Audit Score: Tracking Your Progress Over Time

February 13, 2012 Brad Perry

infographic of a line graph with the words

Our latest release is leaps ahead and includes more tools that you need to solve the issues that lead to digital data quality problems. Today, we’re going to talk about the audit score.

The Audit Score is a way for you to quickly gauge your data quality. It’s calculated from five criteria: tag presence, load times, status codes, duplicates, and vendor compliance.

Tag Presence: 40%
The first question that’s asked when it comes to web analytics implementation is “Am I missing any tags?” Almost every time we audit a website, we find pages that are not tagged. It’s important that every page is tagged because untagged pages don’t get counted in your web analytics tool. Missing tags tend to cause problems on every report— from simple visits to bounce rates, patching, and, in the worst cases, sales attributions.

Load Time: 20%
The next highest-impact site problem is the load times of pages. We often see JavaScript tags placed on the page after items that take a long time to load—for example video, flash, or ad tags. If the user navigates away from the page before it’s done loading, the tag may never fire, causing another lost visit to the page.

Status Codes: 20%
Error pages (Status 501, 500, 404, and 400) cause a bad user experience. Nobody likes clicking on a link that’s either dead or expired, but sometimes those links are hard to track down.

Duplicates: 10%
Duplicate tags are a real problem. They come in two flavors: as exact copies, and as slightly different configurations of the same tag. Regardless of whether there is one or more copies or slightly different versions of the tag on one page, duplicates can inflate pageview counts and every dependent metric.

Vendor Compliance: 10%
Every web analytics vendor has a specific syntax for tags. Some values must be integers, other values must be no longer than 256 characters. Breaking these rules generally causes any values passed to be truncated or ignored. Some errors—like in the account variable—can cause the vendor to completely discard data from the page.

The Ideal Score
An audit doesn’t have get a score of 100 to be considered good. Some things that might be the norm on your site—pages that load slower, for example—might be acceptable to you. In this case, the score will be several points lower than it would be otherwise. The important thing is to compare your recent score to past scores. An upward trend is what you’re looking for.

Each of these five criteria make up the score for the audit. Ideally, as you audit and maintain your site, the audit score will increase over time. The fact is, your website is constantly evolving—your web analytics should too.

 

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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