We have been highlighting the ten tips to achieving data quality nirvana based on the tips provided in the Web Analytics Demystified whitepaper Data Quality and the Digital World. Once you have tackled steps one, two and three, you need to establish a rhythm.
Finding your rhythm
Developing a rhythm will ensure that the regular verification and validation of your data collection environment becomes part of your organization’s digital DNA. We recommend two ongoing scanning rhythms:
- Perform weekly “difference” scans to determine what, if anything, has changed.
On most complex sites a lot is changing on a weekly basis. Rather than try and wade through your entire site and confirm each and every page, Web Analytics Demystified recommends looking only at the pages on your site that have changed.
How you do this will depend on the service you use, but if you have good documentation on your site’s deployment (perhaps via a version control system) you can simply feed your auditing solution changed URLs to confirm that they are tagged properly.
- Perform monthly “full” scans to ensure complete and accurate data collection.
Regardless of how often your site changes, Web Analytics Demystified recommends doing a monthly complete scan of your sites to confirm data collection is occurring as planned and, if not, create a priority list of collectors that need to be repaired.
Depending on the relative stability of your site, the results can be either easily read or overwhelming; fortunately ObservePoint helps you very quickly identify areas that need attention, all the way down to the level of the URL and variable needing attention.
A regular scanning cadence will help your organization avoid data pollution by providing you with the documentation necessary to avoid what Robert Miller, writing for ClickZ in an article on why data pollution is on the rise, says is key to helping with the constantly changing landscape of digital analytics technologies.
According to Miller, “Documentation is boring, uneventful, and there are dozens of other things you would rather be doing. But keeping good documentation on the tracking methods you have deployed will help you out when someone in your organization needs to know how something is tracked, or why something was deployed a certain way. And with the number of tags being placed on sites on the rise, losing track of what tags go where and what each one is actually tracking is an increasing problem.” This documentation simply can’t happen if your organization isn’t doing regular scans.
Conducting regular scans is vital to your organization’s overall digital quality health. Keeping things consistent will ensure you get the documentation you need in order to make the best digital analytics decision for your organization.
The next tip that we will discuss? Audit Data Collection.
This post is based on the whitepaper Data Quality and the Digital World by Eric T. Peterson, Principal consultant at Web Analytics Demystified.
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