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SimpleSite uses data from Piwik PRO to improve ROI on daily ad spend by up to 20%

SimpleSite is a growing tech company that services more than 160.000 websites created every month.

Thousands of micro-entrepreneurs and self-employed professionals from all the countries worldwide rely on them to deliver a guided journey to success. The company helps thousands of customers each day to quickly kick start their online marketing activities by providing step-by-step guidance towards success.

SimpleSite makes it their mission to guide people to build useful small business websites that quickly get them more customers and become successful at what they do best. They market their SaaS solution in over 40 languages and deliver on a strategy that has proved itself by significantly boosting customer lifetime value (CLV).

A strategy pivot that brought new analytics priorities into play

In 2018, SimpleSite’s marketing and analytics teams weren’t working from a unified set of data.

In 2018, SimpleSite decided to join the efforts of marketers and analysts. It was kind of a novel approach. We wanted to have technical and non-technical marketers together and extract large amounts of user-level and session-level data from analytics to BigQuery. And we wanted to use that data to create modeling and improve our marketing performance.

Santi Roc Castells
Chief Marketing Officer at SimpleSite

They created a new strategy based on extracting data from Google Analytics to send it to a BigQuery data warehouse hooked up to Power BI. There was a problem, though. The Google Analytics API only provided aggregated data. Without details on the user’s clickstreams, the company couldn’t build thorough predictive models.

To get raw data at both the session- and user-level, SimpleSite would have had to upgrade to Google Analytics 360. Since this would bring hefty costs, SimpleSite came up with a workaround to hire a third-party company to extract more raw data, closer to the form they needed it in.

At the same time, they had to carefully observe changes made to the Google Analytics API. Because raw data export was a fundamental part of SimpleSite’s business model, they wanted to cut their reliance on third-party workarounds and a free product’s API.

SimpleSite was getting around 200,000 sessions and events per day. With this amount of traffic, Google Analytics was sampling our datasets, that was a problematic issue. Also, we were concerned that one day Google will shut down the APIs or that our third-party partner will close down– something in this process fails and we have troubles. We had to mitigate those risks. We had to find an alternative analytics platform.

Santi Roc Castells
Chief Marketing Officer at SimpleSite

Moreover, Google Analytics had poor data freshness and left SimpleSite with little control over the data. It was taking more than a day to extract data via API to BigQuery, while the data warehouse needed fresh data every 24 hours. Ideally, their analytics data would be 100% first-party, giving them immediate access, full control and data privacy options.

Unsampled, fresh raw data sealed the partnership with Piwik PRO

SimpleSite needed an analytics platform to get:

  • Unsampled raw data
  • Automatic, fresh data exports to BigQuery and Power BI (in 24 hours or less)
  • Support for a custom setup, including migration from Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager
  • Full control over data, including better privacy options

Piwik PRO offered all the features needed, so SimpleSite asked for a demo and arranged for a proof of concept shortly after.

SimpleSite verified the feasibility of their custom setup based on the proof of concept. They then worked with Piwik PRO solution architects to get everything properly adapted for that custom setup. For example, one of the architects worked on writing a custom raw data exporter based on the platform’s REST APIs.

After all the preparation, SimpleSite took their new setup live and saw the first session-level and user-level data flowing into BigQuery.

SimpleSite got a full introduction to the platform with onboarding meetings. Piwik PRO solution architects also migrated their tag manager setup to Piwik PRO Tag Manager, allowing SimpleSite analysts and marketers to get the data they needed right away.

Piwik PRO support was very helpful during the implementation. They quickly and precisely answered all SimpleSite’s team questions. Now it’s easy for my team to combine raw data files with other business data. I’m a digital analytics specialist and Piwik PRO data helps me conduct even better analyses than with our previous setup.

Joey Maagaard King
Digital Analytics Specialist at SimpleSite

How technical and non-technical marketing team members use the new analytics platform

Both data analysts and marketers were able to get familiar with Piwik PRO Analytics Suite fast. The team uses the drag-and-drop web interface to create dashboards.

SimpleSite uses many parts of the platform in their daily work. Thanks to the integration with Google Ads, they’re able to review Google Ads metrics, among many others from countless custom reports. They use Piwik PRO Customer Data Platform to cross-check if there are any tracking issues. This lets them combine primary and secondary IDs more easily than with tools they used in the past.

However, the key advantage for SimpleSite comes from the raw data exporter. On a monthly basis, SimpleSite tracks around 6 million sessions and events using Piwik PRO. This huge amount of data allowed the company to develop their own advertising bid management system, which helps them efficiently position themselves as a reliable and easy-to-use website builder for small companies.

Last but not least, the marketing team combines analytics data with data from other sources. Here, the platform serves as an alarm system. The team gets Slack notifications, for example when the traffic drops or conversions deviate from predicted.

Everyone in the SimpleSite marketing team knows how to work with Piwik PRO Analytics Suite. We also use Piwik PRO Tag Manager quite a lot, creating tags and triggers and implementing them. What I’m happy to say is that we really understand what we’re doing. And Piwik PRO isn’t that complicated, both technical and non-technical colleagues use it.

Santi Roc Castells
Chief Marketing Officer at SimpleSite

Reduced operational risk and more efficient online advertising

Piwik PRO helped mitigate the risks connected with tangled session-level data export to BigQuery and significantly improved SimpleSite’s stability of processing, collecting and acting on analytics data.

More concretely, the new bid management system has increased advertising ROI on daily ad spend by up to 20% compared to SimpleSite’s previous bid strategies. In addition, it significantly reduced the manpower needed to maintain that system.

Daily, Piwik PRO sends around 200,000 rows of unsampled data to BigQuery and
Power BI.
This reliable stream of data allows SimpleSite to reach their marketing goals with less effort than their previous Google Analytics setup.

They now also have full control of first-party analytics data and better data privacy features. All this means SimpleSite can stay fully focused on providing the simplest website builder on the planet.

SimpleSite’s old raw data exporter was maintained by a very small company, creating too high a dependency on a few people. With Piwik PRO, we feel far more certain concerning long-term stability in raw data exports. Most importantly, our implementation was customized to fit SimpleSite’s complex needs. And Piwik PRO helps us step-by-step, such that we have today a high quality tracking setup.

Torben Fischer
Senior Digital Analytics Specialist at SimpleSite

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