8 Things to Remember When Performing On-Page Audits with Adobe Analytics

May 19, 2016 Clint Eagar

Using Adobe Analytics is the first step in gathering enterprise website data, but are you sure you can fully trust the data coming in?

Ask this question of Marketing, IT and other decision-makers and the most common response isn’t exactly reassuring.

In fact, in a survey of 130 senior IT decision makers, Incisive Business Media reports that less than one-tenth rated their organization’s ability to gather data for analysis from enterprise systems as “excellent.”

48% claimed their data collection processes were “only okay,” admitting there were gaps in their data collection strategies.

“We still don’t know what data to trust and what leads to stupid decisions” Aya Soffer, IBM
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Conducting an on-page audit of your Adobe Analytics implementation is the first place to begin to ensure you are using this powerful tool to its full capacity and eliminating any gaps in your own data collection strategy.

Use the following eight points as a reference in beginning your audit:

1. Tag Presence

When a teacher takes attendance, they usually ask one-by-one if each student is present. If the student isn’t there, no attendance can be recorded.

Data is similar to this grade-school scenario in the fact that if tags are not present on a page, no data can be collected from them.

The first point of your audit should confirm that every page on your site has consistent, up-to-date Adobe Analytics tags deployed in accordance with your unique business goals.

2. Inflated Data

Sometimes data reports can look dramatic and cause a lot of excitement, but before stakeholders get carried away, you must be sure the numbers are supported, rather than inflated.

Falsely inflated data can lead to bad business decisions and ultimately impact your organization’s costs and revenues.

Data inflation occurs when an on-page event or page view is counted more than once. Common causes of data inflation include:

    • Inconsistent tag placement. Tags might be placed anywhere on the page, making it easy to duplicate the tags inadvertently when coding the page.
    • Tags accidentally transposed from other pages
    • The tag management system in use might not prevent legacy tags used before the TMS, but still hard-coded on the page, from firing

If an old version of Adobe Analytics ends up firing on the same page as the current version of the same tag, you’ll have data inflation.

In your tag audit, be sure that duplicate tags are not present on any pages.

And if you want to take a deeper dive into the ramifications of what can happen if duplicate web tags are present, check out this post: Inflation: A Hidden Danger.

3. Vendor Compliance

No matter who your Analytics vendor is, they will have certain standards that need to be kept.

For example, Adobe requires tags to be configured within a given syntax and that certain disclosures are made on the website. If the set standards are not followed, Adobe Analytics could misrepresent or delete the data.

For example, page names and multiple traffic variables need to be less than 100 bytes, which is equal to 100 English character sets.

However, if it were shown in a double-byte character set, like Japanese, it would only equal about 50 characters. Analytics data will be completely unreliable if a large number of tags or pages don’t accommodate the vendor’s standards.

During your Adobe Analytics audit you should carefully check that your implementation meets vendor compliance.

4. Page Load Times

We live in a digital age of instant results, where we can find almost anything with the tap of a finger.

If one source isn’t quick enough, people simply move on.

According to research presented by KissMetrics, nearly “half of web users expect a site to load in two seconds or less.” And these same users tend to “abandon a site that doesn’t load within three seconds.”

It’s crucial to understand that the number of web tags on a page and their position can impact how quickly the page loads, and how that page speed can affect your customer experience and your accurate data collection. If your tags are positioned at the bottom of slow-loading pages, your users likely abandon the page before the tag fires, meaning that you are missing valuable customer behavior insight.

During your audit pay attention to your page load times and find what’s slowing you down.

5. Internal Linking

Internal linking can be beneficial, but also detrimental.

Redirects and broken links create frustration for users and affect your page rankings with search engines.

In an ideal world, all links would land on a regular page. However, if you’ve spent much time in the back-end of your site you know that’s not always the case.

If your audit shows a large amount of redirects, you should consider reviewing your organization’s redirect policy and getting rid of as many as possible.

6. Javascript Errors

Adobe Analytics will only function properly if the the JavaScript code on each page runs properly.

If there are any Javascript errors in the code, then Adobe Analytics may not load correctly.. It’s a small but vicious cycle. If Javascript errors are present, then the browser’s scripting engine is restricted, which may result in no data being collected.

7. Business Compliance

While the previously listed subjects play a large role in data quality, some data collection issues require a more thorough analysis. Business compliance specifies a set of rules and conditions which are used to verify that tags and variables are set up correctly according to the unique goals and objectives of your organization’s tagging strategy.

The documentation of that strategy is crucial in conducting your on-page tag audit.

Following your audit, your business compliance requirements should be evaluated, and a list of pages and variables that are not configured correctly provided.

A senior person who knows about the implementation design of your Adobe Analytics architecture should then review your pages and execute any strategic tagging actions as needed.

8. Possible Data Leakage

When you decide to perform a tag audit, it will most likely show additional tracking technologies on your site.

You may have authorized some of them, however, there may be some that are unauthorized which are sending sensitive data to third parties. In his recent post, “Prevent Data Leakage Before Your Analytics Sink,” Adam Gilbert writes in depth about how a tag audit can more efficiently find these leaks and keep your enterprise marketing data secure.

As you audit, keep track of the technologies you’re finding on each page, make sure you know what they are used for, and that they have permission to be on your site.

Clean Data and Peace of Mind

Remembering these basic principles will help keep your Adobe Analytics data clean and your mind clear.

While each of these points are crucial to understand, you’ve just begun to scratch the surface.

To look in-depth at these insights, and more, check out this free 21 Point Adobe Analytics Audit eBook, or take advantage of ObservePoint’s free website audit to get you started.


About the Author

Clint Eagar

Clint gets things done. He has been building websites, marketing and optimizing them for 15 years. He claims to know a little bit about a lot of things and is relied on to execute anything quickly. Clint has been with ObservePoint since the early days and has helped support, test, and promote the product. Before coming to ObservePoint he was at OrangeSoda, running the enterprise SEO team, and before that he was a business consultant at Omniture.

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