Data is the cornerstone of strategic marketing, so it is important that it is accessible, accurate and comprehensive. To that end, work is being done to standardize the way we format, collect and analyze data across the enterprise.
The benefits of a standardized approach to data and analytics include:
- Data that is consistent and dependable.
- Adaptability in the face of evolving privacy standards.
- Adherence to industry best practices.
- The opportunity for shared learnings across the enterprise.
The backbone of our enterprise data and analytics is the Google Marketing Platform. These interconnected platforms allow for comprehensive tracking and reporting of your website, its visitors and key business objectives for your unit.
Data and analytics resources
Below are some of the key tools used for online data and analytics.
Analytics is a tool in the Google Marketing Platform that captures site traffic, audience behavior, conversions and more.
Google Search Console
Search Console is a suite of tools and reports relating to your website and its performance within Google search.
The following standards are set forth to meet ASU Enterprise best practices and are designed to assist web standards:
- Meet legal and regulatory requirements.
- Build on the foundation of the ASU Charter to assume fundamental responsibility for the community, focus on inclusion and learner success.
Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics requirements
- All hostnames under asu.edu are to implement the ASU Enterprise Google Tag Manager container or implement a business-unit level Google Tag Manager container containing required enterprise standards. Required GTM standards assist to ensure proper data handling, data consistency and standardization.
- All hostnames under asu.edu are to implement the Enterprise Google Analytics unless approved by the Web Standards Governance Board.
- Google Analytics is to be deployed via Google Tag Manager.
- The GTM Container ID for the ASU Enterprise is: GTM-KDWN8Z
- The Enterprise Google Analytics products required to be implemented include:
- Universal Analytics
- This product is what ASU has been utilizing since 2014 and backed up in the ASU enterprise Google Cloud Platform BigQuery data warehouse since 2016. Universal Analytics provides historical data across the enterprise.
- Property ID of the Enterprise Universal Analytics to be used for implementation: UA-42798992-4
- ASU implemented this new Google Analytics product in the fall of the calendar year 2020. GA4 provides a completely different data schema and enhanced data handling capabilities for a privacy-first world. It also enables multiple data streams across device types (e.g., web and mobile app) to be joined into a single data set.
- Datastream ID for the Enterprise GA4 to be used for implementation: G-TEHJR60KD9
Advertising platform and other third-party scripts and pixels
All advertising tagging scripts and pixels (ex: Facebook Ads Pixel, Linkedin Insights, Google Ads, etc.) are to be deployed via Google Tag Manager.
- Understanding the data necessary to accomplish approved business objectives is critical to ensure not providing more than required data to third parties.
- Before data is streamed to third parties, a responsible effort to understand why ASU systems leveraging first-party data are not able to meet business needs must be performed and risk(s) assumed by the requesting business unit.
- All efforts to send data outside the ASU ecosystem must be reviewed by the ET Internal Security Office with designated risk levels being approved and assumed by the requesting business unit leadership. When in doubt, perform a security review.
URL query parameters
The image below shows a breakdown of the anatomy of a URL:
- Query parameters are one way information is passed between web pages. It promotes understanding if digital engagement is the result of email communications, organic search or other engagement methods.
- Internal links (links that direct a user to another ASU-managed web asset, example: asu.edu to admission.asu.edu) are to not include the following UTM parameters on the URL:
Following this will persist correct session-level traffic attribution.
- A frequent scenario for when URLs are erroneously placed between two internal pages is built on a good intention to know how effective one page is at sending a web user to another page. Although using UTM parameters accomplishes this, it breaks session-level traffic attribution. Journeys between pages can be best understood via prebuilt solutions leveraging Google Analytics products.
- External links (links from non-ASU-managed assets directing to an ASU-managed asset, example: email communications to asu.edu) are to have UTM parameters.
- Utilizing UTM query parameters is an effective way to understand the source of incoming traffic. Understanding the source of incoming traffic is the first step to understand the efficacy of outreach efforts and the foundation of identifying the return on engagement efforts.
- UTM standards and nomenclature include the following:
- utm_source: This is freeform text to allow flexibility for individual users. Please type the name of the platform, website or network where the content is trafficked. (ex: Facebook, Pandora, Google, Tradedesk, Twitter, etc.)
- utm_medium: This is NOT freeform. This is a picklist. Although channels vary like Salesforce Marketing Cloud versus SendGrid or Facebook versus LinkedIn, those four sources are email and social sources. Picklist items currently include:
- email — originates from an email service provider.
- social_paid — originates from paid special media campaigns.
- social_owned — originates from non-paid, ASU posted social media.
