Do you know where your website’s data stands? While you may think it’s precise, the fact of the matter is that most analytics set ups (i.e. Google Analytics set ups) are broken in some fundamental way.
Here at Americaneagle.com, our analytics experts work to ensure you’re measuring – and acting upon – the data that will enable your business to succeed. Our holistic analytics process consists of four steps: audit, remediate, visualize, and continually measure. In this blog post, we take a deep dive into the Americaneagle.com data quality audit. We’ll cover exactly what you need to know about how to define your website’s data quality.
What is a data quality audit?
A data quality audit is a process which uses various tools to evaluate a website’s data gathering accuracy. The goal is to figure out whether your site’s data set contains the quality required in order to make valuable business decisions. At Americaneagle.com, our team uses a 30-point checklist to uncover quality as well as any potential problem areas.
What are the components of a data quality audit?
There are three components: compliance, accuracy, and conversion tracking.
This component ensures that, even though you are collecting data on your users’ behaviors, you are respecting their privacy. There are two common compliance issues. The first is users’ person identifiable information (PII) passing into Google Analytics (or another data gathering tool). PII is any piece of information which can identify a specific user who visited your website and includes things like phone numbers, email addresses, social security numbers, and more. It’s OK for PII to be in a website’s content management system (CMS), but not in its Google Analytics.
The next common issue is cookie consent compliance. Cookie consent is the interaction that happens on a website between a visitor and a consent management platform (CMP) that enables users to decide whether or not they allow cookies to collect their data. Cookie consent is different for each company and you should consult with your internal legal team to determine what is right for you.
This component ensures your data is reliable. This includes things such as double attribution or false positives in any page firings that are collected into the data set. Frequently, websites are set up with multiple tracking codes which can cause accuracy issues moving forward.
Some common data accuracy problems include:
- Multiple pixel captures causing double firing
- Bot and spam traffic
- Filters that are not correctly set
3. Conversion tracking
This component ensures all of the critical touch points that define your website’s user journey successes are being tracked and report on correctly. Typically, conversions aren’t included in a general Google Analytics set up. Site admins need to set which conversions and which domains they want to track. This can be accomplished by using Google Tag Manager to create the unique interactions you’re looking to measure and then set the goal directly in analytics.
What problems does a data quality audit try to uncover?
The audit can uncover a variety of website issues including:
- Do I have any compliance issues which could cause landmines in the future?
- Does my website collect the kind of data I actually need?
- Can we trust this data? / Is there anything broken? / Where are the holes in my website?
- Is there anything that can be fixed?
Why should I do a data quality audit?
The risks of not doing an audit are threefold:
1. If you are not in compliance, you may have problems with privacy laws.
2. If people in your company don’t trust the data behind their website, they won’t be ready to use it correctly. Trusting the data leads to better adoption.
3. If you have data quality that is subpar and you’re trying to make decisions based on that data, then you’ll end up making poor decisions. Inaccurate data leads to inaccurate decisions!
How often should you perform a data quality audit?
You should perform a data quality audit every three months. This ensures that you will continuously have a full understanding of your users’ behavior on your website. After the first audit, the subsequent ones tend to go more quickly.
What do you learn once the audit is complete?
You can learn a multitude of things about your website once the audit is complete. It answers the following questions:
- Are we double tracking page views?
- Are our users being tracked across relevant domains?
- Are our events being tracked properly?
- Are our bounce rates indicating a lot of bot traffic?
What do you do next?
If there are any issues uncovered during the data quality audit, the analytics team then makes suggestions on how to resolve them. More often than not, this is where your website’s measurement strategy comes in. A measurement strategy is a thorough plan that establishes the ways business goals will be measured. It begins with a top-line business objective that gets broken down into measurable goals, key performance indicators (KPIs), metrics, and ways to analyze those metrics to inform business strategy. Measurement strategies are significant to ensuring your meeting your business goals and objectives.
While measurement strategies are significant to ensuring websites are indeed meeting their business goals and objectives, most clients we see do not have a comprehensive one in place. As a result, they don’t consistently use their numbers to guide their marketing strategies and tactics.
At Americaneagle.com, we can build you a robust measurement strategy. We also provide weekly, monthly, or quarterly analysis to measure current efforts. By keeping a close eye on analytics, we (both Americaneagle.com and your business) are able to better inform how you spend your marketing budget.
How do you get started?
If you’re not sure where your website’s data stands, let Americaneagle.com help you. Our analytics team is offering a paid audit where they take a deep dive in your site’s analytics including an analysis of compliance issues, an evaluation of data quality, and much more.