Sometimes things break for [seemingly] no reason. Given the complexity of most site and application deployments in the age of mashups, social media, tag proliferation, big data, mobile, and quickly evolving standards, errors and breakage shouldn’t be so shocking.
Unfortunately, the breakage of web measurement code is harmful to business processes and early detection of these events is challenging. Unless bad data appears in your analytics platform at a high enough volume to be noticeable or it’s caught in a QA process, the proverbial smoke can go unseen until the forest fire is raging. That is, unless you’ve configured a proactive alerting system.
What is a proactive alerting system?
The mechanism for proactive alerting to web tracking is simple, although some forethought and design specific to each situation is appropriate. But the result is exactly what it sounds like – a continuous background testing process that verifies the deployment and function of tags. And when a test fails, you’re notified immediately.
In their white paper, Web Analytics Demystified recommends that on certain pages, you’d be notified whenever a new tag is added, a tag is removed or absent, or when pre-determined variable is not populating correctly. We agree with this approach. Start by identifying high-value content. What content is most important to driving and measuring conversion? Where are conversion metrics most strongly influenced? Where is the most money being made and spent on the site? What is most visible to management stakeholders? Start here.
Proactive, Powerful and Practical
Most of our customers receive their proactive alerts through ObservePoint Simulations. Simulations test specific content for specific measurement tools at a specific interval. For example, set up an alert on:
- A campaign landing page for search marketing tags with campaign parameters four times per day.
- A video for the Adobe Analytics tags that fire at the start, 25%, 50%, 75%, and finish, once per day.
- A three-step form, where depending on how a user completes the form, each step changes the experience. Variables are populated according to the experience chosen by the user in the previous steps. Confirm the functionality of each test in a pre-specified scenario every hour.
This type of proactive alerting is quite powerful and becomes a key part of measuring and improving data quality in the enterprise. Think you can use a data quality tune-up? Request a complementary audit.
This post is based on the white paper Data Quality and the Digital World by Eric T. Peterson, Principal consultant at Web Analytics Demystified.
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