Merlin Entertainments wanted better tracking through Google Analytics, with a view to gaining access to deeper insight into campaign performance, and therefore improve user experience and effectiveness. 

“Mike King from SearchStar provided training on the Google Tag Manager (GTM) product which was of a very high quality. Subsequently he also provided consultancy that allowed us to plan a move from our legacy method of site metrics to GTM and Google Analytics. 

"He then was involved in the implementation of one of our larger and most complex brands to GTM and Google Analytics and has provided ongoing consultancy which made this complicated project a pleasure to work on. As I a result I would thoroughly recommend SearchStar and Mike King for any Google Analytics or GTM engagements.”

Michael Chang, Merlin Entertainments

Merlin Entertainments

Merlin Entertainments is a British operator of visitor attractions. It is the largest such company in Europe, and globally the second largest after Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. 

Merlin operates 89 websites across 22 countries for over 100 attractions. It's therefore critical that they are able to efficiently and reliably collect data within Google Analytics, as it enables them to make key business decisions about their marketing spend and site design.

The Objectives

Merlin’s marketing team had three problems with their Google Analytics implementation:

1.      They couldn’t add campaign tracking to their third party booking platform

2.      They had broken tracking code in certain areas

3.      Insufficient insight on campaign performance

Their payment window is an Oracle platform under a licensed agreement that has restricted development ability, as well as other technical limitations. 

Prior to speaking to SearchStar, Merlin spoke to other specialist Analytics consultancies who found the challenge too complex and therefore failed to find a solution. Finally, Merlin approached SearchStar.

The Approach

Our approach to the problem was split in two:

1.      Implement Google Tag Manager site-wide

2.      Gain access to the external JavaScript footer file held by Oracle

SearchStar provided technical consultancy, project management and code development to host the Google Tag Manager snippet on the external .js file.  

Once the solution was implemented and data was proven to be accurate, further consultancy around reporting allowed SearchStar and Merlin to ensure the configuration was suitable for the level of reporting required.

Their Results

This project has enabled one of the most significant changes to the way Merlin Entertainments controls its data management across every one of its theme parks and entertainment divisions. 

Previously, Merlin Entertainments had wanted to use new features in AdWords, Google Analytics and other third party vendors, but had been prevented from doing so because of the inability to implement additional tags. 

They had also been prevented from increasing marketing spend during peak promotional and seasonal periods, because the turn-around time for tagging and tracking requests was simply too long. In their words, the situation was “stalling the business”. 

This project has had far reaching benefits for the marketing, web development, IT and data analyst teams at Merlin Entertainments:

  • The marketing team at Merlin Entertainments can now update the tags when needed, facilitating quick campaign turnaround
  • Data analysts can be confident the data they are receiving is robust, allowing them to uncover insights on channel performance
  • The web development team has access to reporting data that enables them to uncover user journey insights that drive website design and usability projects to improve user experience and effectiveness throughout the site
  • The IT team no longer has two individuals dedicated to reporting and troubleshooting tagging, but instead is able to spend a much smaller amount of time deploying tag changes whilst dedicating resource to other IT projects.