Enhancing Data Observability with Trackingplan and Google Tag Manager

Data Governance
Mariona Martí
25/8/2023

Collecting high-quality data is not an easy task. Quite the opposite, analytics implementations are especially prone to bugs and breakages, integrations fail easily and invisibly, and with so many teams involved in the data collection process, you may not even realize until valuable data and critical conversion opportunities have already slipped through the cracks. Yet, considering that data exploitation can only be successful if the data is sound, in today’s article we are going to explore what Trackingplan is and how it seamlessly works with Google Tag Manager to deliver cross-service insights from day one across product, business, and marketing people.

Table of Contents

Data Observability: A Complex Landscape

Implementing reliable analytics and keeping it bug-free is a challenging engineering problem to solve. In-house analytics systems require a lot of work, infrastructure, maintenance needs, and dedicated data teams.

And, while in the market there are Tag-oriented data validation tools that validate the presence of the tags included on each site, these tools don’t understand the data in the payloads at event level. That is why they can’t work from the product manager or the developer's perspective, check if event traffic is collected correctly or changed over time, or create alerts based on the actual semantics of the integrations they support. Moreover, in some cases, setup can take between weeks and months.

On the other hand, Customer Data Platforms allow you to track specific events that happen on your websites or apps. Yet, these tools often center on Product Managers only, and while technical skills become necessary for doing the most simple things, these don’t offer debugging capabilities. Migration takes months for scale-ups and enterprises and usually forces you to change how you code your analytics, making the process expensive as you need to pass all your data through them so that they can process it. Unfortunately, this means that IT will have a lot of work to do before you can start using the CDP.

Finally, the emergence of ‘Next Generation’ Product Analytics Governance tools can help ensure developers follow product analytics specs defined by PMs but, again, some of them force you to change how you code your analytics, migrations can take months, and marketing and sales integrations are not supported.

Observability tools in perspective
Observability tools in perspective

The Trackingplan’s Difference

Unlike other SaaS with setups that take between weeks and months or even force you to change how you code your analytics, Trackingplan is installed in minutes, doesn’t require technical skills to set up or use, and actually observes all the customer data, no matter its nature.

Minutes instead of months. No company disruption

Trackingplan can be installed by anyone that has access to Google Tag Manager or can include a script or SDK in a website or app while allowing all teams involved in the data collection process to keep working as they used to.

All integrations out of the box

Trackingplan starts listening to all the data your sites and apps are already sending to your third-party integrations, whether they’re analytics, marketing automations, pixels, or campaigns right after its installation.

What’s more, since our backend understands what each piece of data means, we can identify patterns, detect anomalies, and automatically connect dots to create value from data that was hidden in plain sight.

That is why you can have access to your data in seconds instead of months, and that is also why we support any provider and we seamlessly integrate with your current analytics stack, including the ones that don't have an API or even your in-house analytics systems.

Why using Trackingplan?

Trackingplan is a fully automated data QA and observability solution for your digital analytics created to ensure your data always arrives to your specifications by creating a single source of truth where all teams involved in first-party data collection can collaborate, automatically receive notifications when things change or break, and easily debug any problem by being provided with the root cause of the issues affecting your data quality.

Moreover, Trackingplan’s fully automated digital analytics QA solution has been designed to ensure the quality of your data at every stage by spotting bugs in your test cases before going into production (and without changing your current tests). That way, you can avoid compromising your data by catching errors before they break your digital analytics.

Here are some of the benefits of using Trackingplan.

Automatically discover and document all the data you’re collecting

Online businesses rely on several external services to do analytics, product development, marketing automation, or sales. The result? Data about interactions, profiles, and campaigns are siloed and scattered across different SaaS repositories. Trackingplan solves that by creating a single source of truth about the status of your digital analytics to ensure all teams are on the same page.

Get rid of outdated spreadsheets

Trackingplan provides a roadmap for every member involved in the data collection process to ensure the data of your digital analytics, acquisition, pixels, and campaigns are accurately collected, responsibly managed, and integrated efficiently across teams and platforms. This removes the need to create and maintain various spreadsheets that constantly get outdated.

Automatically detect problems and see the root causes to debug them efficiently

Trackingplan spots problems for you and automatically alerts you whenever things break or change – from missing events or properties to unexpected data fluctuations, traffic anomalies, schema problems, rogue events, validation errors, and naming inconsistencies. That way, you can ensure your data always arrives according to your specifications, and receive meaningful contextual information about where and why any of your errors happened in order to quickly debug any issue in record time.

QA your analytics

Trackingplan provides a fully automated QA solution that empowers companies with accurate and reliable digital analytics. Our end-to-end coverage helps you prevent your test executions from breaking your analytics before going into production by automatically showing you the regressions found between them and their baseline.

Google Tag Manager & Trackingplan

If you use Google Tag Manager, you can install Trackingplan without accessing your site's code. Simply login to Google Tag Manager and create a new tag inside the container connected to your website by hovering over the Tag Configuration box and clicking on the gray pencil icon.

Installing Trackingplan in GTM

In the Tag Configuration box, select Custom HTML Tag when choosing the tag type.

Installing Trackingplan in GTM

It’s time to configure your tag. For it, copy and paste your Trackingplan snippet into the HTML text box. If you still don’t have it, you can retrieve it after creating a Trackingplan account.

Installing Trackingplan in GTM

After that, you’ll just need to click on Advanced Settings and set Tag firing Priority to 1000 and Tag Firing Options to Once per page to ensure Trackingplan can see events that trigger once the page has loaded.

Installing Trackingplan in GTM

For the best results, select All Pages while navigating to the Triggering box.

Installing Trackingplan in GTM
Installing Trackingplan in GTM

All done! From that moment on, Trackingplan will automatically start discovering and documenting all the traffic you’re sending to all your integrations. It’s your time to sit back as we automatically create your dashboard. We will send you a message once we have collected enough data.

Why Google Tag Manager?

Google Tag Manager is a free tool provided by Google that allows website owners to manage and deploy marketing and analytics tags (snippets of code) on their websites without the need for technical expertise or assistance from a developer.

With Google Tag Manager, users can easily add and update tags for various marketing and analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, AdWords, and Facebook Pixel, among others. This tool also allows users to set up triggers and variables to control when and where tags are fired on their website, providing greater flexibility and control over their tracking and marketing efforts.

In this sense, Google Tag Manager simplifies the process of managing tags on a website, reducing the risk of errors and improving website performance. It also provides valuable insights into user behavior and website performance, allowing website owners to make data-driven decisions to improve their online presence.

Conclusion

The pursuit of high-quality data in the world of digital analytics is a challenging endeavor, often plagued by bugs, integration issues, and data fragmentation across teams and platforms. While traditional tag-oriented data validation tools, customer data platforms, and next-generation product analytics governance tools have their advantages, they also come with limitations and potential disruptions.

Trackingplan, in conjunction with Google Tag Manager, offers a robust solution to the complex challenges of data observability, ensuring that businesses leverage the power of their data effectively and ultimately putting customers in charge of their entire analytics lifecycle.

Get started today to bridge the trust gap in your data or contact our team for more information about our capabilities.

Getting started is simple

In our easy onboarding process, install Trackingplan on your websites and apps, and sit back while we automatically create your dashboard

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