Read the case study on our successful tagging pilot project
During the recent 2016/17 North America Ski campaign Destination BC collaborated with eleven ski resorts on a tagging pilot project. Tagging refers to using a piece of code that collects anonymous data from a website. Through tagging of these resort websites, we were able to track indirect referrals.
A post-view visual.
An indirect referral occurs when a prospective visitor views Destination BC content online but, instead of going directly from the Destination BC content to an industry site to make a booking, arrives at the industry site indirectly through a third party channel.
A post-view conversion occurs when a prospective visitor is exposed to a Destination BC display ad but, instead of clicking directly from the Destination BC display ad to an industry site, arrives at the industry site indirectly through a third-party channel (e.g. organic Google search).
Tracking these allowed us to gain a better understanding of the impact of our digital media activities. Our ultimate goal of tagging is to work towards creating an attribution model to understand what marketing activities drive consumers along the path to book a trip to BC. Find our case study on the project here.
Fast facts on floodlight tags: Part II of our series
In our first article (below), we shared the basics of “tagging” and why the strategy is beneficial to our marketing strategies. A tag (also called a pixel, floodlight tag or beacon) is a piece of code that collects anonymous data from a website.
Tags track how many visitors Destination BC refers to a partner website (called a referral) and how many bookings those visitors actually make, whether through a Destination BC-led campaign or a sector-led campaign that we funded. In the future, Destination BC will be working more closely with some groups of tourism partners (as a start) to share data using two types of tags.
Referral conversion tag: this tag tracks page loads when a Destination BC referred visitor lands on a non-transaction page where the tag is placed.
Sales conversion tag: this tag tracks when a sales confirmation page loads after a Destination BC referred visitor makes a booking.
Here are some common questions about tagging answered:
What will Destination BC do with the information collected via the tag?
The anonymous conversion data (page loads) collected from these tags will assist Destination BC in optimizing our digital marketing activities in order to effectively drive leads to BC tourism partners. It helps us learn more (in aggregate) about the interests and behaviour of users who are demonstrating an interest in visiting BC. It will also help us to build up a pool of qualified leads for industry partners to retarget with their own digital marketing efforts. Destination BC will share insights gathered from these tags with partners regularly.
Who places the tag on a website?
The individual or agency who manages updates to the participating website will be responsible for placing the tag. Destination BC will provide them with the tags along with setup instructions.
What exactly is put on the website?
How is a tag placed on the website?
The tag is added into the HTML code of the website. This is a one-time process that involves the following steps:
Webmaster of participating partner adds code to existing HTML of a web page.
Destination BC tests the tag is firing correctly.
What page(s) should the tag be placed on?
Referral conversion tag: A referral conversion tag only tracks conversions on the page that it is placed on. Therefore, to effectively track performance, the tag should ideally be placed on all pages of your site. If that is not possible, Destination BC will work with participating partners to determine the most appropriate placement of the tag.
Sales conversion tag: A sales conversion tag tracks the completion of a sale. This tag should be placed on the sales confirmation page(s) such as the “thank you” page a customer sees once they have completed an order. If the website does not support online booking, Destination BC will work with the partner to determine the most appropriate placement of the tag.
How long does it take to tag a website?
This depends on the available website management resources. It also depends on whether or not it uses a Content Management System (CMS) or Google Tag Manager (GTM). With a CMS or GTM, there is usually a way to copy the code in one place and the CMS/GTM will propagate it on all the other pages. If the website isn’t using a CMS/GTM, then it will depend on how many pages should be manually updated. The industry partner’s website management staff or contractor should be able to confirm whether they are using a CMS or GTM.
What data do the tags collect?
One tag will be placed on all non-transaction pages to anonymously track the visitors we send to a website—this tag only tracks the page load, which Destination BC counts as a referral from our digital marketing activities to the partner website. The second tag will be placed on the sales confirmation or “thank you” page to track referred visitors who book on your site. The sales tag only reports the page load as a successful conversion; it does not track any other data (e.g. amount of the sale or personal info of the customer).
Will the tags track or collect personal data of web visitors or from the participating business?
No personally identifiable information is collected because it is illegal to do so. Destination BC does not collect data other than the page loads for users who have clicked from or viewed a Destination BC ad. We will not receive any data at all on visitors who have not clicked from or viewed a Destination BC ad.
Let’s play tag: how data makes us more efficient marketers
Data guides marketing teams like those at Destination BC to make decisions. Data helps us understand what content and channels are most effective in driving conversions through the path-to-purchase.
In 2017, Destination BC will be working more closely with our tourism partners to share data. A mutual website tagging plan will make us more efficient digital marketers. The plan will let us better measure the impact of our advertising and share qualified travel audiences for retargeting campaigns. A tag (also called a pixel, floodlight tag or beacon) is simply a piece of code that collects data from a website.
Collaboration is critical for BC’s ability to successfully compete against other destinations. One key area of collaboration is around common tagging of digital-marketing activities.
Let’s start with the “what” and “why” of tagging.
What is a tag?
A tag (also called a pixel, floodlight tag, or beacon) is simply a piece of code that collects data from a website.
Why are tags important?
In any digital campaign, tags allow us to track metrics beyond impressions and click-through rates. They let us track how many visitors Destination BC refers to a partner website (called a referral) and how many bookings those visitors actually make, whether through a Destination BC-led campaign or a sector-led campaign that we funded.
Referrals and bookings are tracked as either post-click or post-view conversions. Post clicks track a user who clicked on a display ad, arrived at a site and converted. Post-view conversions are users who saw a display ad, did not click, but arrived at a site indirectly by typing the site address or searching online and then converted. Post-click and post-view conversions help us understand the effectiveness of our programs and our collective marketing spend.
Tags allow us to gain insights into how audiences are responding (or not) to digital campaigns. This data lets us understand what content, and which channels, best result in conversions through the path-to-purchase, so that we can optimize accordingly. The most effective way for us to collect this information is through collectively tagging our sites.
What data does a tag collect?
Information on products, content, or ads a user viewed; links clicked; time on page
Conversions (if a user books or buys)
IP address of a user’s mobile phone; web browser they are using; how they were referred to the site (e.g. via search, click-through from an ad, etc.)
Anonymous data, such as a Profile ID or targeting criteria
Tags do not collect personal information such as name or address
Tags only collect revenue information if that setting is activated
How do tags benefit us?
They let us see view-through conversions and bookings attributed to our campaigns
They provide detailed audience insights, including information on behavioural interests
They allow sharing of audiences for retargeting campaigns
They allow us to improve optimization of digital marketing activities, in real-time
They help us better understand the impact of our digital marketing activities on consumer behaviour.