web analytics

Have you ever been tasked with analyzing a website and find out you don’t have the data you need to accurately perform it? Or come to realize that the data you have is inaccurate? I come across this too many times. It’s a problem that can be easily avoided with process.

In this article, we’ll take a look at 4 common oversights when implementing a tracking solution on a website.

1. Improperly tracking multiple domains

Many times, websites exist across multiple domains. For example, you might have an ecommerce site that has the same look and feel with the rest of your site, but it’s on a different domain. In most cases, people think you can just put the same global tracking code on that site and everything will be fine. Sure, some of your volume metrics will be accurate, but the most important ones like bounce rate, entrances and pageviews per visit will be inaccurate. This is because common tracking solutions like Google Analytics, look at the domain as a way to tie your behavior to a single session.

Let’s take a look at an example:

Imagine your website is located at example.com and an ecommerce section of the site is at exampleshop.com. You enter the site on the homepage and click a link from the navigation to the ecommerce section of the site at exampleshop.com. Since you have the same tracking code with no additional configuration to handle this, it thinks you exited the site on the homepage and re-entered on the shop landing page. One of the biggest red flags is your tracking solution thinks you bounced when you really didn’t because you only visited one page before leaving.

There are exceptions to this case. For example, say you’re running an ad landing page and the experience is not connected with the rest of the site. In that case you might want to report them as two separate entities.

One of the first things you should ask yourself is if your site is managed across multiple domains and if you want those metrics to funnel into one ‘experience’.

2. Tracking overload

One of the worst first questions you can ask anyone when implementing tracking is ‘what would you like to track?’. The answer will almost always be EVERYTHING. There’s no need for that. It’s usually a waste of your time and bloats your reports. Look at what you’re trying to achieve with your website and establish goals first. Once you’ve done that, understand what metrics will achieve those goals and track them appropriately.

3. Lack of QA

Now I’ll admit, tracking can be tricky sometimes and it almost always isn’t retroactive. No matter all the QA in the world, you will likely run into quirks, but they can be minimized. Ensure you always have your implementation lead verify that the tags are firing properly. Then double check with your analyst that everything looks correct in the reports. As long as you have a strict implementation process, then you’ll be in good shape.

4. Stopping at the code

So your tags are firing off perfectly and everything is set, right? No, that’s not it. Make sure your reporting solution is set up to analyze those metrics properly. For example, always make sure you set up goals in Google Analytics to better understand how users are converting on your site. Or make sure you have the s.pagename and s.channel set up for each page if you’re using Adobe Analytics.


What are some oversights that you  commonly see with website analytics implementations?

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