Globus Family of Brands is a global group of coach tour, river cruise and independent travel package companies that operate worldwide. With 4 brands in 13 countries and 52 websites, Globus chose In Marketing We Trust to provide support during, pre and post Sitecore migration. The goal was to create a better user experience for both consumers and travel agents, growing both B2B and B2C sales and improve brand positioning in the market.
Globus Family of Brands has 4 brands in 13 countries. With 1 domain per brand and per country, equaling a total of 52 websites, migrating was a huge undertaking. Starting 12 months prior to the move we began planning to provide support during, pre and post Sitecore migration.
Globus wanted to create a better user experience for both the consumer and travel agent to grow sales and improve brand positioning in the market. The decision to migrate to Sitecore was simple due to non-converting websites that were not customer focussed. The old websites lacked functionality with a blanket approach to marketing communications due to dirty customer data.
The initial migration plan put forward to In Marketing We Trust was challenging due to the volume of sites and the risk to organic visibility. On top of that risk, there was already no trust in the data. All 52 websites had a different analytics setup. Due to the complexity and lack of maintenance, trust in the data was lost. Without fixing these issues before migrating to Sitecore, there was no way we’d be able to correctly measure its impact.
We don’t feel like a client, we feel that we work together as they are passionate about what they do in order for us to achieve our business goals. IMWT staff is highly skilled and are experts in their field.
I especially appreciate that IMWT are so proactive in ensuring that we are kept up to date with reporting and have been a major help with migration. One of the best agencies we’ve worked with.Rachelle DDigital Marketing Coordinator, Globus Family of Brands
How We Increased Traffic 50% and Conversions 148% YoY
With 30% of traffic coming from organic search, the risk to visibility as a result of an aggressive migration plan was huge. To mitigate this risk, we created a Sitecore migration success plan. This included rolling out 1 brand at a time with a rollback option based on priorities and testing the site with live traffic.
We greenlighted stages throughout the migration journey and had daily standup meetings with Globus, the development agency and building agency to mitigate any risk. We also provided post migration training on how to complete health checks, training on Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager and Google Ads. We also provided training on “Advanced Analytics for Travel Marketers”.
Always willing to help and offer advice and has even offered fantastic training.Rachelle DDigital Marketing Coordinator, Globus Family of Brands
As part of the migration process we thoroughly cleaned house. Over 10% of Globus Family of Brands pages were 404s. We also focussed our efforts on SEO to reduce the risk of a drop in organic visibility.
Taking Cosmos Australia as our example:
- Reduced the number of 404s by over 13%, Cosmos now has less than 1% of 404s
- Increased the sitemap relevancy to 100%
- Doubled page speed, from 4 seconds down to an average load time of under 2 seconds
- Increased domain authority and reduced spam score to zero
- Maintain footprint and current rankings
- Transfer ALL the authority from legacy site to new site
- Facilitate indexation of new site
- Maintain KPIs and metrics measurements
Our Sitecore Migration Plan for Success
What to do Before Staging
Audit your current site. Provide a list of errors and elements to fix to maximise SEO authority. Include recommendations for the new site (structure, content, URLs, etc.).
Enhance your current site, including:
- Internal linking structure
Set your benchmark with your current KPIs and metrics. This will be used post migration to provide insight into how well you currently perform. Identify your key pages and current footprint.
Audit your Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager and develop a measurement and implementation plan.
What to do During Staging
Audit and Enhance Staging Site
Audit and enhance your staging site using the above checklist.
This process needs to be repeated until your staging site is healthy and ready.
Ensure you’re transferring authority with URL and image mapping.
Implement Google Tag Manager and configure Google Analytics. Implement Data Layer for form tracking.
Healthy Site Checklist
- No errors
- No broken links
- All meta-descriptions are defined and optimised
- Hreflang is supported for all pages
- Sitemap includes all pages that need to be indexed
- No redirections
- All titles are defined and optimised
- Canonicals and meta-robots correctly implemented
- Tag Manager Container is included in all pages
- Data Layer is implemented for form tracking
What to do on Migration Day
Sitecore Migration Day Checklist
- Launch the new site
- Implement redirects to transfer SEO authority
- Audit the new site (check for any potential errors)
- Switch the tracking (publish new tracking)
- Validate redirects
- Verify robots.txt and sitemaps
- Implement fixes (critical problems must be resolved on the day of Sitecore migration)
- Analyse and report after migration
- Compare metrics before and after migration
- Provide recommendations and enhancements as applicable
What to Expect After Migration
- Fluctuation in rankings from week 1 to 3 after migration
- Indexation can take from 4 days up to 1 month
- Slight drop in traffic is to be expected due to redirections
- Changes in Analytics will be noticed as the tracking is updated while migrating
The days after migration are critical. Site performance must be monitored and errors must be fixed as soon as possible.
One of the best agencies I’ve worked with …
Thank you for your fabulous work across our accounts so far - we’ve had so much on the move and you’ve managed to go above and beyond in all areas.Lilly MDigital Marketing Manager, Globus Family of Brands
Sitecore Google Analytics Migration
When we think about migration, we primarily think of SEO and sometimes forget about tracking. Prior to migration, each of the 52 sites had a different tracking setup. Over the years this lead to Globus losing trust in their data. A new, clean way of tracking across all 52 sites was essential to a successful migration.
