I need help figuring out a test methods for Google Analytic. Our client pushes out a lot of marketing campaigns and they love using GA to track what is working, what is not working and where to focus their efforts next time.
The client was under the impression that Google Analytics code could not be tested on a Dev or QA server without screwing with the Prod Data. So up until now they have just deployed the code up to a production server and hoped it worked. Then when it didn’t, have the Dev perform a fire drill to get it done before the marketing push. So my plan is to figure out an awesome way to test Google Analytics that is fast and efficient.
My understanding of GA is very limited. I mostly use it to see what browsers people are using to connect with out site. So this is what I have thought of so far...
1) I had them create me a test analytics code to use on Dev and QA, so I don’t mess with their Production statistics.
2) I can easily write a scripts that scans all the sites and verifies the GA js on all appropriate pages.
3) I know of the ‘__utm.gif’ file and that it’s a sign that GA is sending info out to the server, but is there a way to parse the url to know what it’s sending?
What other options do I have for testing GA? What else should I be looking for? How are you guys testing GA? How do you get around the 1-24hr wait time for the server to update.