Web Analytics Tag Audit and Whose Responsibility It Should be?

From my own experience, web analytics tag audit seems to be overlooked by the majority of small and medium size online businesses.

This is probably due to several factors.

1. Web analytics is still not utilized in this group of business to its full potential, and it’s used just to ‘check’ what’s happening on the site. This is from my observation when working at an online media agency.

And you probably won’t believe me if I tell you, that I came across an online business making over $1 million a month from its websites, and they didn’t even have Google analytics installed! However, 3 months after we installed web analytics, we increased checkout conversion by 22.32% which equals an increase in revenue by $106,769 monthly, and demo downloads by 10.49%!

Just to put things straight here; if you install Google analytics, or any other web analytics tool on your site, it won’t make a darn difference in your conversion. It only makes the difference if you mine useful data from these tools, then act on it, as in our case, by doing A/B testing.

2. Lack of tools and it’s not cheap. There are around 3 or 4 free web analytics tag audit tools I’m aware of. However, these tools will scan only up to 200 pages. The problem: if you have an eCommerce website or a site with a blog, then very likely you have more than 200 pages. Plus, it isn’t cheap, as normally this cost from $750 and upwards depending on how many pages your site has.

3. Seems like nobody knows whose responsibility is it. The current state is that SME businesses usually outsource their SEO or PPC to an agency. In most cases these businesses don’t have a dedicated web analyst, and as mentioned above, use analytics just to ‘check’ the data.

An agency obviously does its PPC or SEO job for its client, but many times doesn’t question data integrity simply because it’s very difficult, if not impossible to spot that your web analytics tags are missing, apart from when they have been removed from some of the top landing pages. Secondly, it’s not the agency’s job.

So the question is, whose responsibility is it? Technically, it should be a web analyst, who along with your monthly report should also audit the site, to ensure the data reported is usable data and not junk.

But as I described above, most of the SME businesses don’t have a dedicated web analyst. So the next person should be your marketing manager. In my opinion it should be their responsibility to carry out a monthly web analytics tag audit.

How do analytics tags get removed?

In most cases it’s during some development or design changes on sites. And usually it’s the last thing on anyone’s mind to ask about analytics tags and if they are still there.

Also, in some cases it could happen during the actual analytics set up process, when if a site is template based, we forget to add it to a header template which for some reason is being used on some category section.

How often should you do an analytics tag audit?

There isn’t a hard rule, but in my opinion any website team/owner that lives by the data and creates analytics dashboard reports at least once a month, then actually acts on the data and uses their analytics data to make marketing decisions, should do it when the data is being presented.

Does that mean if you don’t live by data, and don’t act on it accordingly that we don’t need to do it?

Absolutely correct! In this case it would be a waste of your money just to check that your site is tagged properly and is counting well.

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Jan Petrovic
I have 9 Years of Tremendous Experience as web analyst and Senior Conversion Specialist. I have worked on optimisation project for the second-largest store retailer in the USA (the company is also a component of the S&P 500 Index), as well as for a well-known USA fashion retailer with over 380 stores nationwide. Over the course of my career I have achieved many INSANE improvements on our client’s websites, sometimes by applying best practices, another time from findings I made during conversion audits and sometimes thinking out of the box. For one of them I have even received an award in 2012 from WhichTestOne, where after testing different emails and parts of email message we increased revenue by 303.08%. What might also interest you is the fact that my average conversion improvement is 19% and my success rate is 70%. Basically, I’m VERY GOOD at what I do thanks to my Can Do Attitude to find solutions to given problems & Experience in this field.
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