Whistles GA Flash Audit
10/05/2011 | Written by | Categories: GA Flash Audit

Screenshot of the Whistles homepage

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.

Basic Details

Company Name: Whistles

Website: www.whistles.co.uk

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

Standard 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.

Additional Variables

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.

Page Names

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.

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:
    • resetFilters
    • 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

Screenshot of Whistles Product page

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.

Custom Variables

It is recommended that the following custom variables are tracked:

  • Visitor
    • Customer
  • Page View
    • On the Product Details page
      • Product SKU
      • Availability
      • Price range
      • Colour
    • On the Search Results page
      • Number of search results returned


It is recommended that the following actions on the Whistles website are tracked as events:

  • Add to Basket
    • Product page
    • Wishlist
    • 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

Download Guide to Google Analytics Flash Audit

Download Whistles Flash Audit

One response to “Whistles GA Flash Audit”

  1. […] reports from L3 Analytics. In fact, I think they’ll do one on your site for free if you ask!Whistles GA Flash Audit | Web analytics consultancy and expert Google analytics | L3 Analytics http://www.l3analytics.com by Peter O’Neill on May 10, 2011 in GA Flash AuditCxFocus I’ve just […]

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