Efficient audit practices ensure exceptional data quality and accuracy.
It all simply begins like this. You want to gather more actionable data through website monitoring to make smarter decisions. So, you decide to accelerate your data streaming process by adding complex configurations in your website analytics tools.
Your organisation needs to follow certain best practices of audits to ensure quality data and avoid mistakes that lead to data discrepancies.
So, if you want to be confident about your data and reduce wasting time on quality checks and re-tagging we suggest you read till the end.
For your convenience, we have categorized the best practices for an internal audit during website monitoring in the following sections:
1. Efficient Tag Structure
Setting global standards to your tags brings uniformity and ease of usability in reports. A good way to achieve this is using the ‘3 Con’ and ‘2 Cle’ structure.
2. Maintain Character Limit
We often create tags in which the dimensions include more characters than required as shown in the screenshot.
In doing so, the tag length becomes too long to understand, and all such tags end up in the reporting tool making it difficult for the analyst to interpret them. Maintain character limits not only from a technical point of view but also to simplify things for the end user.
3. Assign friendly names to pages
If you don’t assign friendly names to pages, the website analytics tool automatically picks up the URL. This can have various issues such as;
4. Use Tag Management Solutions (TMS)
Tagging in the website source code affects the performance of the page and increases IT development cycles. It is recommended to migrate to Tag Management Solutions (TMS) so that tags are triggered asynchronously without affecting page load time. Additionally, it provides another layer of abstraction to manage the complexity of large website analytics. In the process of validation, identify the tags that are firing from website source code and work towards the migration to TMS.
1. Use Debuggers
Browser-based debuggers (developer tools) are used to view website analytics requests (tags). However, web debugging proxy tools such as Charles, Fiddler etc., provide more options as they can be used in debugging tricky problems that go undetected when browser debuggers are used.
2. Filter Keywords
Each website analytics server call or marketing pixel can be viewed by using appropriate filter keyword in the website analytics tag debugger. Using the wrong keyword results in viewing no or unwanted tag.
Also, mobile app tags are sometimes sent in batches. In those cases, the tag can be filtered using “/batch” as the keyword.
3. Be cautious about duplicate tags
Every CTA link on a page should be uniquely tagged so that it’s easy to track. This can be achieved by using unique keywords in the tag like product ID, description etc, which would help in preventing a repetition of characters in the tag.
For e.g. the “Clicks” data for both the interactions above is collected in the same variable, c54. As shown in the image, both the tag descriptions have the same product id (12345). This would lead to quality data being collected twice for the same product, and no data for the other.
4. Be wary of unwanted tags
During an audit, keep an eye on all the tags that are fired. There may be cases where a tag that is supposed to be fired for some other interaction may also fire in the current scenario. For e.g. when you view a form, a “video is viewed” tag should not fire or vice versa.
5.Have appropriate Tag Description.
A tag should contain the correct and complete description of the interaction it has been associated with.
In the e.g. below, if there is a ‘shop now’ interaction on the page, the tag should contain the word, ‘shop now’ and not be a get coupon.
6. Check for HTTP status codes
When the browser sends HTTP request to the server, the server sends back an HTTP Response with any one of the status codes such as 200, 404, 302 etc., Generally, a successful response is denoted by 200 which means the website analytics data is entering the respective website analytics tool. Even a tag with 302 (redirect) response enters the analytics tool. However, when status codes are 400, 404 etc., then there is an error on the client side and this need to be investigated further.
7. Validate across different browsers & mobile responsive modes.
It is best to validate your website analytics tags in at least 2 different browsers to ensure data quality. Also, if the website is responsive then it is recommended to validate using mobile or tablet device browsers. In the absence of mobile or tablet device, it needs to be validated using mobile responsive mode of the browser. This is required because at times HTML/CSS selectors vary across different modes, resulting in either no firing or misfiring of tags.
8. Check Analytics Real-time reports
In many cases, the tags accidentally send data to a different reporting profile or data is not as expected after it reaches the reporting tool. Check the real-time reports on regular basis as a part of tag validation to prevent this issue and ensure that quality data gets collected correctly.