November and December provide the biggest shopping days of the year for most ecommerce companies. It's crucial to make sure your tag management solution is running smoothly and your analytics is tracking properly to make the most of those busy days.

Tis' also the season for code freezes, so getting things running quickly is important. Here's a few tips to check on before the holidays really get going.

 

Existing Changes

If you have been developing changes either on your tracking, or on the site - now is the time to push them out. You need to allow time before more shoppers appear to work out all the bugs that may appear, so you need to get those pushed out now. This may need some push on development and maybe overtime to get things going. Nothing is worse than finding a major bug on black friday that could have been avoided by an earlier push.

 

Tag Management Audit

It will be good to spend some time auditing your tag management solution (TMS) to make sure there is nothing outstanding or incomplete. It will also be prudent to make sure you know where things are in case you need to make a quick change. I've heard of numerous cases where something on black friday or cyber monday has gone wrong, but knowing how to quickly find and fix it in the TMS has saved the day. If nothing else, just familiarize yourself with the setup and identify where potential issues may occur. Also keep in mind that TMS accounts are usually not limited by regular dev cycles, so you can make updates and test them very quickly if needed.

 

Mobile Tracking

Mobile shopping has boomed over the past few years, so if you have a mobile app or website for shopping, it is crucial to make sure that:

  1. It is running smoothly. There shouldn't be any loading issues or page errors - the user experience needs to be flawless.
  2. Campaigns are properly setup and ready to go. A huge part of mobile app usage is referrals, so make sure your tagging for campaigns is working as expected.
  3. Analytics is fully tagged. Tagging a mobile solution can be more challenging than a regular website, so make sure you've got it right and are meeting all the requirements for tracking. You should be already be receiving and validating data in the analytics interface.

 

Analytics

It may not be possible to get everything you need to implemented for the holidays, but you can definitely prioritize. Make a list of all the requirements and put them in a 4 part priority list: High, Medium, Low, Post-Holiday. Then, make sure all the high items are implemented asap and maybe even some medium items. You need to allow time to collect data to make sure those items are working properly, so they need to be ready to go yesterday. If you are using a tag management solution, you have a lot more flexibility, so you can work on this closer to the busy parts of the holidays, whereas if you don't, you'll need to get things done through dev, thus need it out now.

Some key things to make sure are tracking properly: visits, page/screen views, ecommerce data (product and order info), campaigns, referrers, and key events (special events from your requirements).

 

Third Party Vendors

Talk to your third party vendors and make sure they are ready for the holiday rush. Many vendors need to know what kind of traffic you are expecting in order to scale properly. You definitely don't want to have issues with any vendors slowing down the page. Also, make sure as many vendors as possible are running asynchronously, so even if they fail, your site doesn't. Lastly, make sure the vendors are reporting everything working at the moment. If there are issues, they need to be resolved asap!

 

Summary

Preparation is always going to be key for the holidays, so hopefully this list gives a few pointers on things to check up on. The more ready you are now, the less likely you will be to run into issues during the busy times!