This is a Google Analytics Flash Audit performed on the Whistles website. It evaluates their implementation of Google Analytics and makes some suggestions as to what can be done to improve the usefulness of the data via the configuration.
Whistles appears to have a standard basic implementation with the biggest issue being that views of Product Details and Product List pages are not captured. This limits the ability to understand and improve business performance and should be rectified immediately.
A guide to the Google Analytics Flash Audit for Retail websites can be downloaded below as well as a PDF copy of this audit.
Company Name: Whistles
Visits: 180,000 (Apr ‘11 – DoubleClick AdPlanner)
UK Visits: 150,000 (Apr ’11 – DoubleClick AdPlanner)
Code on Website
Whistles is using the traditional version of Google Analytics.
They do not have code for any other web analytics tools on their website.
Whistles does not have code for any other tools on their website.
Google Analytics code
There were no normal website pages encountered that did not contain Google Analytics code. However, product Details pages on the Whistles website are pop-ups which do not contain GA code resulting in these pages not being tracked. Product List pages are accessed based on URL query parameters that are behind a # meaning these pages are also not uniquely tracked in Google Analytics.
The GA account number was consistent across all pages.
The Whistles website does not require any sub domain or cross domain tracking. Other identified code that affects cookies is:
- _initData() – this is not expected to have no any impact on data accuracy
A number of pages used virtual page names (where the page name is overwritten in the code). This has improved the usability of all page name related reports in GA for these pages. The pages with virtual page names were all pages viewed in the checkout processes from the Basket page onwards.
No custom variables were encountered during the exploration of the Whistles website.
No events were encountered during the exploration of the website.
No virtual pages were encountered during the exploration of the website.
Marketing Campaign parameters
A number of the marketing channels in use by Whistles have been identified and checked for Google Analytics campaign parameters that will enable this marketing to be identified within Google Analytics. The results were:
- Twitter – isn’t tagged with GA campaign parameters
- Email – is tagged with GA campaign parameters
- Paid Search – is not in use by Whistles
Potential Configuration of Google Analytics
Internal (Site) Search
Whistles is able to set-up Internal Search reporting. They need to specify the search URL parameter as “keywords”. Note that the Internal Search is hidden behind a navigational button which is definitely not recommended.
To maximise the usefulness of web analytics reporting and analysis, page names should be recognisable as relating to a particular page on the website and follow a hierarchical structure. If they do not naturally follow a strong naming convention, pages can be renamed as part of the configuration of Google Analytics. For an ecommerce website, pages are grouped into three sections: ecommerce pages, checkout process (Basket page through to Order Confirmation page) and non-ecommerce pages.
The pages in this section which are being tracked do not follow a strong page naming convention. Recommended changes in the configuration are:
- Strip out URL parameters:
- multiple parameters on the Search Results page
- multiple parameters on the Wishlist pages
- Apply profile filters that remove unnecessary elements of page names e.g.
- /fcp/categorylist/dept/shop => /dept/shop
- /fcp/categorylist/dept/Tops => dept/tops
- /fcp/categorycollections/collections/spring11 => /collections/spring11
Checkout Process pages
Pages in this section naturally follow a strong page naming convention due to the virtual page names that are in place.
Non ecommerce pages
Pages in this section naturally follow a strong page naming convention.
It is recommended that if not already set-up, Goals are created for the following website actions based on the existing implementation and previously suggested configuration:
- View Basket
- Commence Checkout
- Place Order
- View wishlist
- Send wishlist to friend
- Click through to sign up for newsletter
- Use Store Finder
- View Contact Us page
- View Careers page
- Submit CV
Analyse the Ecommerce Funnel
Not all stages of the ecommerce funnel can be identified and reported on. The stages which cannot be measured are:
- Get to Product
- Product Details pages are not being tracked
- Create Basket
- The action of adding products to a basket is not being tracked
Analyse the Checkout Process
All of the pages within the checkout process can be identified and reported on.
Create a Merchandising Report
It is not possible to create a Merchandising report for Whistles as not all the required elements are being tracked. As per above, the elements that are not being tracked are:
- Product Detail pages
- Add to Basket by Product
Recommendations for an Enhanced Implementation
If Whistles was to update its implementation of Google Analytics, it is recommended that it switches to the new Asynchronous code at the same time. There is no need to include any cookie customisation code with this so the _initData() code is not required.
Campaign tracking parameters should be used with all online marketing performed including tweets made via Twitter.
It is recommended that the following custom variables are tracked:
- Page View
- On the Product Details page
- Product SKU
- Price range
- On the Search Results page
- Number of search results returned
- On the Product Details page
It is recommended that the following actions on the Whistles website are tracked as events:
- Add to Basket
- Product page
- Features page
- Commence Checkout
- Add to Wishlist
- Zoom in on product image
- Share product details
- Click View All on category page
- Filters/sort on search results page
- Size selected
Virtual Page Views
It is recommended that the following actions on the Whistles website are tracked as virtual page views:
- View product details
- Even though this is a pop-up, it is still a new page for a visitor
- View tabs on product details page
- View product list
- Sign up to Whistles newsletter