Here, you can find information to get you started with analytics on VA.gov and working with the Platform Analytics & Insights team. This page is meant to supplement the Platform Analytics & Insights orientation slide deck. For more detailed information on using analytics, please see the VA.gov Analytics Playbook.

What support does the Analytics team provide?

The Platform Analytics & Insights team offers a variety of analytics support, including:

  • Access to analytics tools: access to Google Analytics & Domo

  • Standardized dashboards: out-of-the-box reports that display the metrics VA cares about

  • KPI setting workshops: facilitation support for setting up metrics specific to your VA.gov product

  • VA.gov interaction tracking: Google Tag Manager support to tag and track interactions

  • Office hours: drop-in office hours for in person questions and analytics coaching

Please see our customer support guide for more information.

What kind of data does the Analytics team work with?

The Platform Analytics & Insights team works with website interaction, user satisfaction, and health & monitoring data. For sources owned by the Analytics team (such as Google Analytics), data is cleaned, transformed, and made available to VFS teams through BigQuery and Domo. This is also true for several data sources owned by other Platform teams. View the full list of Platform data sources, descriptions, availability, and ownership here.

What dashboards are available?

The Platform Analytics & Insights team developed standardized KPI dashboards to meet the broad needs of VFS teams to report on the performance of their products. These dashboards are grouped into three main categories:

See a full list of products already supported on the three VA.gov KPI dashboards. To have a product added, simply follow step 4 of this document and the Platform Analytics & Insights team will see that it’s included.

How is web usage data collected for my product?

Google Analytics is the reporting platform where we can see interactions across VA.gov. The VA uses the paid tier for Google Analytics, which offers a higher tier of data collection that we use to measure success.

Google Tag Manager is a tool where analytics users can control what information is sent to Google Analytics. It is implemented by a JavaScript snippet across all pages of VA.gov. The Platform Analytics & Insights team collaborates with front-end engineers to create a set of dataLayer event requirements. Google Tag Manager manages these tracking events and ultimately communicates this data to Google Analytics and Domo (via a daily export to BigQuery).

How is website interaction tagging implemented? What if I need to make changes?

Tagging is implemented through Google Tag Manager and JavaScript.

If you need to make changes or create additional tags, you can request tagging implementation and QA. Platform Analytics & Insights will work with your team throughout the tagging process. You can find more information on the support process in our customer support guide.

Some interactions - like PDF downloads or outbound links - are automatically tracked via Google Tag Manager. However, most interactions on VA.gov are communicated deliberately via the dataLayer as JavaScript objects. Ideally, this is not done manually in your application, but rather automatically via individual UI components or through shared tagging. Some analytics implementations - especially at the component library level - may require changes to both the component and the receiver application on VA.gov.

Google Analytics implementation and tagging can be requested by filling out a GitHub ticket.

What self-service tools can Analytics help me get access to?

Platform Analytics & Insights provides access to the following analytics reporting tools:

  • Domo aggregates data from Google Analytics, Medallia, Contact Centers, and other data platforms. Platform Analytics & Insights provides standardized KPI dashboards for Forms, Search, and Content VFS products that prioritizes the metrics that VA cares about.

  • Google Analytics allows you to do more granular analysis on user interactions and create custom dashboards.

Please see our customer support guide for more information on how to request access and more.

What is opting out of analytics on VA.gov? How do I opt out?

We ask all VFS teams and other internal VA staff to opt out of tracking on their device(s). This ensures that internal traffic is not counted toward our data. Please use this link to opt out of all devices, including desktop(s), smartphone, and tablets that you might use to test on VA.gov production. Visiting that link will set a cookie that allows us to distinguish you as a VA.gov Internal User. This cookie will expire in 2 years. If you clear cookies often, you'll have to visit this link again to opt-out of tracking.

Why is this important?

Opting out separates VFS activity from Veterans, their families, and other VA.gov customers. It improves data quality by not tracking VFS teams as VA.gov users.

Other factors:

The cookie is only used on the Production site to filter out Internal Users. All activity on non-production environments is tracked, so we can QA the Google Analytics data before it reaches production.

While a VPN itself will probably not affect our analytics opt-out or modify the cookies we use to identify you, a VPN may affect the data we record in Google Analytics. Specifically, location or geo data can be inaccurate and constantly changing. Please note that some VPN software includes additional browser extensions that may clear or block cookies.

What additional analytics resources should I get started with?

To get started with analytics on VA.gov, please use the following additional resources:

I have more questions! What’s the quickest way to reach the Analytics team?

Ask questions or get support, using /support on the Slack channel: #vfs-platform-support.