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TransformationAug 05, 2020

What is a Digital Audit? A Breakdown of 8 Different Digital Assessments

Christina Hahn, and Eric Grucza

Digital audits are how a website’s performance is evaluated across a diverse array of categories. They are a critical component of the scope development for web and mobile projects because digital audits give us a better understanding of the pain points and areas of growth for our client’s web and mobile experience. Digital audits are often the first part of the envision stage, where we help our clients run a digital inventory and performance evaluation, empowering them with a clearer vision of where they want to go. The purpose of this article is to identify the different types of digital audits we perform, when to use them, and why they are helpful. In short, we want to demystify the world of digital audits.

We define and explain eight different types of digital audits:

  1. Customer Experience Journey

  2. Social Media Assessment

  3. Storytelling Audit

  4. Baymard Assessment

  5. Heuristic Assessment

  6. SEO Assessment

  7. SEM Assessment

  8. BuiltWith

digital audit #1: customer experience journey

What’s a Customer Experience Journey? A customer experience journey map is exactly what it sounds like, we document all the human and digital touchpoints that a customer must go through in order to accomplish their desired task. We look out for obstacles to success, emotional feedback, and differences in customer experience depending on the type of user or audience. At Credera, we develop a user-journey based on research into a prospective client target audience, taking note of user behaviors to create personas and foci. Using this type of audit, we identify user needs for our clients, examine what their competitors do in this regard, and share insight into industry trends for this particular type of user.

When should I use a Customer Experience Journey? You should use this type of audit when you have multiple touchpoints with a potential customer and want to understand their end-to-end experience with your product or service offering. If you’re curious about your user’s pain points throughout the customer journey, their motivations, and customer actions at each step in that process, the customer experience journey audit is for you!

Why is a Customer Experience Journey useful? You should use the customer experience journey to get a high-level overview of how a customer interacts with the business. If you are making a shift towards a more customer-centric business model, this type of audit allows you to create a new target customer basis and develop a customer-focused mentality.

digital audit #2: social media assessment

What’s a Social Media Assessment? A social media assessment is an evaluation of a social media strategy across multiple different platforms and their performance compared to their competitors. It examines content strategy and organic social content. At Credera, we evaluate organic social content and earned conversation for our clients and their competitors. We take inventory of client corporate social channels and conduct a comparative analysis, providing our client with insight into industry-leading brand storytelling campaigns.

When should I use a Social Media Assessment? You should use this type of audit when you’re not seeing the expected lead generation from social media driving traffic to your website and or if you have no or low engagement on your social platforms.

Why is a Social Media Assessment useful? You should use a Social Media Assessment if you don’t have any measurements related to your current social media efforts and want to learn how to leverage your presence on social media into a growth or sales tool.

digital audit #3: storytelling audit

What’s a Storytelling Audit? A storytelling audit is an evaluation of the story and voice across web and social presences. It looks for consistency in content and brand, and then benchmarks against key competitors. At Credera, we examine the connected storytelling efforts across web and social presences for our client and their competitors. We provide insight into the strength of their storytelling and provide recommendations informed by industry best practices and trends.

When should I use a Storytelling Audit? You should use this audit when there is no cohesive brand guide that establishes voice and tone rules. This audit is also necessary when web and social media presences are managed by multiple individuals in a variety of groups and lacks a consolidated strategy. If brand consistency has not historically been part of the business’s objectives, this is a good way to measure its current performance and map out its future.

Why is a Storytelling Audit useful? A storytelling audit is useful to find lapses in your brand’s voice and tone across all customer touchpoints in order to strengthen consistency and create a lasting impression. It allows you to determine how your messaging stacks up against your closest competitors to see who is creating better brand equity.

digital audit #4: baymard assessment

What is a Baymard Assessment? A Baymard assessment is a proprietary tool that evaluates a website’s performance across multiple functional user experience (UX) categories including, but not limited to on-site search, filtering, product descriptions, loading speed, and readability layout. This tool identifies usability issues and prioritize which solutions to implement for our clients. At Credera, we conduct a Barmard Assessment on all the main pages of a website and uncover usability insights and areas for A/B testing.

