5 Tips to Bulletproof Your Mobile App and Web Analytics

September 2, 2016 Matthew Maddox

Bullet tip against black background

With all of the moving parts in your data collection processes, a lot can go wrong with your mobile app and web analytics.

There is a significant amount of know-how required to make sure that those strings of code your team worked so hard to implement actually spit out accurate and actionable data. Not something to roll your eyes at.

These tips will help you prove the integrity of your data, which not only contributes to a solid ROI, but also gives your numbers credibility within the organization. The following five tips are geared toward helping you get the most out of your mobile app and web analytics implementations by making it easier to collect accurate data and analyze it in a meaningful way.

Tip 1: Learn the Tool

Analyzing data is complex. So are the tools to help you manage your analytics. These tools are there to help, but sadly many people only learn a few basics and never dig any deeper. There is so much functionality at your fingertips, but it requires you to really dive in.

Here are some ideas for mastering your analytics solution:

  • Check your analytics contract for pre-paid training
  • Organize internal training
  • Set aside some desk hours with senior analysts
  • Join analytics groups and attend Adobe Labs   or Analytics LABS
  • Integrate a training plan into every new contract renewal

 

Some of these options may need to be added to the budget and might take additional time, but exceptional analysts are always improving and planning for the future.

Tip 2: Document the Implementation

An analytics implementation can be a maze. You have thousands of pages, most likely on multiple digital properties, and each of them is tagged just a little bit differently.

To navigate the analytics labyrinth, you need to have a map—a variable map, also called a tagging plan or solution design reference (SDR) or document.

Every organization needs to document their tagging plan, specifying when and how each tag should be configured on a website. Without this guide, variables may be configured to fire incorrectly and data quality can be distorted.

Your variable map needs to be comprehensive and should:

  • List every dimension and metric
  • Identify where each variable is collected
  • Include rules and exceptions
  • Be able to be tested against the live site
  • Describe any post collection data manipulation

 

The variable map should also be updated frequently to ensure it accurately reflects your digital implementations so that any developer can clearly understand how to implement your site and any analyst can tell what the data is supposed to look like.

Tip 3: QA Your Implementation

Even the best developers cannot expect implementations to remain flawless after that first deployment. It is essential that you test your implementations, and test them again. And again.

You should perform QA during several different phases, including:

  • At development milestones
  • Just before deployment
  • After pushing the site into production

 

This process validates that everything you’ve worked hard to set up correctly stays that way and that your collected data is complete and clean.

There are several debugging tools, like ObservePoint’s TagDebugger™, to help you perform QA on all the tags in your mobile app or web analytics implementation.

Tip 4: Learn JavaScript (& HTML)

To understand and troubleshoot analytics, you have to know the technology you’re working with and the language it speaks.

Knowing JavaScript and HTML earns points with your IT team and helps you better understand the process of collecting key marketing data. You don’t have to be an expert coder—that’s why we have developers—but a little knowledge goes a long way.

If you can do a little troubleshooting yourself, you’re going to save a lot of time and effort because you’re giving the developer a little bit of a head start, and that bit of extra effort might make them more likely to help you out sooner rather than later.

There are several online resources for learning these coding languages:

  • W3schools.com
  • JavaScript.com
  • Stackoverflow.com

Tip 5: Don’t Double the Analytics

I recently published a three-part blog series about this common pitfall.

Many organizations fall into the trap of thinking that because some web analytics tools are “free” that they ought to double-up the analytics in order to “validate” their data. Some of the problems with this are:

  1. Different tools measure differently
  2. Nothing is free that you have to dedicate employee time and resources to learn, adopt and manage
  3. How can you know which tool’s data is correct?
  4. Analytics tools are not validation tools

If you have implemented two sets of web analytics on your site, I strongly recommend that you pick one and stick with it. However, because you need validation, it’s important to use an auditing tool that was meant for the job.

Take a test drive with ObservePoint’s auditing tool to see what validation can do for your site.

Bulletproof Mobile App and Web Analytics

In order to maintain a competitive edge in today’s industries where data drives decision-making, your mobile app and web analytics need to be on point.

In order to anticipate your customers’ needs and provide an exceptional experience, your data about them must be accurate. When it comes down to it, you can’t afford to not have bulletproof analytics.

Learn more about these five tips from our eBook:  5 Tips to Bulletproof Your Analytics.

 

About the Author

Matthew Maddox

Matt’s mission is to educate and enable customers to use the marketing technologies they select for their sites most effectively. Matt delivered training at Omniture and Adobe for over eight years before joining ObservePoint. He was the dedicated trainer for several global companies, creating and delivering custom courses based on their corporate business requirements. With a wealth of experience solving analytics questions in many industry verticals, including e-commerce, media, finance, lead generation and automotive, Matt offers sound direction and analytics insight.

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