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Common Website Analytics Mistakes to Avoid

Published 25 May 2021 by Ellice Eadie, CANDDi
Read this in about 4 minutes

Big data is becoming an essential tool for understanding your customer base and how they interact with your brand.

In fact, thanks to the power of analytics, we can now find answers for questions that we didn’t even realise we wanted to ask!

When used correctly, website analytics can be incredibly powerful. However, this can all get a little overwhelming.

When you’re faced with too many numbers, it’s easy to get so engrossed in playing with your data that you forget what the important questions really are.

If you want to be successful with analytics, you need to learn what you should be focusing on, when to narrow your focus and when to accept that sometimes vague information can go a long way.

Website Analytics

Confusing data

There’s so much jargon in website analytics. If you don’t know your activities from your sessions, things can get a bit confusing.

That’s why it’s important to define terminology from the outset and understand what it is you’re looking at. If you’re muddling your analytics, your results are going to be distorted.

The most common mistake is mistaking views for visits, and vice versa.

Views and visits are a very different metric. A visit is counted when one of your website visitors lands on your site from an external URL. The visit ends when someone closes their browser, moves to an external site or becomes inactive.

On the other hand, a view is what happens every time a browser loads or reloads a page on your site. Ultimately, if a visitor lands on your site and visits seven pages, it will be counted as one visit but seven views.

As well as confusing one metric for another, another common mistake is grouping together all traffic you believe is similar, when it’s actually not.

Your website traffic will come from a multitude of channels. Whether it’s paid, organic, from social media or your email marketing, they should never be clustered together as one load of ‘traffic’.

Be sure to break all traffic down into the relevant categories. You can do this in various different ways, whether it’s by landing page, marketing channel or geography, anything that gives you a good idea of where your website visitors are coming from.

Once you know this, you’ll know where to plug future resources or maybe scale back from something that isn’t working.

Misinterpreting data and comparisons

Making incorrect assumptions from your website analytics will lead you to the wrong conclusions about your business and its marketing.

For example, if it’s the start of a New Year and you start to take a look at January compared to December of the previous year, you’ll end up worrying about the drop in sales.

However, the reality is that people are more likely to buy during any festive season. Whether it’s the advocaat or good spirit who knows, but it usually isn’t much cause for concern.

Instead, it would be more practical to compare the current January with January of the previous year.

Regardless of what you’re looking at, be aware of any external factors that could affect your website traffic.

Similarly, just because you see low numbers, it doesn’t mean there’s a problem.

Look at bounce rates or unsubscribe rates, if they’re consistently low, it’s a good sign that your customers are gaining value from your content.

In addition, low numbers can show you where you should be investing most of your time and resources. If one social media channel is generating more conversions than another, it would be advisable to focus your marketing efforts on the former rather than the latter.

Not using data to qualify leads

When you’re analysing who’s spending time on your website, you need to understand who’s just a regular browser and who’s a qualified lead.

However you qualify your leads is up to you, but don’t confuse everyone who fills out your contact form as a hot prospect. You need to establish whether there’s buying intent.

A mistake that’s often made here is assuming an increase in metrics will result in higher engagement.

Most people assume that if a visitor spent a lot of time on a particular page, it means they engaged with their content. While this might be true, it can’t always be taken at face value.

Sometimes, when visitors stay on your page for a long duration, it’s because they can’t find what they’re looking for, or maybe just got bored and forgot to close the browser.

Similarly, if someone is flitting from page to page, they’re not always really keen to know the ins and outs of your business. They’re probably looking for a call to action or means of reaching out to you.

Ignoring actionable takeaways

Most marketers use data from web analytics on a day-to-day basis. Is this because they just love spreadsheets or are they only creating reports as directed by their bosses and other team members? Probably the latter.

As a result, presenting data on web traffic alone doesn’t help anyone. You need to derive actionable takeaways that can be used for improving your marketing campaigns.

For example, if your results show that your email marketing campaigns are more effective than social media, you could consider investing more resources into email marketing.

If you’re interested in making the most of your website analytics, reach out to us at

If you’re interested in making the most of your website analytics, reach out to us at

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