2021 proved to be just as unpredictable as 2020, so it may seem crazy to predict what we should focus on in the upcoming year. However, a few trends have certainly emerged that are worth considering. Here’s what multi-brand and CPG organizations should be planning around in 2022.
Google Analytics 4
Google continues to release new features in Google Analytics 4 (GA4), bringing it closer and closer to feature parity with Universal Analytics (UA). While it’s not there yet, now is the time to begin planning for your organization to use GA4 as your ‘source of truth.’ The earlier you prepare, the more equipped your organization will be to make the shift. What would it look like for GA4 to be worked into your analytics roadmap for 2022? Here’s a few to-dos to get started:
- Dual-tag your sites with GA4 and UA
- Plan your event mapping
- Test-and-learn using a single market or brand
- Work with your development team(s) and analytics partners to develop an implementation plan
Server-Side GTM (sGTM)
Server-side tagging, announced in 2020, allows organizations to migrate Google Tag Manager (GTM) (or other tag management systems) from your website to a server-side container on a cloud platform, such as Google Cloud. There are many benefits to sGTM, and with more and more restrictions impacting how data is collected, sGTM provides a path forward for organizations to compile data on a first-party domain. For CPG and multi-brand organizations, which might have websites numbering in the thousands, this migration is no small feat. 2022 could be an opportunity to test server-side tagging in a single market (or brand) to learn what it could look like at-scale for your organization. Find a market or brand that’s willing to test this out (remember the benefits here!) and provide learnings for the larger organization.
Very much related to sGTM is the concept of data governance. In short, data governance is ensuring standardization and compliance when it comes to data collection. And in 2022, data governance will be especially significant due to the impacts of the Great Resignation.
For CPG and multi-brand organizations, data governance has a few layers. First, there’s the impact of privacy laws. Are your data collection and storage methods compliant? Do you have a unique strategy for markets with differing laws? Next, there’s an organizational component. Do users (internal and external) have access to the data necessary for their function, and is that access governed? Last, and certainly not least, there’s a consumer level. Are you considering your consumer at the center of your strategy, in a way that honors their privacy?
Connecting Online and Offline Efforts
It’s no secret that consumers have shifted more and more of their shopping habits to online platforms. This was true before the pandemic, but obviously the pandemic has accelerated that shift. However, consumers still rely on retailers for fulfillment—whether that’s pickup, delivery, or a good old-fashioned walk through the store. Do you have an understanding of how your online efforts correspond to shopping habits? Or vice-versa, how does your traditional marketing mix impact online traffic? For CPG organizations, brands exist in several different retailers within several different markets. These each will have different strategies (and valuable data sets) to work with. How are you connecting the dots to better understand your customers?
Ok, I’ll be the first to admit that this is a lot to plan around in a single year. What’s important is that you get started and prioritize accordingly. When push comes to shove, the most important thing is that your data strategy is aligned with your organization’s business strategy. Does what you’re investing in, such as additional tracking or integrations, give you the insights you need? 2022 could be an opportunity to simplify your strategy around these goals. With these trends in mind, how can you hone in on a strategy that supports your organization?