Speaker post: Andrew Bruce Smith
Over the coming weeks leading to #PRFest, the speakers will blog about their subject area, giving you a flavour of what to expect on the day. Andrew will be running sprints!
An increasing number of PR practitioners are seeking to benefit from tools such as Google Analytics to help gain deeper insight into the effectiveness of PR related activity. However, Google Analytics can be enhanced even further by two additional Google tools – Google Tag Manager (GTM) and Google Data Studio (GDS). Although perhaps not as widely known in PR circles, the combination of all three of these free Google solutions can provide the basis for a very powerful measurement and evaluation approach for PR and social media activity.
So what do Google Tag Manager and Google Data Studio bring to the party?
Google Tag Manager is a free tag management solution that allows tracking codes of all kinds to be more easily added to websites. Traditionally, adding this sort of code would need to be done by relevant web or IT personnel. This often meant delays in getting tracking added to sites. In recent times, this has been been compounded by PR and marketing professionals eager to add things such as Facebook and Twitter retargeting pixels or LinkedIn Insights tags to a site, but not being able to do so in a timely fashion. Google Tag Manager means that suitable oversight and control over code added to a site can be maintained, but gives non web/IT personnel the ability to add tracking codes as and when required. For example, with GTM, the LinkedIn Insights Tag can be added in less than a minute. Once installed, LinkedIn will begin sharing data on LinkedIn members visiting a site such as job title, company and location. The ability to track whether campaigns are driving the right type and kind of professional person is extremely helpful (and this is data that Google Analytics won’t be able to provide).
In short, if your organisation or your clients are not currently using Google Tag Manager, encourage them to do so. If you are not sure whether or not Google Tag Manager is installed, simply use Google’s free Tag Assistant extension for the Chrome browser to check.
Google Data Studio is a free tool that allows the easy creation of dashboards capable of pulling in information from a wide variety of data sources. Historically, this kind of software would be expensive and require significant resource to build and maintain. GDS provides a cost effective way of building powerful dashboards that provide actionable insight across a wide spectrum of PR and social media related activity. Although available for some years, GDS greatly expanded its capabilities at the end of 2017 when Google increased the range of data sources that could be used with the tool. For example, it is now perfectly possible to create a dashboard that can display information pulled from Google Analytics, Facebook Page Insights and Twitter all in one place. It simply requires access to the relevant data sources to be initialised. Once this is done, use the drag and drop dashboard builder to present the information for maximum impact. It is perfectly possible to build visually impressive and informationally rewarding dashboards very rapidly.
In summary, Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager & Google Data Studio in combination offer huge potential to build robust reporting approaches. The cost of the technology is no longer an issue. It is now simply a case of understanding how to set them up correctly and understand which elements are most suited to the specific requirements of the client or organisation concerned.