Audits and Journeys: What’s the Difference?

December 3, 2014 Brad Perry

ObservePoint Product Screen on an Apple computer

Tags are difficult to deploy, even more difficult to maintain, and are likely the leading cause of headaches among analysts and digital marketers. When it comes to the practical aspects of managing tags and data quality, a little help can go a long way. ObservePoint offers two tools to help you ensure your tags are functioning properly: audits and journeys.

Website Audit

Audits are periodic scans of specific segments of your website. They’re snapshot views of the tags and technologies deployed on your website at a specific moment in time. They work in a similar way to Google’s index bots in that they crawl through links on each page. The difference here is that they collect data for onPageLoad and onClick events, and they also track some page performance data such as page load time, HTTP Status code, and tag load order.

A website audit is similar to a home inspection. During a home inspection, the inspector is charged with identifying any structural issues that violate housing regulations. The inspection is therefore prescriptive, finding anything that damages the value, marketability and usability of the home.

Website Audits Are Prescriptive

A home inspection and an audit are similar in all of these ways—the goal of both is to ensure the asset meets certain standards of quality. With a website audit, website stakeholders can generate the prescriptive information they need to bring tag deployments and data quality up to code.

Journey

Unlike audits, which scan large portions of your site in an essentially random order, journeys are targeted, high-frequency tests of specific paths on your website. They differ from audits because in journeys you specify exactly what action to take on each page, the order of those actions and the conditions to test during each action. When a condition fails, ObservePoint generates an alert.

Journeys are most effective for testing web paths central to the purpose of your site, such as adding items to a cart, downloading content or making a purchase. In the case of any of these, it would be good to know of any tracking errors as they happen.

To draw another analogy, journeys are like emergency sensors in your home, such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, motion sensors, etc. These devices focus on specific areas and specific dangers, and are monitoring for these threats around the clock. When a sensor is tripped, an alarm sounds. With these sensors in place, you have security that your property is protected over time from specific threats.

Web Journeys Are Preventative

Sensors and web journeys are similar in all of these ways, and as a homeowner, you want to be alerted any time an event occurs that threatens your property (your home or your data). Web journeys generate alerts so that when tags fail (and they do!) you will be able to take immediate action.

The Bottom Line

Website audits and web journeys work hand-in-hand to protect against data quality problems. By applying the practices outlined in the data quality management process, you will be able to keep your company running on clean, consistent digital marketing data.

Think your data can use some clean-up and protection? Schedule your free tag audit.

 

About the Author

Brad Perry

Brad Perry has been Director of Demand Generation at ObservePoint since June 2015. He is, in his own words, “unhealthily addicted to driving marketing success” and has demonstrated his unrelenting passion for marketing in various verticals. His areas of expertise include demand generation, marketing operations & system design, marketing automation, email campaign management, content strategy, multi-stage lead nurturing and website optimization.

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