November 16, 2021

How we develop Analytics Tracking Plans

Step 1

Determine the key metrics that will indicate performance. These metrics should be able to be formed into goals. They must then be metrics that can become S.M.A.R.T. goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. 

There are proven KPI Frameworks that have been developed and used by leading companies. 

Specifically we work most with the following 3 frameworks:

  1. AARRR
  2. Mixpanel's Measurement Framework (North Star)
  3. ACER
Measurement Frameworks
Measurement Frameworks

The 3 frameworks share a few similarities, but their differences are in how they are applied and their purpose. 

For AARRR we are looking at the current state of the metrics and their historical trend. This will answer the question: ‘what is the current success/health of our platform?’ We would consider this framework to be passive.

For Mixpanel Measurement Framework we look at metrics as what can be manipulated. The focus metric is what will be focussed on to increase while the associated metrics (level 1, level 2, and so on) are used to slice the focus metric into metrics that could indicate underlying causes and correlations. We would consider this framework to be active.

For ACER we are looking at the 4 metrics also in how we would manipulate them. Specifically, ACER looks at what actions are needed for each metric to improve. This also relates to the toolstack selection process, since to improve Conversion, for example, one  could suggest using an A/B testing tool to increase conversion. We would consider this framework to be active. 

Step 2

Once measurement goals are determined, we go through the user journeys according to each of the key metrics. Throughout each journey we list key events and properties that need to be tracked in order to measure the associated metrics. 

This is typically performed using existing user journey flow diagrams, if they exist. Otherwise we would go through the platform ourselves, ideally with test payment and login credentials. We would receive a list, or screenshots, of user journeys to use in our journey mapping process. 

To help companies develop their journey maps, if they don’t already have them, we refer back to the measurement frameworks and ask the questions: 

  1. What are the possible acquisition entry points and journeys?
  2. What are the possible activation activities (when someone becomes ‘sticky’ or active) and journeys?
  3. What would a user do that would make them a retained user, what are those journeys?
  4. What are the key events that derive value and that you’d like your users to do?
  5. Is there a referral program, and if so, what are the steps for referrals and referees? 
  6. What are the purchase and transaction journeys?
  7. What are the specific business goals in regards to the usage of the platform?

With these 7 questions we would arrive with a sufficient amount of information to create the most meaningful user journeys. Each question could, and usually does, produce multiple distinct journeys. 

Step 3

We then create a Tracking Plan according to the previous user journeys and their associated key metrics. The Tracking Plan is a list of trackable events and their associated properties. Importance is also placed on how identification will occur, to ensure users are properly identified with a canonical identification as often as possible during their journeys. 

The Tracking Plan contains all the necessary information to install or set up the tracking in the respective platforms. This tracking will be across all platforms such as mobile apps and websites and if multiple platforms exist with similar function then the tracking should be as similar across all platforms so as to create cross-platform analysis with ease. 

The Tracking Plan is universal regardless of what analytics/tracking platform will be used except for the tracking methods used. These tracking methods relate to the specific analytics/tracking platform and its functionality. This is where it’s critical for the Tracking Plan to contain the most up-to-date methods and best practices. 


With these 3 steps completed a Tracking Plan is ready for implementation. This Tracking Plan will be focused on tracking what matters most and it will enable tracking to be performed in a way that analysts, both internal and external, can effectively and efficiently utilize. 

  1. Easy to maintain: reducing engineering labour, costs, and errors
  2. Easy to understand: reducing analysts’ labour, costs, and errors
  3. Valuable: providing information that leads to greater performance
  4. Flexible: integrating new systems and transferring data is possible
  5. Insightful: information provided provides detail not normally available
  6. Easy to use: enabling all users to create their own reports and insights
  7. True: information provided is accurate and able to drive real business decisions

James is currently a Digital Director at Master Concept where he directs a team dedicated to providing digital analytics solutions and training for enterprises across Asia. He believes the most significant impact on the success of a business is the amount of quality information that they have access to and are able to act on in their daily operations. Previously, James launched and ran his own startup company, Yumr, which specialized in restaurant discovery based on diets and specific dishes. He also held operational roles in innovation labs in Hong Kong and Germany. In his spare time James enjoys studying ancient history and accidentally getting sunburnt. Recent favourite quote: “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.” - Richard Feynman

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