Verified Data uses a unique forensic hybrid method that audits over 200 unit tests performed on your website and Google Analytics account data.

image showing the hybrid method behind Verified DataSignals

Firstly, the tool spiders your website looking for trackable content. The spider behaves just like a real visitor in that it waits for each page to load, then searches for clickable elements e.g. file downloads, outbound links, search boxes, submission forms etc., and clicks on them. The purpose being to listen for any signals sent to Google Analytics. If the pageview or any of those click-throughs do not send a Google Analytics hit, then you know there is a problem…

Stress Tests

Secondly, when you authenticate Verified Data with your Google Analytics account, API requests are conducted to query your data. Heuristic tests look for oddities such as any duplicate data points, missing data, inaccurate and incorrect data – including e-commerce (both standard and enhanced e-commerce). It also stress tests your governance and hunts for traces of personal information – which of course you should not be collecting.

Note, Verified Data can only spider a website that you have Google Analytics access to. You cannot spider the entire web with it!

Manual audits are certainly possible and a systematic method to do this is described in detail in the book Successful Analytics by Brian Clifton (PhD). But as Brian points out, its painful and prone to errors. Apart from deploying a valuable analyst to a mundane job – wasting their expertise when they can be helping you grow your business – errors and data omissions are actually difficult to find. They are needles in haystacks!

The main challenge for auditors is the data volume. For example, personal data is often a very small percentage fraction of the total data collected i.e. much less than 1%. But that small fraction can be costly in terms of reputational damage to your brand, as well as get you into trouble with data protection laws, such as GDPR.

Other examples include campaign tracking parameters that go missing or become corrupted. Without these consistently in place, attribution modelling falls apart. But humans struggle to notice this due to the shear volume of campaign data constantly coming in. Ditto for e-commerce – would your team notice if 5% of transaction were being duplicated in GA? Such an error can have a huge impact on interpreting conversion rate and ROI…

All of this requires a constant scanning and verification of data – perfect for machines and not suitable for humans! Analysts are trained to find data points that have value to the business – this is when humans outperform machines.

Yes, and no! Obviously you want an up-to-date overview of your data quality, but this needs to be balanced with how fast you assess and can fix any identified issues. We recommend scheduling monthly audits alongside monthly review meetings with your development team to assess and prioritise any fixes.

However, governance and GDPR needs a much more proactively level of monitoring due to their importance i.e. risk, to the organisation. This is why we have our Real Time Governance checker which assesses your data every 4 hours*.

*Why every 4 hours, and not say, every 4 mins? Because 4 hours is the fastest guaranteed freshness of Google Analytics data. Checking GA data faster than Google can process it could lead to false alerts.

Even experts need help due to constant changes and the evolving nature of the web. In fact the Verified Data project started off as an in-house tool to help Brian Clifton (a Google Analytics expert!) be more efficient with his time and be able to have the concrete confidence to present data insights at board level for clients. With so much constant change in digital (new agencies, staffing, new product launches, new platforms etc), even one of his setups can be out of date within 6 months…

Yes, an agency account allows you to audit upto 25 websites (we call these projects) and track the the data quality over time. You can even reuse projects if they are one-off and you don’t wish to store them. It is easy to add more projects as you need them.

As an account owner you can grant a user access to a specific project e.g. to a client, or grant access to all projects e.g. to a work colleague. There are no limits on user access.

Yes, and this is a major USP of Verified Data. You can run an audit to assess a prospects data quality and fix requirements – allowing you to go to the meeting fully prepared.

That’s a question for your legal eagles, but either way you still have privacy responsibilities. For example:

  • Regardless where your business or website is located, if you collect data on EU citizens then the GDPR is still applicable, therefore…
  • If you have very low traffic form the EU you could simply turn OFF tracking of such visitors. It keeps you legally safe and the impact will be minimal.
  • In the longer term, adopting a GDPR complaint approach will stand you in good stead. Even the big tech companies in the US are starting to acknowledge that the principles behind GDPR are good and these are likely to spread to the other regions of the world.

No. The GDPR is about privacy protection and the process you have in place to protect your visitors privacy. GDPR is not about a specific tracking tool or technology. For example, as well as Google Analytics it is highly likely that your website has many other tracking technologies sending data to other places e.g. social media buttons, wordpress plugins etc. also collect data about your visitors. Read more about obtaining visitor consent (or not).

Verified Data is a Google Analytics auditing tool. It’s an automated part of your data governance and GDPR compliance.

Cookie consent banners are just that – a transparent way of informing your visitors and logging their consent, or not. In themselves, they do not control what data is collect i.e. whether your website honours your visitors consent settings. This is by far the most common mistake we see i.e. Cookie notification displayed, visitor ignores or does not consent to tracking, tracking continues regardless!

Only if you have explicit consent can you retarget those visitors. Otherwise you must not. Verified Data verifies the consent options your website uses, AND if it honours these

No, though we are working on providing api access. Note, you can control access to a specific project (a website audit) or your entire Verified Data account by setting read/edit/admin permissions for users. There is no limit to the number of users you can add.

When using artificial intelligence to route out any personal information, Verified Data assigns a  probability to how likely any match is to being a true failure – these values are grouped into “possible”, Likely” and “Highly Likely” buckets. Any of these flags will initiate our scrubbing routine with removes the match while the data is being processed in memory. That is, no PII data is stored on our servers. Verified Data does not alter or change any settings or data in your Google Analytics account.

Yes!
  • Save money: It frees up staff resources so you can grow your business and not have to constantly worry about data quality. You determine what to charge clients to monitor and support their data quality requirements.
  • Make money: You can make money by providing an independent data quality/auditing service. That assessment is valuable in itself, though I would say for an agency with  skills/experience it is more value in providing the fixes. That can include not only GA/GTM work, but also the ability to show them why their consent approach is flawed i.e. Cookiebot implementations.
  • Generate new business: Go to clients with an audit prepared so you can pitch for work intelligently. If you don’t get the work simply re-use the slot.