This year’s Digital IQ Index: Personal Care sheds light on the evolving site investment strategies of CPG brands. Personal Care brands continue to optimize their digital experiences, with deeper user reviews, more consumer account optionality and seamless e-tailer hand-offs. Yet, not all sites are created equal and site technology investments vary. As part of a larger site technology assessment, L2 measured on-site trackers as one of the metrics that compose the analytics and site technology sub-score of the Digital IQ Index; to further this analysis, we developed a framework outlining how Personal Care brands deploy these trackers based on the maturity of their strategy.
L2’s framework considers a selection of trackers across several categories and accounts for the incremental level of sophistication. The first-line of tracker implementation is a Standard level, where brands cover their table stakes in terms of site performance analytics. At this level, 99% of brands include an analytics tracker, followed by 69% who include social trackers and 19% who implement user review trackers. Strategies become more aggressive stacked and varied from then on, depending on the supporting trackers that underlie features. At the next level, Automated, brands use trackers in support of advertising efforts; 77% have an Ad Server tracker, and 40% use a DSP tracker to support programmatic advertising efforts. These trackers act as the infantry of advanced strategies.
More sophisticated trackers build upon those Automated ones and are Data-integrated (meaning they utilize a second or third source of data, usually managed by the brand). These act as the armored reinforcements by providing a wealth of data to target and manage content for specific audiences. Data Management Platform trackers and Tag Manager trackers were detected at the highest rates, with 76 and 75 percent of sites implementing these, respectively. Finally, those brands with the most mature approach take it one step further; their special forces are by and large Optimized trackers. A/B testing trackers were detected in 20% of sites, and performance testing trackers in 8%. No brand, as far as we could detect, engages in creative optimization as measured by on-site trackers. Truly mature strategies are those that rely on foundational technology investments and build up to reach a level where site infrastructure is automated, has data that supports processes and after assessing performance, can optimize itself. Only 19% of the brands attain this level of sophistication, with some of the winners including Gillette, Neutrogena, Panasonic and Seventh Generation.
Within the context of the Digital IQ Index: Personal Care, L2 compared brands’ performance on site alone and the relative sophistication of trackers. Using Digital IQ data and a normalized score of 10 points for tracker sophistication, with proportionally weighted points for more advanced trackers, we compared Personal Care brands and four subscription brands (Harry’s, Dollar Shave Club, Honest, Lola). L2 found that those brands who have more tracker sophistication are not necessarily those who perform best. About 26% of brands are leaders in both, but they do not have a stranglehold on high performance on the site dimension of the Digital IQ. Twenty-six percent of brands perform well and focus on other components of their site like search and navigation features, or advanced guided selling that allows them to score highly. Almost one fifth (18%) of brands have sophistication in tracker technology on site but have varying levels of performance for their site on the Digital IQ. The largest proportion of brands is lagging in both, with 32% of brands falling below average on both metrics.
While this framework to understand site tracker technology sophistication is useful to have a granular view of Personal Care brand site investments, technology investment alone is not a winning strategy. Technology investments must work hand in hand with user experience features like guided selling and search navigation to stand out; often, Genius and Challenged brands demonstrate competencies that run the gamut from content to features and technology. For more insights, see the 2016 Digital IQ Index: Personal Care.