Whenever I work with a client the first thing I do is create a change log for Google Analytics. I create a very basic spreadsheet (usually suing Google Spreadsheets so I can share it with the client) and use it to record every modification I make to their GA settings. The file is not overly complicated. I include the following columns:
- Profile Name
- GA Account name or number
- Your name and contact info
- Description of change
Why is this important? Most organizations have more than one person with administrative access to the GA account and accidents do happen. I have seen people change a filter and ruin the data for a profile. You’ll save yourself lots of time and aggravation if you can lookup all the changes to your configuration rather than stumble through the interface and try to figure out what has changed and when.
Lately I’ve been adding some business information to my Google Analytics Changelog. I create a separate worksheet and record changes to the site or marketing activities. This helps me predict patterns that I see in the GA data. For example, I’ll record when we launch, or stop, an AdWords campaign for a client. This spreadsheet is an easy way to determine if a business decision changed site traffic. Sure, I still use GA and dig into the data, but this is just one more way to gain insight.
I know this isn’t the best solution. It would be nice if Google Analytics had a built in feature to track configuration and business changes. But that does not exist right now. Maybe they’ll read this post and add it to a future version of the product (are you listening GA Team?).