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Data and Tagging Audits: What Are They and Why Would I Need One?

Darko May 29, 2019


Starting with the ‘Why’ Rather Than the ‘What’

The most common question I get asked by companies I meet is, “I’m already running several successful campaigns, why should I spend money on an audit of any kind?”

The answer is simple – you probably don’t need to do anything if you are happy with your results and sales/bookings/leads are good.

However, if you’re looking to grow or you want to look for greater efficiency in your spend, or even if you want to cut back on spend but retain your current level of sales, an audit can help you sort data in a way that makes it straightforward to identify your best performing channels and campaigns.

Crucially, an audit can also tell you which channels or campaigns assist your best performers – something that isn’t always apparent when everybody’s focused on grinding away to hit KPI’s week in, week out!

What Does a Data Audit Involve?

We first look at how all your various channels are measured, not just in terms of the KPI’s like sales, but all along the sales funnel. This ensures you’re able to compare the different channels and campaigns in a like-for-like manner, and helps reveal where gaps in your current measurement could lead to greater spend efficiency / more upsell & cross sell / better attribution and understanding of how each channel contributes to your KPIs:

  • Is each channel using the same KPIs? If not, why is that?
  • Can you quickly and accurately de-dupe your conversions to establish each channel’s true worth to your business?
  • When deciding on your annual budgets, do you know where each channel’s spend starts to plateau on ROI/reach/other goals?
  • Could you shift marketing spend to another/new channel and be able to assess the success of that channel easily and quickly against existing campaigns?
  • Are you hitting the same users each campaign cycle, just in different channels, or are you able to exclude them in certain channels to avoid saturating them with your messaging?
  • Are you able to take users on a journey, showing them relevant, evolving messaging along the campaign, and across the various channels, to really drive home your companies USP and brand values?

An audit will give you a holistic view of all your current channels and KPIs, and let you look at your medium to long term goals and ambitions digitally. You’ll know what you are doing well now and what you need to change/improve/leave alone in order to hit your goals in the future.

Examples of Questions a Data Audit Can Help Answer

Even when your business is running fine, there are many areas where a data audit can uncover to help organisations do things even smarter and more efficiently.

Let’s say your company runs a successful online eCommerce portal – orders are healthy, stock levels are updated on the site in real-time and the packing/shipping system works smoothly. The board agrees that the next major internal milestone is growing from 20 orders a day to 50, and you want to add custom printing to your products for corporate events to broaden your range and allow you to gain some economies of scale with your suppliers.

  • You could just increase spend on Google and Facebook, and maybe that would increase orders, but would the cost per order increase to a level where that’s less efficient?
  • How do you target those businesses effectively in the first place? LinkedIn? Email lists bought from a lead gen company? Cold calling? Mailouts with QR codes or unique URLs?
  • How do you measure the longer lead time for a custom order effectively? Someone buying for an event is probably going to research more and compare offerings – how do you know where they are in the purchase cycle and how can you retain their interest along that longer cycle using all the different media channels, so you get that business?

An audit helps you with all the points mentioned above and more, because it ensures your reporting and optimisation abilities are focused on verifiable, actionable data that is measured consistently across all your channels.

Our Overall Objective for Your Business

An audit’s goal is to engage with your business and help you understand the new challenges facing you and apply the years of experience we have in resolving those challenges directly to your business.

Once we have the lay of the land mapped out, we take a deep dive into your current reporting requirements – what’s is reported, how long it takes to compile those reports and produce actionable insights, and how those actions are tracked (if they are) in the medium to long term so you can take a long view on actions and plan strategically, rather than working reactively.

Discovering New Ways to Provide Customer Insight

Let’s look at another example where your ecommerce store has a click and collect option. This is a useful data point to help understand the buying patterns of your users, so we would look at if you are already capturing this action, and what insights we could possibly take from it, based on the data available in your existing systems and potential new/richer data from adding variables to the data point:

  • Do customers like to pick up orders before/during/after work?
  • Could you retarget users who usually click and collect and persuade them to purchase more frequently / increase their basket value by showing them ads for offers when they are local to your store(s)?
  • Should you exclude these customers from “free shipping” type deals in your messaging as they prefer to collect or do they only collect when shown messaging in certain channels?

Knowing this about your customers in this example will allow you to make some positive changes to your business based on the data you’ve already got, or data you don’t yet have that you can start measuring. Quite often, we don’t realise how useful this is until we go through the process!

Once the Audit is Done…

Once we have full understanding of your current processes, we analyse everything to define key areas of excellence, areas of improvement and missed opportunities. These will be further graded into Critical, Essential and Nice-to-Haves, so that you can work within your current resourcing restrictions to improve matters (after all, we’re dealing with the real world here, where resources are never as plentiful as we’d like!).

When the audit report is complete, we will present it to you and then work with you and your teams during a series of workshops, so they are all properly briefed and understand that we’re working with you and them to achieve better results for less manual work.

We also offer “top-up” audits – carried out at 3/6 month intervals after the original implementation to help support the new changes, and check in with the teams to help smooth out those critical few months of new process where teams are adjusting to the new ways of working. We check in on how the teams are going with the less critical changes, and help teams onboard those outstanding tasks – too often the smaller stuff is delayed/de-prioritised after the initial changes have been made due to focus being shifted back to the day-to-day. Slowly, over time, those final few changes that can have a big effect on the strategy overall could end up falling by the wayside, which is one of the best uses of a top-up audit, especially when there’s any change of personnel working on a project.

In this regard, top-ups can help get new staff on-boarded and working efficiently quickly – knowing the background of a project often helps avoid having new staff/middle management come in and change things because they don’t understand or aren’t aware there’s existing processes. This can then save on having to re-audit in a couple of years as the project never got completed and the full potential of the digital business doesn’t get realised.

Data Audits in Summary

Data audits help you understand and maximise your current marketing activity using the signals you already have (or could easily start having), and help you understand what you might need to change to push your efforts to the next level and beyond.

In addition to the audit itself, we offer several different levels of post-audit support & follow up, from periodic check ins through to to fully managed efforts that sit with your team(s) during any transition/changes to existing processes, and help bed in any new processes and implementations that might be needed. Get in touch with us if you’d like to chat about what we can help you with.

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