Dura Vermeer Scalable measurement for 50+ sites
Dura Vermeer is one of the largest construction companies in the Netherlands. They’re executing many different projects from developing new houses to improving the public space.
We have worked together with Dura Vermeer for nearly five years now. In June 2019 they came to us with a new challenge:
How can we have a unique website for every new housing project we work on, whilst not having the build and measure the website from scratch each time.
In other words, can we create an easy to use, unique and data-driven template for every new housing project website?
Together with DotControl, our sister organisation, we accepted the challenge. DotControl, as a creative agency, focused on designing and building the template. We focused on the measurement side.
Dura Vermeer loves and values data. They always want to know exactly how the user is using their websites. What is working? What isn’t? They wanted each new project website to be easily and consistently measurable so that they could do the following:
- Ensure the project manager of that project could easily gain insights.
- Ensure they could analyze across websites to see what was working and wasn’t to bring in registrations for new houses.
It was our job to make both possible, in just a few hours per new website.
We are really happy we created a new website platform together. Not only for the lower costs, but also the increased quality of our websites. We are much better able of analyse and improve the customer journey on all our websites.
Challenge 1 – Measuring blocks
The project websites are built through blocks, e.g. a header block, an FAQ block, a CTA block, etc. Think of it as lego, you always have the same blocks but depending on which colours you use and which order you build them up, your end creation can look wildly different. To give you an idea, these three websites were all built with the template:
Even with the same block they have a different look and feel.
So back to the Lego example: As you keep making mini buildings again and again you want to understand what blocks work well and what don’t. But how do you do that if every time the blocks are in different places in different buildings?
To ensure we knew which blocks were helped or hindered conversion and which we should keep in our Lego toolkit for future projects we measured them. To do this we didn’t rely on scroll tracking but rather element visibility:
- We tracked which blocks were seen (75% in view).
- We tracked which blocks were read (looked at for 5+ seconds).
- We tracked which position they were in.
This way we could collect data across websites of the blocks and learn which ones were read or skipped over and which increased the chance of conversions, no matter which order the blocks were in. We even created a similar setup with the tracking of the FAQs.
Challenge 2 – Robust Tracking
Marketers love to track via Google Tag Manager (GTM), it gives them all the freedom and control of what is sent to Google Analytics. However, this has its downsides... (marketers don’t hate me, it’s true!).
By tracking everything via GTM your tracking is less robust. If the developer changes an element, your tracking might break. Whilst you can set up all types of notifications to know when this happens it is still risky and time-intensive. If you are only tracking when they click on the text but not t
he whole button to you it will look like the tracking is working, even if it isn’t.
With expected 50+ websites and small budgets per websites you don’t want to constantly have to monitor or worry about whether your tracking is working.
That is why we choose an alternative setup. The developers had a special class for our tracking (starting with RB) and sent this to GTM.
For example for the FAQ:
And as the classes were only used for tracking meaning they would never be edited or removed with a new project.
With just 6 events, we had tracked the whole website from registration to block visibility to which housing types were looked at the most.
Challenge 3 – Quick Setup
Through building with a block structure, DotControl could create a standard project website in no time. It was important that we could do the same. So we developed a clear process that anyone could use in the team to set up and test the whole structure in no time, this involved 4 simple steps:
1. GTM Setup
We used Simo Ahava’s GTM Tools to duplicate the template structure to a new website in just minutes. We could download and upload containers but GTM Tools goes quicker and smoother, it is literally copy and paste.
2. Google Analytics Setup
We used one account with a separate property and views per website. This allowed us to use several standard filters and add them to the correct view. Then all we needed were the custom dimensions and goals and GA was ready.
3. Google Data Studio Dashboard
Finally, we had a standard dashboard for each website that showed all the key insights on how the website was being used. We used Data Studio for several reasons:
- Simplicity. It is very easy to use, even for new individuals.
- Free. With no additional costs, it is a very attractive option for smaller websites.
Again, copy and paste, change the source and done.
4. Double Check
We always do a double check of all the tracking and setup. You can never be too careful. With that the setup was done in no time.
We have used this setup already for 12 new housing project websites of Dura Vermeer. Dura Vermeer was extremely happy with the new setup as it meant:
- The project manager of each website now used the dashboard to gain insights and adjust their campaigns accordingly.
- Each new website now takes just half the time to build and measure: 12 hours instead of 24 hours.
- All websites were done by 1 website company rather than 10 different ones leading to consistency in quality and branding.
The next step will be using the data across websites to start optimizing the template accordingly. Thanks to the easy block structure and simplicity of the Umbraco CMS (the platform used to build the website) this will cost Dura Vermeer no extra development time and improve the performance across all their housing projects.