The process we follow to migrate tracking is similar to a classic analytics implementation process. The main difference for migration is that we have to deal with existing Google Tag Manager containers and Google Analytics properties and views.
- Discovery: Understand the business and gain context on the current state of analytics.
- Design: Develop a tailored solution design and implementation plan based on business input, technical input, client’s resources and capabilities and best practices.
- Development: Take the necessary steps to implement, integrate, and test the new data collection setup.
- Deployment: Ensure that everything is ready for the launch and prepare the client’s team to use and operate in the new ecosystem.
To get the full picture and a better understanding of the pain points and potential improvement we could bring to their current data collection, we started with a full review of the existing Google Tag Manager containers and Google Analytics properties.
We found that one of the major challenges was a lack of consistency which would ultimately add complexity to the Sitecore migration. The main reason for this setup was a lack of governance across countries.
We interviewed Globus to determine goals and pain points as well as their vision for future marketing needs. We determined their needs for reporting to design the perfect set up and architecture.
We built a measurement plan to apply across the 52 sites. The measurement plan is the translation of the client’s strategy, of their top-line business objectives into goals, KPIs, targets and segments.
We make sure the measurement plan covers everything and encourage our clients to take ownership of the plan.
As the Analytics implementation was undertaken during the Sitecore migration we agreed the best approach was to split the project into 2 stages: pre and post migration. A roadmap was developed to pace the migration and synchronise with the development team.
Pre-migration Analytics Checklist
- Implement a simplified version of the measurement plan, through a shared Google Tag Manager container, used as a template for the migration phase.
- Setup Google Analytics for the 52 sites, including new architecture and consistent setup of properties and views.
- Specify the data layers and upfront the validation of the data layers in Sitecore for the migration (in UAT environments).
Post Migration Analytics Checklist
- Implement the complete measurement plan (an upgraded version of the container used in the pre-migration stage)
- Update the Google Analytics property to match new site measurements (update goals and set up enhanced eCommerce).
In preparation for the Sitecore migration, we unified tracking. We found that users wander across brands while searching for tours. To reduce the complexity of the analytics account by 75% we merged the 4 brands into a single property across each country. It’s important, especially from a paid campaign perspective, to track users across brands in order to attribute conversions to the correct channels.
- 1 Google Tag Manager container for 52 sites: 1 unique set of tags to collect data.
- 13 analytics properties: 4 brands merged across 13 countries.
We created a new Google Tag Manager container.
- The same set of Google Analytics tags, triggers and variables are used to collect, transform and send data to the 13 properties. Based on the hostname, data is sent to the correct property.
- Other advertising tags (Facebook, Floodlight, etc.) are also covered by the measurement plan. The implementation of tags for other advertising tools was optimised and scaled as much as possible through variables.
- We agreed on a naming convention and best implementation practices were advocated during the implementation.
Since the deployment of the new tracking through Google Tag Manager, and the unified Adwords and analytics configuration, reporting and performance comparisons can be done at a brand or country level. Globus now has a single customer view and can make accurate data-driven decisions.
Post Sitecore Migration
The days after migration are critical. Site performance must be monitored and errors must be fixed as soon as possible. Post Sitecore migration, we closely monitor the performance of the site, we crawl the site and verify that it’s healthy. For our health check, we provide a list to the client of fixes, prioritised based on importance, ease of implementation and potential (PIE framework).
We verify redirections are in place, switch the tracking, verify the sitemap and submit the most important SEO pages for indexation and we verify robots.txt as standard post migration.
One of the major updates we worked on post migration was hreflang implementation as the client could not implement as part of the initial build. While we always recommend a clear process for migration, due to limited resources this was postponed.
Unfortunately, hreflang was not in the queue for implementation until a full month after the Sitecore migration.
Many of the 52 websites contained similar content across destinations and tours. The hreflang implementation project aimed to handle international versions of the websites to ensure Google was able to best understand which gTLD for each brand should be served according to the user’s location and language.
There was a crossover where users from New Zealand were landing on the Australian websites as a result of a stronger domain authority. Google was also actively de-indexing NZ equivalents in favour of AU pages which meant a massive reduction in organic traffic to the NZ websites.
By implementing hreflang across all 52 websites we were able to indicate to Google that all Globus Family of Brands websites should coexist on search results. Google is now able to serve the correct website to users and the sales teams are able to correctly measure their KPIs.
Since migrating to Sitecore, Globus now has a significantly enhanced platform and has achieved a more human-centric digital presence. This has made a big difference to their brand placement and revenue.
They now have a single customer view and are able to make accurate data-driven decisions. The Sitecore migration has meant a reduction of manual processes and cost savings through efficiencies. They have also communicated a new energy internally.
Always available, honest feedback even if we might not want to hear it, care about the business rather than just how much money you can get out of us.Louise PDigital Marketing Manager, Globus Family of Brands
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