Blog

Determining the Quality of Your Data Collection Processes

Adam LaCaria

Senior Data Analyst, Forum One

Looking at your data as a means of decluttering chaos is a sensible thing to do. Fact-driven decisions based on data analysis is what most organizations strive for in our digital age—if not entirely—at least to support some core aspects of a business. Determining your data quality to inform decision-making can provide that golden key to an impactful solution.

However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, taking the time to consider data source integrity, data collection processes, and the absence of data are the most valuable tasks. Before deciding on new data to collect, consider the following aspects in regards to your digital properties. 

Data Source 

You should ensure the validity of your source data before conducting any kind of analysis. Oftentimes, it is assumed that data is accurate by default. How can a web-property possibly be funneling wrong information into Google Analytics? However, depending on your site’s configuration and what your organization expects to be tracked, this can be drastically different from what you see within your data. 

Considerations 

  • One-page applications such as React-JS require custom tracking for proxy pageviews. Otherwise, a pageview is only recorded a single time upon landing on the site or application. 
  • Did you switch from “gtag” to Google Tag Manager? If so, was the gtag completely removed? Double tracking is the most common issue we encounter on old sites.

Data Collection Process 

Data collection goes hand in hand with data validity. When implementing certain tracking mechanisms, it’s important to ensure the collection process is what you’d expect. Collection can be the trickiest part of your data management process to troubleshoot due to reporting giving an illusion that nothing is wrong when really the logic of your data collection is inaccurate. 

Considerations 

  • By default, subdomains and domains do not track a continuous session. This often inflates users and sessions if multiple subdomains share the same tracking ID but cross-domain tracking is not enabled. 
  • Review tag firing priority and triggers if using Google Tag Manager. Firing a tag before a site loads the HTML structure can skew just about every metric. 

Absence of Data

Incomplete data can throw off any analysis. It’s important to caveat key findings with not only the data you do have access to but the data you don’t as well! 

Considerations 

  • Embedded iframes do not inherit any tracking tags by default. This leaves any actions within iframes completely untracked. 
  • When functioning properly – GDPR compliant cookie banners will often leave out a lot of your audience. It’s important to keep in mind that your reporting does not encompass your entire audience if you have any opt-in tracking mechanisms.  

Looking into how you collect data will help ensure that when you need to make decisions using it, you can rest assured that the information is accurate.

Written By

Adam LaCaria

Senior Data Analyst, Forum One

Need help with your data?

Let’s chat! Our data experts are here to help!