Understand the concept of Adobe Analytics datalayer in 5 minutes

Data layer is one of very important concepts in Analytics set up. While starting with Adobe Analytics – it can become little tricky to understand what a datalayer is. The problem is the heavy documentation one has to read to understand its true meaning. So, here is an attempt to simplify :

What is a datalayer ?

In essence, a datalayer is a Javascript object. Just go to websites which have datalayer implemented.

Example: https://www.goindigo.in/

Go to console and type digitalData and you will get to see the data layer in action.


JFYI – even Google Analytics refer to this concept of Javascript with the same name. Note – digitalData is a convention and some sites can name this JS object differently.

If you want to read more about it, please click here

Why to use a datalayer ?

Use a data layer to collect data from a website. As a next step, send this data to Adobe Analytics to do more sophisticated analysis (ex: Pathing, Attribution and Conversion). Example : There are multiple objects like Page, User and so on. Each of these objects will have attributes which are sent to Analytics. To send the data – use either DTM or Launch. Use a data layer if you want some form of standardization across your digital properties otherwise your Launch/ DTM rules will become messy.

Is it necessary to build a datalayer for Adobe Analytics set up on a site ?

No. It is not necessary. Adobe Analytics by collects few of the variable by default. So, you can see these variables populate in your Reports & Analytics interface. However, just using these automatic variables – will not give you insights needed by the business. Example –  Which search terms are leading to more conversions ? – What path did the user follow before making a purchase. Datalayer makes the job so much easy.

How easy is it to build a datalayer ?

Well this depends on what information you want to collect from your site. But nonetheless – the process of developing a datalayer is a new development activity and the developers needs to be aware of different integrations, server calls your site is making.

Example: Product details most of the times come from a PIM (Product Information Management) system; customer details will come from your CRM/ customer database.

Who does the datalayer development ?

As you can guess from above,  it is done by technical teams – who are more conversant with Javascript and site technical configurations.

What are the next steps after datalayer build ?

Once the datalayer is built, you are all set for the next steps – Configuring the new variables in DTM/ Launch and ensure you send these variables to Adobe Analytics.

I hope this gives you a very clear understanding of datalayer. Let me know if any questions.

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