Analytics Data Dictionary: Download Free Template
It seems to be one of those buzzwords that get thrown around too easily and too often. Fuzzy definitions are plentiful. There seems to be little consensus on what should make it into such a dictionary. We're reminded of the Buddhist at the hot-dog stand who allegedly said, "Give me one with everything!" At the same time, any actual implementations are few and far between, usually looking pretty drab compared to the original intent.
With that in mind, we asked ourselves what would a practical implementation of a data dictionary for managing clickstream analytics solutions such as Adobe Analytics and Google Analytics look like?
Recognizing that specific organizations' needs may vary, there are nevertheless some common themes on what's likely to make the final cut:
- Clear descriptions, categorization, and origins of business requirements.
- The link between requirements and the individual data points (dimensions & measures) that have been created to meet them.
- The mapping of data points to solution-specific variables (Adobe Analytics eVars, Google Event Actions, etc). Optionally, dependencies on any data layer elements and/or TMS rules.
- The URLs and user flows that trigger these solution-specific variables.
- The teams and team members involved in decisions and support of different aspects of the implementation.
- Flags that tell stakeholders if collection for individual data elements, and any downstream reporting, is in good health or not.
The Google Sheets template we have put together shows one way to structure and address the first five items. Since different organizations may have vastly different takes on documentation and governance, we've chosen an open and flexible platform that can be customized by anyone who is familiar with how spreadsheets work. Where we really aim to add value is in the enabling of ongoing automated checks for key data points and data elements through a built-in live bridge to the QA2L API.
In our free and open Data Dictionary template, automated checks come in two flavors:
- URL Validation
You may ask, how is that better than using sniffing tools or browser devtools? The short answer is, it's faster and easier. But there are also deeper advantages:
- You define the rules once and from that point on they are testable. You can run validations across multiple pages and workflows with a single click, and you can even start while tags are still being added!
- Validation can be performed by team members that are not well-versed in the details of analytics implementations or the tools and site actions that may (or may not) expose the respective data points.
- Automation ensures that the tests are performed consistently and that there is no room for human error or dalliance.
- Workflow Validation
Access to the Sheet and using our API to perform real-time validation is free for up to 100 requests per day through the end of the year. You will need a secret key to unlock this functionality.
You can download the free template and receive an API key by submitting the form below.