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The Importance of an Analytics Audit

In 1999, after a 461-million-mile journey, NASA’s $125million space probe crashed into Mars. The cause? One team was looking at the data in one set of units, and the other team was looking in a different set of units. What was the (rather expensive) lesson learned? The importance of validating your data.

In this pressure laden, deadline-pending world that we live in, it can be all too easy to become over-reliant and over-trusting of the data that you’re seeing on your screen.

I’m sure a lot of us are guilty of doing this. We see the traffic or revenue as reported in Google Analytics. Everything is trending upwards, everything is going well. So, we report that to the client and continue progressing with our desired strategy. But, how many of us really dig into every nook and cranny of that data and validate what we’re seeing is, indeed, what’s happening?

As a data driven agency, this is something that’s forever in the forefront of our minds. While we may not be launching space probes to Mars like NASA, the strategies that we develop based upon the data in front of us does help steer our clients’ businesses. Their success is our success and as a result, it’s something we take very seriously.

To ensure that the data we’re looking at is reflective of what is happening, we’ve gone to great lengths to develop an exhaustive Analytics Audit. Our audit looks at every angle within Google Analytics, leaving no stone unturned, to ensure that our strategies and recommendations are built upon a solid foundation.

What Sort of Errors Do You Commonly See?

Data issues can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and some are more common than others. For example, many ecommerce websites suffer from payment gateway misattribution. This is where an ecommerce website may send someone off to PayPal or Verified by Visa, and we then see revenue being attributed back to those payment gateways, rather than the true source – which may be paid media, organic or any other channel.

We also frequently identify issues within the DCG (Default Channel Grouping) too. Often, we’ll see certain organic search sources, such as DuckDuckGo and Yahoo, being attributed to the referral channel rather than the organic channel. It’s an issue that is present on the large majority of Google Analytics profiles, but unless you were to really dive into your referral traffic, you may never notice it.

Google Analytics is a fantastic tool that can provide an amazing level of insight. However, this insight is only as good as the data’s integrity.

If you’d like to discuss auditing your Google Analytics data, please get in touch with us.