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Evolving Data Audits

By 20th September 2021September 23rd, 2021No Comments

Working on data audits back end of 2020, I find it fascinating to see where brands are in their data maturity journey. The data audits were based around Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, the chart below shows the results of the 50 brands I audited.

Post audits I did some consultancy work where I will share how brands evolved their audit scores.

Understanding the audit structure 

The audit was designed to assess the degree which brands have a good data, tracking and measurement infrastructure with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. The goal of each brand would be able to answer key business questions with the data available.

Both Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager audits were structured in the same way:

  • Split into 3 categories:
    • Business Critical Requirements.
    • Business Minimum Requirements.
    • Business Advanced Requirements.
  • The scoring areas were split into 3 levels:
    • 1 – Not implemented.
    • 5 – Partially implemented.
    • 10 – Fully implemented.

Insights on evolving the Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager audits 

For the 7 brands I worked on the aim was at the end of the consultancy project was to ensure the analytics aligned with the business objectives, to build a better base, collect the right data to answer business questions and ensure the data is trustworthy.

The 7 brands were a mix of: Automotive, Retail, Hospitality and Entertainment.

(max audit score for both Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager is 150)

Google Analytics performance

Google Tag Manager performance

The aim of the article is to dissect these charts in more detail.

Google Analytics

Business Critical Requirements: (Max score 50)

The initial audit scores were:

  • 1 brand scored under 9
  • 2 brands scored between 20 and 30
  • 3 brands scored between 30 and 40
  • 1 brand scored 40+

The post audit scores were:

  • 4 brands scored 45
  • 3 brands scored 50

Looking at key scoring areas:

  • Tracking code and deployment: All brands scored a max of 10 where initially 3 brands had scored 1
  • Account setup and access: All brands scored a max of 10 where initially 2 brands had scored 10
  • Filters: All brands scored a max of 10 where initially only 1 brand scored 10

The aim was to ensure the best practices were implemented around the critical requirements. Build a solid base, key KPI’s tracked and trust in how the data is collected.

For the 3 brands who scored 10 in campaign tracking we were able to build smart channel groupings that mapped to their marketing strategy allowed the marketing teams to understand performance better.

When validating the primary KPI data from Google Analytics v sales data discrepancy hovered around 10% consistency daily over a period of a month.

Business Minimum Requirements: (Max score 60)

The initial audit scores were:

  • 2 brands scored under 6
  • 1 brand scored 10
  • 2 brands scored between 20 and 30
  • 2 brands scored between 30 and 50

The post audit scores were:

  • 3 brands scored between 40 and 50
  • 2 brands scored 55
  • 2 brands scored 60

Looking at key scoring areas:

  • Goal setup: All brands scored a max of 10 where initially 1 brand had only scored 10
  • Event tracking: 5 brands scored a max of 10 and 2 scored 5 where initially 2 brands scored 5.

The focus was to add richer insights around the Google Analytics features available. Mainly adding macro + micro goals, event tracking and error page tracking (also created as a goal) to enhance the insights available.

Business Advanced Requirements: (Max score 40)

The initial audit scores were:

  • 7 brands scored 4

The post audit scores were:

  • 2 brands scored 20
  • 5 brands scored 25

Looking at key scoring areas:

  • Calculated Metrics: All brands scored a 5 where initially all brands scored 1
  • Custom Dimensions / Metrics: All brands scored a 5 where initially all brands scored 1

Evolving the analytics was done by; funnel setup (enhanced e-commerce), custom dimensions / metrics, calculated metrics, and building out key segments. It provided a different view on performance being able to cut and slice the data in many ways.

Google Tag Manager

Business Critical Requirements: (Max score 60)

The initial audit scores were:

  • 1 brand scored 0 (did not have GTM deployed)
  • 2 brands scored between 30 and 35
  • 3 brands scored 50
  • 1 brand scored 55

The post audit scores were:

  • 7 brands scored 60

Looking at key scoring areas:

  • Main KPI’s triggers created: All brands scored a max of 10 where initially 4 brands had only scored 10
  • Variables created: All brands scored a max of 10 where initially 6 brands had only scored 5 and 1 brand scored 0.
  • Google Analytics Conversion Tag: All brands scored a max of 10 where initially 4 brands had scored 10, 2 brands 5 and 1 brand scored 0.

The focus was to make sure all brands have a solid base in their GTM implementation. The improvements made were not drastic as the chart shows but there were a few brands i.e., did not have their pageview or conversion tag implemented correctly were the most critical components in having a solid implementation.

Business Minimum Requirements: (Max score 80)

The initial audit scores were:

  • 1 brand scored 0 (did not have GTM deployed)
  • 3 brands scored between 30 and 40
  • 1 brand scored between 40 and 50
  • 1 brand scored between 50 and 60
  • 1 brand scored 60 to 65

The post audit scores were:

  • 7 brands scored 60 to 70

Looking at key scoring areas:

  • Main KPI’s triggers created: All brands scored a max of 10 where initially 6 brands had scored 5
  • Google Adwords Conversion Tag: All brands scored a max of 10 where initially 4 brands had scored 5
  • Facebook Conversion Tag: All brands scored a max of 10 where initially 3 brands had scored 10

All brands scored 60+ which ensured a robust GTM implementation, and it can deliver against their marketing requirements i.e., implementation of key platform tags (Facebook conversion tag), pausing unused tags and having a good data governance implemented.

Business Advanced Requirements: (Max score 10)

The initial audit scores were:

  • 1 brand scored 0 (did not have GTM deployed)
  • 1 brand scored 10
  • 5 brands scored 5

The post audit scores were:

  • 4 brands scored 10
  • 3 brands scored 5

Looking at key scoring areas:

  • Enhanced data collection: 4 brands scored 10 where only 1 brand had scored 10

The aim was to align the analytics to the business objectives by enriching the data and this was done in several ways:

Assessing Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager audits

All 7 brands now have a solid analytics base within Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager that can deliver against the marketing strategy. The improvements in their set-up and data collection are significant as the audit scores shows. It ultimately gives the marketing and data teams trust in the data, and it helps them answer key business questions which cannot be measured or quantified directly in this audit.

The challenge for each brand is ensuring they can take actionable insights from the data to help answer key business questions and inform their strategy.