAP because the development has already started. And, it must be right the first time, or you may have to wait for the next build cycle to start 1-2 (or 6) months to make further adjustments. Add to this, executives who need to have reports for that just followed after it goes live. And to complicate things even further, you should always keep in mind how your boss likes really tell execs about how “We did not get quite right, so you have to wait a few months . for accurate reports “We all want to keep our jobs – salaries are useful! As a bonus, it would be nice to keep as even some of our mental health -. What is left of it, anyway
In the line of fire analysis of requests, we’re usually so busy scrambling to collect final specifications we rarely do the time to project test plans overnight. This is really just a matter of thinking about time – consciously and unconsciously. Remaining conscious of time allows you to reach deep thought and to establish additional connections, allowing a different perspective when looking at next. Call it what you want – intuition, insight, connection, gut feeling, reasoning, magic, cosmic consciousness. Nevertheless for you it is important, and so is followed with several projects. DTM has become my best friend for the implementation of work in the process of writing and thinking.
Think, Plan, and then go live – Do not Wait
With DTM in my toolbox, I am able to give developers basic instructions, use DTM quickly to sketch things with several approaches project, then apply the test overnight. If things still make sense the next day I can easily test different methods to see who is – and is not – working and better respond to unexpected user code or flow experiments. direct call rules are good examples; I find myself using most often for these exact reasons. I sometimes say the fire developers just a direct call rule, and I’ll take care of the rest. Few things you do faster friends with developers than telling them they should not implement Adobe Analytics tracking. In the past, I spent hours a day to write specifications for developers, test and retest their updates, write emails about the necessary settings (and generally re-explain how Adobe Analytics works) asking more settings, and repeating. With DTM, I can now avoid this setback with the development team and to use the time I save to conduct more strategic work and more comprehensive monitoring.
Think, Test, Test
This is another timesaver :. I can test the actual analysis of monitoring prior IT or development of frontend should never be involved. All monitoring applications are the new features or updates. Sometimes we just want to keep things that we have never had the chance to follow. Perhaps the question now was complex, and the analysis team has not had time to make round trips to development for implementation. As analysts, we all learned to avoid asking for regular adjustments to the tracking code rather because it makes you unpopular with this group.
Now I use DTM to experiment with things – entering different values, timing, using different combinations of eVars and events, recording values for later use in elements of data session, and a multitude of other things. Sometimes it can be more complex and require a higher level of programming skills; and often this involves scraping the data page, which is ideal for long term. But, remember that with the DTM, it is really your time to think -. Time in which you can experiment, review and discuss the results with the other
After a solid approach in place, you are better prepared to discuss the complete requirements with the development team. With DTM, you’ll only need your development team to take care of things limited – for example, put some data in a data layer or trigger a direct call rule or custom event – while you keep the possibility of after adjustments. This is worlds away from the old days of hardcoding monitoring, pleading for tweaks, and repeating the cycle after reviewing the results.
DTM offers flexibility in using rules based on events, page loading rules, rules of direct calls, and even data elements in creative combinations. For a more complex monitoring, I had a page load rule add an event handler to an item and had a developer trigger a direct appeal to rule on an event that lasted a data element to store a value for the session. Then I implemented a second loading pages that rule checking for variables that were established using the previous rules and populated Adobe Analytics variables. This level of complexity is not the norm, but the flexibility of the DTM opens up possibilities for you to imagine when your mind has time to reflect. Again, I returned to the concept of thinking time, or testing of the night.
The dynamic management of the label, by itself, is not a panacea – every system has quirks and limitations. You will not be totally eliminate the need for IT involvement in the analysis. But if you take the time to really learn the tool and understand how the parts work together, you will be surprised what you can do with it. You will have more time to think about complex issues (and more valuable) and explore options. Less time will be wasted running IT for updates or patches and wait accurate data to deliver. And, you can respond better to other business issues and to highlight the value you bring to your team and company. Over the past two years – during which I’ve been using DTM – I learned to use it to get a whole lot richer data for analysis and reporting, quality more consistent, more long-term flexibility, and less annoyed IT and project management people. And, just as important to me, it leads to less stress and more peace of mind. I like to have this time to think.