23 April 2019
If you work in the world of digital, you’ve probably heard an increasing use of the term ‘data layer’. Data layers make data collection more efficient and reliable, pulling all data in one place to make it easier to understand website usage and performance data.
Most analytics packages will collect some level of data as standard. However, using a data layer allows you to combine the information recorded by various tracking solutions that may be in place on a site (i.e. Google Analytics and a Facebook pixel).
Data layers can help you make informed decisions about your marketing activity in many ways, such as by collecting additional information to show the effectiveness of your marketing activity and how your customers are using your website. Today, we’ll take a look how data layers work and how you can build and implement one for your website.
Additional information that can be used to show the effectiveness of our marketing activity, properly understand our customers actions and base future decisions on is something we all crave. This guide will give you a complete understanding of how data layers work, how they can be used and how you can benefit from them.
To put it simply, a data layer is a list of all your business’ website requirements in formats that can be understood and interpreted by both your IT team and by your client.
The data layer acts as the single point of reference for the data that needs to be collected by your Tag Management System that then sends it out to any third-party technologies you already have implemented. In simpler terms, you can specify the exact information you want to collect about how your website is used by site visitors. The data layer then collates this information and sends it to other programmes which then package this data in ways that you can easily analyse.
Firstly, you’ll want to determine your KPIs. Once these are defined, you can then consider what kinds of data points you need to collect. With that determined, you can finally design your solution.
Creating a data layer will be different for each company, but any individual or team that has any requirement for the data, or those responsible for its design and implementation, should be involved. The teams who might have a vested interest include:
Beyond these initial teams, it’s a good idea to make sure that the wider business is at least aware of the plan so the opportunity for input is available to all.
Now that you have learned a bit about the basics of how to get your website’s data layer up and running, why not take a deeper dive with this guide to data layers?
Caitlin is an SEO Account Executive at Yard, a data-driven technical marketing agency based in Edinburgh and Cardiff.
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