Case Study: Tealium for Media


A major media company was making a strategic shift to emphasize the subscription business model at its dozens of online and print newspaper properties. The centralized acquisition marketing team wanted more transaction, campaign and internal promotion data for its decision-making than its back-end and analytics systems provided. They sought to optimize the subscription process by better understanding where potential customers dropped off. But with hundreds of editorial, promotional and subscription sites, deploying a new analytics solution across the enterprise was daunting.


Empirical Path leveraged the Tealium iQ Tag Management System to track, report and optimize the order funnel for each newspaper website and rolled up across the business with Google Analytics (GA). We enabled attribution to last-click and assisting traffic sources as well as among internal promotions on editorial pages.

To start, we studied the underlying web technology of the 80+ newspaper websites, including the subscription order flow, on-site promotions and landing page optimization by LiveBall. Next, we created Key Performance Indicators with stakeholders who explained the organization’s digital marketing goals, approaches, resources and decision-making processes.

In one Tealium Library, Empirical Path customized tracking of key user actions and segments for a representative site, including progress through order forms. A Querystring Parameter Data Source enabled tracking of clicks on Internal Promotion as Events. A JavaScript Code Extension gathered revenue and product details from the utag_data object on confirmation pages.

We set Load Rules and deployed Lookup Table and Set Data Values Extensions to manage the multiple names, domains and GA IDs needed for dedicated and roll-up Views, including a Custom Dimension for market name, then shared the Library across all Tealium Profiles. Last, we ensured tracking was correct across all sites by adjusting settings in Tealium and GA.

To give ad campaigns and on-site calls to action credit for orders, Empirical Path created categorizations based on back-end tracking codes. We rolled out a shared tool and process to tag landing pages with UTM parameters and promotional links with other identifiers, then trained client marketers to track email, social, display and other offsite channels as well as house ads, navigation elements and exit intercepts onsite. Tealium’s Extensions and integration of GA cross-domain tracking ensured that these touchpoints were “remembered” across multiple domains, all the way through to purchase.

Finally, we translated KPIs into metrics, dimensions and filters to create Custom Reports for GA Shared Dashboards. To enable calculations, comparisons to targets and integration with other data, Empirical Path also built Google Sheet reports auto-updated with the GA Add-on. We delivered Tableau Dashboards with adjustable visualizations so that executives could generate insights by drilling down into regions and product hierarchies not available in GA.


For the first time, marketing can report on orders and revenue by campaign, promotion and product category aggregated across all 80+ sites, not just site by site. They use GA’s Model Comparison Tool and Multi-Channel Funnels to understand the paths to conversion, so first-touch, interim and and last-touch sources share credit for subscriptions.

Analysis now includes consumer demographics and interests plus funnel step dropout rates. The team measures how conversion rate, funnel shape and average order value are affected by the number of free articles available online to non-subscribers, a key lever that each newspaper can change based on these results. The client now tests new offers and creative for on-site promotions in navigation bars and pop-ups to optimize revenue per visit.

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