How you go about designing & building your tracking plan depends on myriad factors; such as business goals & objectives, the technology stack underpinning your tracking plan, and how the various end users will need to leverage the same data for different requirements.
In the fast changing & always developing world of data analytics and data governance, it’s important to have a firm grasp on the fundamentals & basic concepts of user triggered event data. If you are relatively new to the topic of tracking plans, have a read of ‘What is a Tracking Plan’ & ‘The Life of a Tracking Plan’ for more context and understanding.
Business Goals & Objectives
The obvious factor in defining the specifics of your tracking plan will inherently be determined by the kind of business you are running. The type of user triggered events & associated properties can be broadly categorised by the different entities that make up a user journey. Think of an e-Commerce business that deals primarily with the association between users & transactions; or a social media platform that tracks the association between users & interactions.
This may appear quite simple at first, but think further to the different types of e-Commerce business models. A C2C marketplace and a B2B website - these will have 2 distinctly different user journeys with different aspects being of more relevance than others. As an example, think of the differing communications the marketing team may want to implement during the lifecycle of a transaction for these 2 user journeys. The events and event properties will be very different for each of these use cases, it is therefore important to be as specific as possible when planning out your tracking plans.
At Trackplan we are working to provide templates and catalogues that provide a starting point for a multitude of specific tracking plans.
When thinking about data structure and tracking, possibly the biggest challenge, is understanding how a variety of different tools work together to best enable you to achieve your business goals & objectives. With hundreds of providers in each category of the ecosystem, (broadly broken down here into 3 categories with examples); you need an almost savant-like ability to understand the minutiae of how they all work together and really connect to solve your business goals. CDP (customer data platforms) - Segment, Tealium, mParticle CAP (customer analytics platforms) - Amplitude, Mixpanel, Google Analytics CEP (customer engagement platforms) - Braze, Leanplum, Customer.io
Take an e-Commerce example once again where you might be using Segment to push event data into Braze to enable your marketing team to run automations to convert users. Both Segment & Braze have their own opinions on how data should be organised, structured and accessed by the end user. Segment will suggest using 'data type = array' in your event property setup, however Braze will not support this in some of it’s event structure & you will not be able to connect your data as expected. There are also limitations as to how you can segment users by specific event properties in Braze that will require a different approach to data planning & setup in Segment.
In short, using a platform agnostic tool like Trackplan to build your tracking plans will save you massive amounts of time and money down the line. Something to strongly consider at the very beginning of your data journey.
At the end of the data funnel are your users; those that will now execute on this data to drive business growth. Whether this be in the realms of analytics, marketing, product development & design or engineering - these are all now underpinned and driven by data. These teams may now have different objectives or goals to achieve but needing to use the same data.
Referring again to the example above, imagine a use case of a simple event called ‘Order Completed’ with a property ‘first_order’. In this scenario the marketing team wants to build a segment of users who have not yet placed a first order, but are unable to look back more than 30 days due to limitations within the customer engagement platform. They may require a new event called ‘First Order Completed’ to answer their use case; whilst the event with the property would be sufficient for the analytics team to achieve their objectives.
It becomes vital to include all teams in the data planning process, and to do so with a platform agnostic tool that will become a source of truth at an organisation level, rather than per team or department.
Understanding data is no longer only the role of an analytics team; all departments across an organisation now need at least a basic understanding of how data is used to enable their job. Start data planning with your goals & objectives in mind. Map out the use cases in as much detail as possible. Choose carefully regarding your ecosystem of platforms & tools. Collaborate across the organisation when planning and building out your tracking plans & make sure it is done with a platform agnostic tool.