Search
Close this search box.

Validate your data and sleep easy at night

To an analyst, there’s not a lot worse than having your boss question the validity of your work. So how can you ensure that you remain as accurate as possible over the long haul, sleep well at night, and confidently respond to the accuracy question?

To an analyst, there’s not a lot worse than having your boss question the validity of your work.  If you’re making business decisions or providing recommendations based on data, then you obviously need it to be as accurate as possible. The problem is there are many different ways your data accuracy can go awry.

Here’s a few common ones you may not be aware of:

  • position of code on page – yes this still impacts web analytics
  • speed of connection / speed of click away – if the page hasn’t fully loaded and a visitor clicks away, they’re not tracked
  • changes to browser technologies – browsers change all the time and they don’t care about your measurement
  • cookies – some deny them by default, some allow them, but cookies still remain the mainstay of the visitor identification
  • tagging errors – mistagging something through the chain of command is common; what you describe to your dev team is not always what you get back
  • missing tags – new feature sets across the site and new pages added with no tags are still very common problems

Because of this web analytics is generally used as a directional tool – I don’t think you’d find anyone that will swear blind it’s 100% accurate.  Out of the box, a standard implementation can normally be within 5-7% of internal systems when capturing things like revenue and orders etc.  However, with a bit of extra work, it can be within 1% of internal systems – and that’s what we should all strive for.

Getting there can be a bit of process.  Staying there can be even harder.

So how can you ensure that you remain as accurate as possible over the long haul, sleep well at night, and confidently respond to the accuracy question?  Well it’s now a little easier by using tag auditing services.

ObservePoint

A couple of years ago we started using a service from the US called ObservePoint to help provide quick and cost effective solutions for large scale tag validation across websites. We were so impressed with the service that we’ve included it in our standard implementation and validation process.

ObservePoint crawls across the target website and captures all of the data that is sent into the analytics (and other) platforms. It then generates a set of reports that show whether pages are tagged, what’s been tagged, how many errors there are, what the errors are, etc.  They now support 110 tags across Analytics, Advertising, Ad Measurement, Data Management, Behavioural Targeting, Split Testing, Video, Tag Management, eCommerce, Voice of Consumer, Lead Tracking and Social Media.

And they’ve got some pretty fancy technology behind it all too.  Instead of just looking in the source code for your tags, their servers across the US, Australia and the UK  actually render the page in a browser.  By rendering the page they get the full picture – they see all of things that will be sent to your analytics platform.  And, as they actually execute the Javascript, they can also report on JS errors.

But don’t worry, they won’t inflate your numbers either, they intercept the vendor call and stop it from being made.

They can also get “beyond the firewall”; checking tags on password-protected sites, dev environments, intranets and other non-public sites.  Perfect for that pre-launch comfort.

You can also get a full data extract into Excel that shows the page URL and all of the props, eVars, events, campaign codes plus a whole heap of other data useful for quickly reviewing everything, particularly if you use the Excel Filter feature.

But it doesn’t stop there – you can automate things so you get a monthly scheduled audit done, you can also get SMS or email alerts when tag values change or simulations fail.

Governance

This all leads back to governance.  Having your tags working correctly as well as ensuring that development teams implement correctly and consistently, all helps toward having a stable and reliable data set.  If you’re struggling with governance internally, you can use auditing to measure the accuracy over time and from that you can calculate the impact to the business.

With information like that, you should be able to get stakeholder support for governance – especially if your boss consistently asks about validity.

Sleep well

Companies like ObservePoint allow us to sleep well at night, safe in the knowledge that someone is helping us to keep a watchful eye on our tags and, in turn, helping you change your answer from “I think” to “I know”.

The content and advice contained in this post may be out of date. Last updated on January 6, 2014.

Contact us

to discuss a range of services and support to suit your business needs and goals.

* Required field

Latest Blog Posts

Need Some Help?

We can work onsite or remotely with you and your team to provide capacity uplift or ongoing support as you need.

Need additional MarTech resources to supplement your team for special projects or to provide given expertise?

Data quality and integrity is key to any data strategy. We undertake audits and health checks that can give you peace of mind.

If you know your data could be working harder, but you’re not sure where to start, we can help.

We can help you build dynamic dashboards based on important metrics to fully inform the business.

Is it a CDP or a DMP that is right for your organisation? Let us help you work through the pros and cons.

Let us show you how to bring your online and offline data together to create a best picture of your customers.

Free assessments

Martech Talks: The End Of Cookies

This webinar was recorded in May 2024.

Note that the information contained in this presentation should not be taken as legal advice. Digital Balance and its partners recommend that you undertake your own legal investigation.

Martech Talks: The Four Stages Of Attribution Excellence

This webinar was recorded in April 2024.

Download the full 2024 Digital Experience Benchmarks report from Contentsquare.

Note that the information contained in this presentation should not be taken as legal advice. Digital Balance and its partners recommend that you undertake your own legal investigation.

Martech Talks: The Four Stages Of Attribution Excellence

This webinar was recorded in October 2023.

Note that the information contained in this presentation should not be taken as legal advice. Digital Balance and its partners recommend that you undertake your own legal investigation.

Martech Talks: Privacy and Data Governance

This webinar was recorded in August 2023.

Note that the information contained in this presentation should not be taken as legal advice. Digital Balance and its partners recommend that you undertake your own legal investigation.

Martech Talks: Privacy Changes and Data Security

This webinar was recorded in July 2023.

 

Note that the information contained in this presentation should not be taken as legal advice. Digital Balance and its partners recommend that you undertake your own legal investigation.