Google Analytics Health Check: automatic vs. manual – which one should you choose?

Google Analytics Health Check: automatic vs. manual
Confused about the different options when it comes to auditing your Google Analytics account? A Google Analytics Health Check report is a great place to start - but there’s still different options out there, including automated and manual solutions. We review the approaches so you can make up your mind as to which one will fit your needs.

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Has the time come to give your Google Analytics account a spring clean? 

There are a range of options available for running a ‘Health Check’ on your data collection, from free and low-cost automated reports to bespoke consultations in-line with your businesses’ growth targets.

In this post, we want to run down the different types of Google Analytics Health Checks available, and which one will be best suited to your goals and available in-house expertise.

We are evaluating the following options for Google Analytics Health Checks:

  • An automated Google Analytics Health Check – based on The ‘Health Status Checker’ product at Analytics Toolkit. It’s available for free through a selection of digital agencies. 
  • A Google Analytics Health Check template – based on Fresh Egg’s Google Analytics Health Check. It’s a popular checklist template – available as a free excel file which can be downloaded and filled out in-house.
  • A manual Google Analytics Health Check – based on Business Ahead’s Google Analytics Health Check. This check provides additional information specific to your goals and growth plan.

Here is a quick tl;dr overview of the features:

Google Analytics logo

Health check options

Automated Google Analytics Health Check

Automatic health check

Google Analytics Health Check template

Health check template

Business Ahead Logo

Manual health check

Tracking code checks

Yes

Yes

Yes

Google Analytics configuration checks

Partial

Yes

Yes

Campaign tracking checks

Partial

No

Yes

Event tracking checks

No

Framework provided

Yes

Goal tracking checks

Partial

Framework provided

Yes

Ecommerce tracking checks

Partial

Framework provided

Yes

Business-specific data strategy evaluation

No

No

Yes

Prioritised plan for future tracking

No

No

Yes

Evaluation report

Yes

No

Yes

Detailed step-by-step guide on how to fix issues

Partial: general tips given

No

Partial: top three issues

Run-through of findings via video call

No

No

Yes

Amount of your effort required

Minimal set up only to connect your account

At least several hours and feedback from various stakeholders

Initial discovery questionnaire

Price

Usually free if offered by an agency subscribing to the service

Free

£500

Who should get a Google Analytics Health Check?

Before we dive into the different types of Google Analytics Health Checks available, let’s talk about why they are a vital part of your business goals.

Though setting up Google Analytics is a seemingly simple task, the majority of set-ups are either incomplete or done incorrectly in the first place. 

As websites and apps become the central asset of a business, it is key that you have the basics set in place to ensure you are analysing the right data before making decisions around budget, marketing strategy, traffic and CRO (conversion rate optimisation). 

A Google Analytics audit is especially useful at a time when you are planning to optimise some of your functionality, or want to actively work on increasing the sales and leads your website generates. This can include redesign projects, creating new content, or doing advertising, A/B testing and personalisation.

A manual Health Check is also the perfect first step for those who are looking into investing in conversion rate optimisation but are missing crucial insight for developing winning hypotheses.

There are several ways marketing managers can approach this: 

  • Use an automated Google Analytics Health Check service 
  • Complete a set template and carry out a manual Health Check in-house
  • Hire a web analyst to review the performance of a Google Analytics account

A Google Analytics Health Check differs from a full top-to-bottom audit of your account. The purpose of a Health Check is to analyse the organisation and integrity of your data, with top-level insights which provide the foundation for the building blocks of your CRO plan and larger audits.

What is an automated Google Analytics Health Check?

Compare Google Analytics Health Checks

An automated Google Analytics audit is provided through specialist tools which will crawl your analytics account and provide an automated report on snags detected in your set-up. 

These reports can be generated in seconds, and will quickly flag up basic issues with your GA set-up, such as: 

  • incorrect tracking
  • double tracking
  • bad quality data
  • missing data in goal tracking 
  • issues with syncing your Google Ads and E-Commerce tracking. 

These checks are ideal for top-level insights, and are most effective at the launch of a project. They are best used for detecting issues with your initial set-up before you press the big green button.

Automated audits are fast, cheap (or free) and easy to create, but there’s only so far this type of audit can go in terms of providing outputs which are specific to the needs and goals of your business. 

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An automated check will give you limited insights, and will not be appropriate for sites with complicated or custom set-ups, such as websites with multiple funnels for a range of services.

