Case Study – Haaretz – Advanced eCommerce Solutions

Brian Blondy, May 22, 2018

Client Overview

Haaretz.co.il, is the online edition of Haaretz Newspaper in Israel, specializes in analysis from Israel and the Middle East. Haaretz provides extensive and in-depth coverage of Israel, the Jewish World and the Middle East, including defense, diplomacy, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the peace process, Israeli politics, Jerusalem affairs, international relations, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Israeli business world and Jewish life in Israel and the Diaspora.

Haaretz newspaper in its online edition was looking to increase its subscription base.  As such in 2015 the newspaper built an elaborate and complex subscription funnel. Haaretz is not a traditional eCommerce site, therefore tracking user journeys across such a complex flow presented a significant challenge.

Total Media identified the problem and scope through a consultative approach with the client. To add to the complexity, there is no one “owner” of their GA + GTM stack but several users and even more stakeholders. The scope prescribed was to provide a creative solution to the problem mentioned above: to give Haaretz visibility into their subscription funnel.  In addition, deliver some recommendations on an attribution model that could be useful to Haaretz.

 

Technical Ability

The high-level technical scope of the project included customization of Google Tag Manager (GTM).  The sales funnel involved four steps that needed to be programmed as events into GTM and building custom eCommerce variables to create a checkout sales funnel within Google Analytics under Enhanced eCommerce Reports.

One significant technical challenge was that the sales funnel was comprised of button clicks on the same page. Therefore the standard/traditional goal settings were not used in this situation.

The site is not a conventional eCommerce site so there was a need to come up with a creative solution that would mimic the enhanced eCommerce requirements so that a graphical and visual representation of the checkout funnel would be possible.

We decided to use GTM to create and deliver the custom events. To tie the events to enhanced eCommerce funnel we used custom variables with eCommerce specs to signal to GA that it is an eCommerce funnel.

 

Analytical Ability

Total Media conducted extensive analysis in partnership with Haaretz to find out what would be the best way to resolve this problem. Total Media partnered closely with the Haaretz business/marketing team to make sure that the proposed recommendations were suitable for their business needs. Then working closely with their technical and project management teams to ensure that our solution was implemented correctly.

The project was conducted in a mix of face to face meetings and workshops, Google Hangouts with screen-sharing and telephone calls.

Total Media, to QA and ensure the solution was implemented and working as intended, used a written spec to validate against while running GA DEBUGGER and developer toolbar on the site as well as the GTM preview.

From the initial results, Total Media identified that the portion of the funnel that was the most problematic (i.e. experienced the most dramatic user fall-off). We concluded that users were being presented with multiple, confusing options rather than an effective singular option. As a result, Total Media recommended testing with multi-variant iterations of a singular call-to-action offering more straightforward choices.

 

Business Impact

The visibility into their subscriptions funnels despite being live for a relatively short period is already delivering value. Haaretz can now see exactly where in the funnel users are dropping off and are starting to work with TotalMedia on strategies to mitigate this.

Some of the tactics employed have already given Haaretz a noticeable uptick in subscriptions.  During the process, Total Media and Haaretz discovered additional issues, which while out-of-scope for this project will form the basis of ongoing work with Haaretz:

Additional Sale Funnels: Haaretz has multiple different funnels which are entirely separate from a code perspective so will need separate tracking implemented. In addition, Haaretz also runs an English edition with a similar suite of subscription funnels which will need tracking performed.

Custom Segments: Build custom segments based on the drop within the funnel to understand how to improve conversion rates within the funnel and to potential use optimize to build custom landing pages to those segments.