Could ObservePoint and Tag Auditing Improve Your Analytics?

Tag management is one of the trendier industry terms for website owners and many other Web professionals interested in studying user data to improve their Web strategies, from site design to online marketing. Everyone who works on the Web should have some interest in tags.

By using tags, webmasters are able to break down the data they gather from their websites into different divisions that can return more accurate reports on specific content categories, which means they can use that information to refine specific, mission-critical aspects of their sites. However, when running a large, complicated or data-driven website, getting tag placement just right and deploying them consistently across the architecture can be problematic. Plus, it probably doesn't help that once tags are implemented, many webmasters tend to forget about them.

Check Your Tags

Enter tag auditing, a newer service that performs a functional test on a website's JavaScript tags. This process essentially acts as an extra set of eyes that makes sure the tags implemented on a website are collecting the right information (as opposed to just checking if the code is there or not).

"A 5,000-page website just doesn't know what's out there unless it performs an audit," explains Robert Seolas, the co-founder of ObservePoint, the leading company in the tag auditing space.

Seolas founded ObservePoint with Omniture co-founder John Pestana, who had noticed that many companies with large-scale analytics needs found that they had trouble keeping track of the tags they had on their site, where they were, whether they were collecting data, if the company was even measuring the data and if it was being measured accurately.

They took that idea and developed a SaaS-based product around it.

Tag auditing isn't about trying to solve the basic problem of getting tags on pages or speeding up a website - there are already a number of companies that help do that, such as Tealium, TagMan and BrightTag. Rather, auditing tags is about validation and identifying tag placement and configuration problems, as well as any communication problems between the websites and tag vendors.

In other words, while the aforementioned tag management services (and others) do a good job of getting tags put on pages and streamlining the whole process, tag-auditing services make it easier for website owners to trust that their tags are "on-task."

"We've consistently seen more and more of a good, synergistic relationship between players in the tag management space, like Tealium, and ourselves," said Seolas. "[ObservePoint's role] is more about governance and best practices or procedures for organization, to make sure tags are implemented accurately at a high level."

Critical Alerts

Seolas explained that the two main issues that ObservePoint, well, observes with its customers are poor implementation, meaning pages that aren't tagged at all, tags with the wrong account ID (so the data goes to a bad report suite), duplicate tags or poor overall data quality, and that key parts of a website aren't checked or updated regularly to ensure that the tags are doing the job they were put there to do.

In order to solve the latter problem, ObservePoint created a technology called "simulations" that acts like an alarm system of sorts, checking every piece of critical data on a website multiple times a day, so that if anything ever breaks down, it can alert the webmaster. This allows them to correct the problem as soon as possible without losing out on too much sensitive, crucial data. Simulations work in tandem with tag audits and can be used to monitor key website pages, such as shopping carts, PPC landing pages and, of course, home pages.

Tag Audits for All

Although ObservePoint began by primarily serving enterprise-level customers, it has since refined its offerings to accommodate businesses of all shapes and sizes, including the more recent ability to conduct one-off audits. All users have to do is insert their domain names and ObservePoint will return with information about what your site needs to do to improve the way it gathers user data. And best of all, this process takes place completely online.

ObservePoint's tag auditing services start for as little as $99, so if your company is already using tags to track users and analyze their behavior, why not audit your current tag management system to make sure you're getting your money's worth? Your bottom line will surely thank you in the long run.