While it is true that the internet has made it easier and less costly for anyone to start and run a business (as opposed to having a brick and mortar store), a digital property requires work to gain the visibility needed to be profitable, as it could be as well a tree in middle of the forest if not properly promoted.
To be able to promote it requires digital remodeling, such as new landing pages in order to accommodate ongoing campaigns, creating page types for a new product that requires additional fields, or playing with the current layout when doing A/B and multi-variable tests. All that activity requires changes and as such the system should be monitored via ongoing audit work.
If you are not running even minor web analytics audits often, it reveals a problem, you are not optimizing your digital business enough, you are not “breaking” your infrastructure, which suggests you are not adding new content or removing the less than optimal, in essence you are potentially in a comfort zone.
In fact, every time I perform an audit for a new client -depending on how outdated the implementation- I do it with a happier-than-usual smile as it is often a low hanging fruit fest and my intervention always yields results, and while it could be an opportunity for some to criticize the person or agency that did that job, I prefer the to tell what I think is the truth:
“It is not that this is bad, technology moves fast, your site added new products as marketing campaigns and that is healthy, your site is like a child that grows.”
While every implementation must be designed to be as future proof as possible -not requiring constant changes especially massive changes- in order to maximize traffic and ROI of the whole, you are supposed to be expanding product offerings, exploring new marketing channels, mediums, shifting budgets to successful campaigns and tweaking techniques, all such activity based on actionable insights gained from previous analysis that resulted in high ROI, in short, if you are not running even minor web analytics audits often, it reveals a problem, you are not optimizing your digital business enough, you are not “breaking” your infrastructure as secondary effect of growth, which means you are not adding new stuff or removing deprecated, in essence you are in a comfort zone, and effectively leaving money on the table and allowing your tracking system to become clumsy, some kind of entropy is happening.
Price of Service: How Expensive is a Web Analytics Audit?
It depends, there are tools such as ObservePoint that do a great job automating most of the debugging and helping you perform your web analytics audit tasks and global variable evaluation (sProps, eVars, custom events, etc) much faster, however it is feasible only for big companies that can afford the subscription (which they should unless they are not doing enough optimization, “breaking” or stressing their measuring system), but for the mid and small sized business it can be expensive, in that case the audit is done using web browsing plugin debuggers such as ObservePoint, WASP or Omnibug. Desktop options include Charles and Fiddler.
Does That Mean That Mid-Sized and Small Businesses Can’t do Web Analytics Audits?
No, at smaller scale when variables are not so many, an agency such as Indexable can take care of your ongoing needs, run debugging and audit variables to make sure provide insights, keep the ones that are known to be stable and work well and dump the deprecated. Also, having someone long term who learns your business and seasonality to constantly monitor your implementation is key as it is very important to keep a lean analytics system so it does not defeat the purpose of its existence, some of the issues include:
Failing to remove variables that are not providing insights will make the system more confusing that it already is to the uninitiated; unfortunately most people are intimidated by Web Analytics but we will design an intuitive system with meaningful KPIs that will be familiar to the audience of the reports.
Extra code will slow down the website, potentially prompting the visitor -that you paid to attract- to leave your web property annoyed and look for your competitors.