Article Google Analytics

Digging for gold inside your website code

When we talk about data in an organisation, there are some types which we immediately think of:

  • Customer data
  • Address data
  • Product data
  • HR data
  • Finance data

All of these categories of data are critical to running a business, and sorting out that data will greatly benefit the business.

But lots of people are doing that (or, at least, trying to do that).

Instead, what about focusing on the data that others aren’t focusing on? That would give you some differentiation.  It might even be an unfair advantage. For example, the tracking data on your websites.

Let me explain.


Sound familiar?

At the time of creating your company’s website, one of the first things you probably did was to deploy Google Analytics.  It helped you to see how many visitors you had and to track performance.

Maybe it was you who set it up.  Maybe it was your colleague.  Maybe it was the intern who you took on because they said they had social media skills.

Perhaps this is what happened…

Month 1 – You logged in to the analytics every day.

Month 2 – The line graphs seemed okay.  They looked pointy and went up a bit.

Month 3 – You received the email with a link to this month’s report.  You haven’t read it yet.

Month 6 – You think that you really must look at those analytics emails some time.

Month 12 – Google Analytics?  We used to have that.  Not sure what the log in is.  Might have expired.

Month 13 – You read a LinkedIn post about the power of website analytics.  It inspires you but you know you didn’t do it properly last time, so you hire in a web or SEO consultancy.  They know what to do.

They deploy a whole new set of tags, some in Google Analytics, others in Google Tag Manager or Search Console; creating new metrics to track conversion.  However, you now find that all the data from comparative periods changes; such as the bounce rate dropping as you are “over-firing” the tag.  So, you “start again”.

Month 14 – GOTO Month 1

…and repeat, this time with a new agency perhaps looking at UX or advertising. With them comes a whole new set of tags, and more products like Facebook Pixels or Hotjar.


A typical situation.  Is it really so bad?

Well yes it is, for these reasons…

  1. “Too many cooks spoil the broth”.  Each agency will have their own way of deploying code.  Some will do it via the website’s CMS; others via tools such as Tag Manager.
  2. You now have a load of cookies being dropped onto users’ systems from your website.  This data is being sent to various third parties that have full access to their browsing data. You are almost certainly breaching GDPR in some way.
  3. There are analytics being run on your website which you can’t access, but someone else can.  Perhaps that intern who nowadays works for a competitor?
  4. The web pages load more slowly, which irritates your users and lowers your page rank on Google.
  5. Each time an agency needs to deploy code, they could require access to two or three accounts – the CMS, Tag Manager and Google Analytics.
  6. If a tag goes wrong, it is difficult to determine who is accountable.
  7. People may have used personal accounts for access to Google Tag Manager.  These people may have left, or the agency may no longer be working with you – but with a few lines of code, they could take down your entire site.

The code and content on your websites probably creates more data than all the other areas of your business combined; and you should be governing it like any of the more well-known data types (e.g. customer, product, finance) above.


Grabbing that unfair advantage

Can you answer these questions about your website tracking and analytics?

  • What data have you got?
  • Who is the subject matter expert?
  • Who can access it?
  • How do you know if it’s any good?
  • How can you fix it if it’s not good enough?

Don’t feel bad if you can’t.  Not many can.  This is your area of opportunity.  Opportunity that you are getting through applying established concepts in new ways, to deliver benefits which others won’t have.

So what’s stopping you grabbing this unfair advantage? Send me a message if you would like to get started.

Fusion Analytics Guest Author:

Charles Joseph (Datazed)