When should I use a Baymard Assessment? You should use this assessment to baseline your current ecommerce experience against heavily researched ecommerce best practices. This allows you to identify immediate UX improvements you can make to your current ecommerce solution and educate yourself on the UX performance of leading ecommerce sites.

Why is a Baymard Assessment useful? This assessment is useful if you want an in-depth understanding of how your current ecommerce site stacks up against the leading ecommerce websites. However, it can be time and cost prohibitive if utilizing the official Baymard UX audit service and can be less valuable if you do not have a standard ecommerce model.

digital audit #5: heuristic assessment

What is a Heuristic Assessment? A Heuristic assessment is an evaluation of a website against user experience guidelines and design principles across nine categories including, but not limited to; Search, Performance, Visual Design, and Form Behavior.

When should I use a Heuristic Assessment? You should use this assessment to evaluate your current web solution against standard best practices for websites and applications. This assessment allows you to determine a high level overview of where your application currently stands with general user expectations and establish quick wins and obvious pain points that could be quickly corrected.

Why is a Heuristic Assessment useful? Due to its broad nature focusing on general best practices this is a good starting point when evaluating your current application. However, this assessment is not tailored to individual solutions and does not take into account actual customer usage and feedback.

digital audit #6: seo assessment

What is an SEO Assessment? An SEO assessment is the evaluation of a website’s ability and propensity to rank on an organic page search using major search engines such as Google. It looks at HTML structure, site crawlability, and keywords. With analysis, it provides structural and content strategy to enable the website to show up higher in a customer’s search results. At Credera, we conduct this assessment against the entire client site with additional focus on the section of the client’s choosing. We provide insight into the client’s HTML templating, site and SERP crawlability, and keyword analysis.

When should I use an SEO Assessment? You should use this assessment in order to understand the structural integrity of your webpages. This assessment enables you to determine any bad practices that could be negatively affecting your search results’ performance. One of the many elements that this assessment evaluates is the meta data associated with your web pages, another element that impacts your search performance.

Why is an SEO Assessment useful? This assessment is useful if you’re experiencing poor performance in regard to search engine rankings and organic search traffic, not seeing appropriate meta data attached to your social media posts or shared links, or the content of your website does not feel engaging and does not have a clear hierarchy.

digital audit #7: sem assessment

What is an SEM Assessment? An SEM assessment is an evaluation of a website’s search engine marketing strategy. It cross-examines keyword campaigns and competitor usage of paid digital marketing efforts, provide keyword analysis, and competitor campaign spend comparison. This enables strategic decision making for online advertising investment.

When should I use an SEM Assessment? You should use this assessment when you’re trying to determine user search intent and common search queries. You should also use this assessment if you’re looking for suggestions on keywords that you should be targeting to increase organic traffic, evaluating the quality of content on your website, and or comparing your current site ranking vs. your closest competitors.

Why is an SEM Assessment useful? This assessment is useful if your website is not ranking highly in common search engines based on your assumed keywords, you are looking to increase overall site traffic, and or if you do not currently have a search and content strategy in place.

digital audit #8: builtwith

What is Builtwith? Builtwith is a proprietary tool that enables us to quickly determine the architectural components of a website. It’s what it sounds like, Builtwith enables organizations to find out what their website and their competitors’ websites are built with. It also provides ecommerce data and user behavior analytics. At Credera, this enables us to give our clients recommendations on ecommerce strategy.

When should I use Builtwith? You should use Builtwith when you want to audit all of the tools that are currently in use powering your website or that of a competitor. You should also use this audit if your website was built by an outside firm and you want a better understanding of how it operates and or you want an understanding of any additional MarTech tools a company could be using on their site.

Why is Builtwith useful? This audit is useful if you already have a full understanding of your own technical architecture and are curious as to what tools your competitors may be using. It’s also useful if you’re experiencing performance issues and think the cause may be related to your technical stack or you want to assess your top competitor’s technical stack and see if you can gain any insights on how to improve your application.

choosing the right audit

Digital audits are a critical first step to determining your web strategy. Based on your needs, each of these different audits will be the best choice for you. These audits are powerful tools to understand your site’s performance, the story your brand tells, and the behaviors and needs your customers have. At Credera, we can help you determine which digital audits you need the most and perform them for you. We want to provide strategic insights for your business online. To learn more please reach out to us at findoutmore@credera.com.