So, you have a Google Analytics account, great! But, when was the last time you audited your data? Do you rely on this data to make business decisions? The key to making informed business decisions and understanding user behavior on your site is first being able to trust your data. In this article, we will review questions you should ask and why you should audit your Google Analytics account regularly.
The Importance of Google Analytics Audits
A Google Analytics (GA) audit or health check is a run-through of your GA account to review setup, data validity, and tracking implementation on your site. Before completing an audit of your GA account, you should first ask some questions about your data:
- Can you trust the data?
- What is broken?
- Where are the gaps?
- What can be improved?
An audit will help you answer these questions and find solutions so you can make actionable decisions on accurate data. And for you to trust your data, you must audit it regularly to ensure you have the correct tracking in place.
Reasons to Audit Regularly
1. Get Ahead of Issues
Being proactive about auditing your data can help you uncover quality issues before they become a problem. In Google Analytics, you can’t fix historical data so keeping a close eye on your data will ensure it will always be useable and accurate.
2. Code and Content Changes
Code changes to a site can impact your analytics tracking, especially if you are utilizing the data layer or GTM for the triggering of tags or data collection. These changes can happen frequently, and without intention, can cause tracking to break. Monitoring your analytics account and staying informed of site changes will give you peace of mind that these code changes will not negatively impact your data quality.
3. Compliance with Data Privacy Regulations
Sending Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to Google Analytics is prohibited in their Terms of Service agreement and could result in your account being terminated and data deleted. PII is considered names, social security numbers, email addresses, or similar data, including data that can permanently identify a device. When PII is unintentionally sent to Google Analytics, it is most often found in the page path parameters. Third parties will sometimes attach email addresses for their reporting, but it is often overlooked how this will affect Google Analytics. Frequently auditing your GA reports will ensure you catch any new PII being captured and allows you to put a fix in place to ensure you are always compliant.
Top Questions for Technical Google Analytics Audits
When conducting a GA audit, some checkpoints are more important than others because they have a bigger effect on data validity. Below are some audit checks that should be reviewed frequently to ensure the core of GA tracking is accurate.
- Does each page have the right UA tracking code?
- How many times does the tracking code fire for a page?
- Is there only one tracking variant of the deployment type?
Other Common Tracking Issues
Along with checking the deployment coverage of the GA script, there are a handful of other checkpoints that need to take place. Below are some audit checks that are reviewed in the GA interface and ensure the validity of GA reporting.
- Single domain tracking (if applicable)
- Self-referrals excluded
- Excluding spiders, bots, and spam traffic
- Filtering in place
- Time zones not matched
- Error pages not tracked
- Duplicate ecommerce data not filtered
- Google Ads and Google Search Console integration
- Accurate shopping and checkout funnels
- Site search tracking enabled
- Campaign setup
Evidence is everything when it comes to making strategic business decisions and reliable data provides the hard facts you need. To ensure your data is trustworthy, conducting thorough analytics audits is a good habit to get into. Asking the right questions and reviewing the necessary checkpoints can prevent common technical and regulatory issues on your ecommerce site. Our Analytics Specialists have audited over 50 sites and typically find between 5-10 violations and suggestions for improvement. In need of support for your analytics implementation? Reach out today and ask about our complimentary audit services.