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Ensuring data quality: human skills to stay up to speed 1/2

Have you ever driven a car with a faulty fuel gauge? The needle tells you the tank is full, but you’ve already driven 150 kilometres since last fill-up. At first, you might think you got a great deal – what a fuel-efficient car! But as the kilometres pass, doubt creeps in and your confidence in the gauge falters. If this gauge isn’t reliable, who’s to say that the odometer is? Or the speedometer? Web performance indicators face the same quality and reliability concerns. At the beginning of every data project (e.g. dashboarding, web analytics, DMPDMPDMPs (Data Management Platforms) are platforms that centralise and aggregate all data related to a brand's campaigns and customers. They can hold all kinds of data - online, offline, media, CRM, first-party, third-party... A DMP allows for the segmentation of audiences and the redistribution of data to other advertising platforms, to which it is connected. It aims at optimising client experience and advertising efficiency. Also note that DMPs generally exclude any media activation data that would make it possible to identify a specific individual (PII).Learn more), all players dream flawless data collection: comprehensive, precise, and sustainable.

But as the project evolves, these ideals are left behind as the focus turns to what’s essential: collecting reliable data, which will serve as the foundation for future analyses.

The idea here is not to write a book about the impact of erroneous data collection. The consequences are many, and affect each part of the project (financial impact, poor quality, deadline extensions). Though it is commonly accepted that it's better to invest early rather for quality data rather than fixing errors later, it remains useful to take a look at different ways to ensure data quality. There are two categories: human professional skills (which will be examined in this article), and tools and processes to implement (which will be examined in a later article).

First key skill: daring

One must be daring to collect good data – not to collect a larger amount of data, but to have the audacity to recognise what is relevant to the business.

Two filters can be applied to determine if a KPIKPIKey Performance Indicators (KPIs) refer to the main indicators that are used to assess the success of a given campaign, in line with the chosen strategy. The generated turnover and the number of pageviews are examples of KPIs. For relevant performance measurement, it is essential to limit the number of selected KPIs (up to a dozen). The challenge for advertisers is thus to assess which indicators are truly indispensable.Learn more is actually useful:

  • What is the alert threshold of this KPI? (the response should be a number)
  • What should be done if the threshold is crossed (above or below)? (the response should be an “action” and an “actor”)

Here is where you must be daring, because if one of these questions does not have a response, you must remove the KPI in question from the tagging plan as it does not serve any real purpose. It is for the good of your project and for the quality of your data, as it will allow you to focus on other KPIs (those with real value). Think of yourself as a winemaker, pruning the vines so that only the best grapes will reach maturity and be used in your wine.

Once your KPIs have been carefully selected, you must organise your team.

Second key skill: organisation

Beyond surface discussions, data collection projects are primarily used for business purposes, though they have important technical aspects. It is vital that the link between these two worlds remains strong, because KPI feasibility will depend on the technical environment and what tools are available: a given KPI would likely be difficult (or impossible) to collect from a mobile app, whereas it is natively recorded on a website.

In this context, the project leader must take the various teams into account every step of the way, and not just at the beginning or end.

  • If business stakes are forgotten, indicator relevance will suffer. Nothing is worse than sending a performance dashboard to someone that doesn’t actually need it.
  • If developers are isolated, metricsmetricsMetrics are quantitative measurement indicators that are used to assess campaign performance. The CPC and CPM, bounce rates, and the number of visits are examples of metrics.Learn more will be less reliable. Replacing a productSku with a productId could sink half a project if business teams needed granular data for their analyses.

Organisation is thus a must to make sure that everyone involved is on the same page. Checking results of KPI tests is a good example: this meeting is the opportunity to check in on technical aspects (integration of the dataLayer) which in turn helps teams to anticipate the impact implementations will have on KPIs and data quality in the interface. This is also when you decide whether KPIs should be kept in priority or thrown out, if the schedule requires.

Third and final key skill: curiosity

In a context where business performance indicators (and their reliability) are highly dependant on technical feasibility, teams must make and understand the connection between a KPI framework and implementing a tagging plan in JavaScriptJavaScriptJavaScript, or JS, is a programming language which is implemented in web browsers, but also potentially in web servers. It is commonly used for tracking purposes. It is known as a www programming language (meaning that it is used on the web), and it is object-oriented (meaning that it can process unstructured data).Learn more. It is thus necessary to have team players with hybrid skills, who can adapt to different profiles (C-Level or developer) and learn new collection and analysis techniques (server-side TMSTMSA Tag Management System (TMS) is a tool designed to help manage the lifecycle of marketing tags. It can encapsulate multiple individual tags within a unique container tag and makes it possible to edit these tags remotely without having to modify the source code.Learn more , hybrid apphybrid appHybrid apps are independent mobile applications that combine features specific to both native apps and webapps. They are built based on web pages and their code is similar on iOS and Android, making them available on both the App Store and the Google Play Store. Thus, developing a hybrid app makes it possible to share the development process among the two main operating systems.Learn mores, offline trackingtrackingTracking refers to the tools and methodologies that measure the activity and behaviour of visitors on a website (or a mobile app), including their journey, the source of their visit, or exposure to ads... Learn more, etc.). This also means that teams must have the time to learn about these technologies, or else have someone internally capable of doing so.

But everyone’s qualities are dulled when it comes to managing quality — work can get sloppy, or repetitive tasks can take their toll. Even with the best of intentions, professional skills need direction in order to be used wisely, like a train placed on the right track. In the second part of this article, we will discuss the tools and processes that can be implemented. Check back next week for more!

Translated from the original French by Niamh Cloughley

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25-10-2017

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