How often should I audit my site?
It all hinges on your business, your tools, your resources, and your environment. Here are six questions to consider to point you in the right direction.
#1. How often do you deliver reports?
This might be the most practical factor in determining audit cadence. If you’re delivering reports toward the beginning of a new month, it’s a good idea to supplement reports with a recent audit score, which will communicate to your business users that the report data is accurate.
This seems like a good place to start, but be careful that you’re looking at audits well ahead of the time reports are due, especially as you’re starting out. We’ve never seen any new customer start out with perfect data
#2. What are your release cycles?
One of our best practice suggestions is to synchronize your audits around the time when code is changed. Releases, even if your deployment isn’t supposed to change, present an obvious opportunity for tagging problems to crop up. Consider auditing immediately after a code push has happened so you can detect whether tags have changed. If you detect major issues after this audit, you can petition for a hotfix or at least have the issue known and documented.
#3. How frequently does content change?
Your website is probably very fluid, and changes often. Correctly measuring your site means that your measurement strategy (the way your tags are set up) is key to maintaining data quality over time. Every change introduces an opportunity for error. So if your website is changing often, you should isolate the rapidly moving parts and watch them more closely by auditing more often.
#4. Is your business seasonal?
If you expect surges of website activity around holidays, you ought to consider auditing more before the peak time of year, and through the peak as well. This will help you prepare for vital measurement activities as well as have confidence that during the peak cycle, your digital marketing tools are operating at their best.
#5. What else is in your technology stack?
Do you manage just a web analytics tool? Two tools? Maybe a targeting platform as well? Do you own a TMS? The complexity of your technology stack can influence what and when you should audit. If you are responsible for one or two analytics systems, you might audit more frequently, and in a more focused manner. If you’re managing an entire stack and a TMS, you might perform less often, but more encompassing audits along with micro-focused, rapid tests using tools such as TagDebugger™.
#6. What are your internal resources?
This is one factor that might cause you to audit less. The fact is, there’s always too much work to do. An automated tag auditing platform is a timesaver—after all you’re not having to do as much manual debugging. This is a good thing, but be aware that an automated system can generate a lot of data—and that can translate into work overload. Ultimately, you only want to audit as often as you can handle taking action on the data.
… It depends!
Digital marketing data quality management is an emerging competency, and we’re constantly learning more ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Fortunately for you, we employ a full staff of technical consultants and auditing experts to help you assess your needs and develop a plan that specifically addresses your situation. Think you might need an audit? Get a mini-audit for free, and see what data you’re missing.
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