They will also not give you a sanity check of whether your goals and events are useful for tracking against your business goals, which is the key purpose of using Google Analytics.

If you’re able to complete the automated Google Analytics Health Check with even a basic level of analytics insight related to your business goals, it can be a useful source of information.

What is a Google Analytics Health Check template?

Digital executives in your department may want to perform their own Google Analytics Health Check manually by following a set template. 

Many large software providers, such Fresh Egg whose template we’ve reviewed here, have created these checklists as part of their marketing support offerings. Dozens of these templates are available online, where testers can track performance and fill in suggestions for improvements.

These are a good option for those businesses who have juniors or executives who hold a basic understanding of Google Analytics. Templates are often accompanied by instructions and are not too complicated to fill out for anyone who uses Google Analytics on a regular basis.

Templates available online also differ in quality. A good tip is to complete around three different templates to get the best chance of fixing your configuration.

However, a template will not help with your data strategy, such as finding additional opportunities for tracking, or identifying low-value goals. This can be handled by CRO specialists if you have them.

You might think that your CRO manager might be the best person to perform a Google Analytics audit. This might be the case. Be aware though that data experts want to work with good data, rather than completing housekeeping tasks such as account audits. These templates are useful for basic checks, but CRO experts on your team will want to be managing tidy data rather than doing the clean-up themselves. 

Overall, using a template is a good option for those companies with an in-house resource with Google Analytics experience, and you will be able to uncover more insight than with just an automated check.

What is a manual Google Analytics Health Check?

Manual Google Analytics Health Check

A manual Google Analytics audit is when an outside party of experts reviews your Google Analytics account through both basic automated checks and flagging up aspects of your Google Analytics set-up which are specific to your businesses needs.

Before a manual Google Analytics Health Check, analytics experts running the check will ask you about your business, your goals for growth and your current marketing strategy. 

Vitally, a manual Health Check will identify those metrics which are important to your company, setting up the framework needed to track accurate growth and profits. 

How is the Business Ahead Google Analytics Health Check different?

A manual Analytics Health Check done by a web analyst will carry a cost, but the initial investment will help you make priceless discoveries about how well your configuration reflects your current business goals and future aspirations.

For example, an automated audit will crawl your Google Analytics goals and flag up those which are not tracking conversions. 

A manual audit would go further than this, as goal tracking is a key part of tracking your companies’ data, essentially acting as KPIs for your site’s performance.

At Business Ahead, our check up reviews the relevancy of your current goals and suggests other goals to track which may be more useful for your optimisation plans. We will also flag missing conversion tracking that will help you build a better picture of your website’s users. 

Manual reports are bespoke to your specific needs

Choosing a manual Health Check run by professional web analytics teams such as those at Business Ahead means you will receive reports and advice written with your business’s growth and pain points in mind. 

Manual Google Analytics checks are actionable

Our Health Check reports include step-by-step implementation guides on how to solve the three leading headaches we flag in our findings. While automated reports will give you a list of tasks to do, our manual report will provide you with a roadmap you can execute.

Leadership teams love them

A manual Google Analytics Health Check report presents solutions in a way which is jargon-free and easy to understand. It tells you how well your configuration reflects your current business goals and future aspirations.

Customisable reports also make it easier for marketing and sales departments to argue for investment in traffic, CRO and data analytics. 

Manual reports will save you time, money and give you fresh new ideas

The key purpose of a manual report is not just to flag problems, but to provide you with the solutions. A manual Google Analytics Health Check will clearly show you how to develop your web analytics tracking to grow sales. 

Google Analytics Health Check: automatic vs. manual – compared

Google Analytics Health Check review

Your data is one of your business’s biggest assets – when used correctly, you can use data insights to make decisions and investments which will see profits boost. 

But first, you need to review the quality of your data and build a strategy which sits across your organisation. A Google Analytics Health Check is the first step towards creating the traffic boost or CRO plan which transforms your business – and your career.

Depending on how much time and resource you have in-house, getting an outsourced manual Google Analytics Health Check could be the right solution for you. 

Our check provides three ‘quick wins’ which are relevant to your business targets – and a clear roadmap for future tracking optimisation. Both are designed to provide return on investment. Learn more or order your Google Analytics Health Check today.

How confident are you about your Google Analytics data?

Most Google Analytics accounts have faulty or incomplete set-ups – make sure yours isn’t one of them. Discover how far you are from a CRO‑ready configuration. 

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