- social_share — embedded URL for shared content on asu.edu pages shared to various platforms.
- social_comms — originates from shared links within social media conversations.
- native — originates from native marketing campaigns (e.g., Outbrain).
- cpc — originates from cost-per-click campaigns, primarily search engine marketing.
- backlink_paid — Originates from a web publisher placing ASU content on their website/platform with a link back to ASU.
- display — originates from paid display campaigns (ex: Google Display Network, Tradedesk, etc).
- discovery — originates from discovery-type campaigns (ex: Google Ads discovery ads).
- video_owned — Originates from video campaigns that are not promoted via paid ads (ex: YouTube).
video_paid — Originates from video ad campaigns (ex: YouTube Ads)
- radio_online — originates from streaming audio and radio platforms.
- radio_offline — originates from redirects from URL shorteners when shorter URLs are references in offline radio media.
- outdoor — originates from URL shorteners for traditional and outdoor media (e.g., billboards if using redirected URL shorteners).
- ppl - Pay-per-lead aggregators (ex: highereducation.com).
- print — Originates from URL shorteners for print media (e.g., flyers or postcard QR codes if using redirected URL shorteners).
- mobile_push — originates from mobile push notifications.
- sms — originates from mobile SMS communications.
- utm_campaign: Campaign name is freeform text. Campaign name should match the campaign in the channel you are using (ex: name of the campaign in Google Ads or Facebook Ads, etc.).
- utm_content: This is freeform text. Please name to easily understand the basic content of where the user clicked from.
- In addition to the standard utm_source, utm_medium, utm_campaign, utm_content and utm_term URL query parameters, there are additional query parameters that may be relevant to append in a given situation. Many of these query parameters are used to enrich Google Analytics data by appending GA data with additional data dimensions.
- Custom dimensions (Universal Analytics) or event/user parameters (GA4) within Google Analytics are net-new dimensions added to Google Analytics. Each new dimension has an associated index. For example, if a user wanted to add ‘EMPLID’ as a dimension in Universal Analytics and it was the first custom dimension configured, it would have a custom dimension (cd) index of 1, or cd1. If another ASU business unit already implemented 5 other custom dimensions before learning of the opportunity to include EMPLID and they then create a custom dimension for EMPLID, the custom dimension index would be 6 for that business unit, or cd6. To ensure consistency and normalization across business unit reporting, when leveraging fields that are to be mapped to Google Analytics, we reference the enterprise GA custom dimension index. By doing so, two different business units with their own uniquely configured dimensions can pass correct data amongst the enterprise because they use a common definition, the Enterprise Custom Dimension Index.
- From the Enterprise Custom Dimension Index, if the area of interest was known from within the system sending the traffic, the structure of the URL would be as follows: www.asu.edu/?ecd26=[area_of_interest] or www.asu.edu/?ecd26=math as an example.
- Although Google uses ‘cd’ as the custom dimension syntax for sending data into Google Analytics, URL query parameters are to use ‘ecd’. The Enterprise GTM container and its standards properly transpose the value in expected incoming ecd query parameters and transpose it into the corresponding custom dimension index for the GA Property being populated. Using ‘ecd’ instead of ‘cd’ also helps GTM administrators know URL query parameters are aware of and following enterprise standards.
- Email communication is an effective method of engagement. URLs within most email service providers, like Salesforce Marketing Cloud, can automatically append predefined UTM query parameters. Because of this, there are standards for how Salesforce Marketing Cloud query parameters should be configured.
- Salesforce Marketing Cloud email link URL query parameter standards:
- utm_source: Concatenation between a consistent designation of the unit the email is from and ‘_sfmc’. The result may look like ‘pasuo_sfmc.’
utm_medium: This is not freeform and must be ‘email.’
utm_content: Freeform text.
utm_campaign: Freeform text.
ecd36: SFMC journey name.
ecd37: SFMC data extension.
ecd41: SFMC instance ID.
ecd42: SFMC business unit ID.
ecd43: email send date.
ecd73: SFMC subscriber ID.
- In addition, most SFMC instances connected with SF SalesCloud will be able to pass the Salesforce Contact ID. Because Salesforce Contact IDs are unique to each Salesforce SalesCloud instance, there is not a global custom dimension that houses all Contact IDs. Because of this, there are dedicated custom dimension indexes for SFMC instances that are using automated UTM configurations to some extent. These include:
- EdPlus Salesforce Contact ID (ecd5).
- Enterprise Salesforce Contact ID (ecd40).
- ADV Salesforce Contact ID (ecd44)..
If you are part of a SalesCloud instance not represented here, please consult the Web Standards Governance Board to make the necessary provisions to include your instance.