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« Repeatable Analytics | Main | A Sad Goodbye »


Our biggest challenge with data integrity is lack of proper testing when data points are either introduced or maintenance is done to a page/functionality. I stress repeatedly (with limited success) the importance of testing. and it needs to be proper testing done by someone who understands what it is they are doing, not interns or temp help with little to no competent direction. I've seen far too many 'testers' assume that if data is showing up then it's working; visible data DOES NOT equal correct data. Just prior to reading this email I was asked for some data on some promo spots on our site, which after a cursory glance at Omnibug showed that each clickthru was being recorded twice. Easy to see if it had been tested beforehand instead of after the fact. Now I'm in the situation of trying to figure out if this data is at all usable: can I simply cut the numbers in half? When did this data duplication start? Is it happening in isolated enough instances where it won't distort the results enough to matter since the question being asked by the Marketing group is a very high level trending with no real definition of success measures?

It is so much easier and time efficient to test before than try and find and fix later.


Great point.Testing in Web Analytics is a real challenge - and one that it's hard to find a single good solution too. This is particularly problematic in tagging solutions (which is pretty much all any of us use these days) since by the time you find a problem during an analysis, the data is gone. I think you're right that testing is not the domain of automatons, though I think there is a role for automation. We've seen (and tried) everything from tools like Observepoint, to using the Data Feed to setup regression tests, to formal testing scripts and semi-automated tag capture. Can't say I have a clear winner. I do think it's important to train implementers in basic unit testing and it's important, beyond that, to have a comprehensive testing strategy that uses one or more of these types of techniques.

BTW - the double firing tag is such a common problem that I wonder if the vendors shouldn't trap it (I don't think it would hard). That would sure be nice. I'm fairly certain I could write a simple script that detected that condition in the data feed.

Anyway, thanks for the great comment!


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