3 Most Common Mistakes in Measuring Data for Your Website

November 5, 2015

We are in no shortage of data. Companies are sifting through massive amounts of it to try to understand whether their campaigns are influencing customers.

However, many businesses are still focusing on metrics that give little insight, leading them to make poor decisions when forming their strategies.

Some of the data that is commonly used incorrectly is also among the most popular; basic metrics like click-through rate and your number of followers are easy to measure but they fail to show any contribution to the bottom line.

Below I’ve listed some commonly overvalued metrics as well as some alternatives which will actually help you to deliver a return on investment.

1. Click-through rate and time spent on page

Click-through rate measures how many people click on an ad or link. While it is widely accepted that users don’t need to click on a display ad to prove brand exposure, some marketers continue to use click-through rates to measure the success of a campaign.

Just because a user has clicked through to your landing page, it’s more important to determine whether they are actually engaging with it. According to Chartbeat 55% of users spend less than 15 seconds on a page, so just because you see an increase in pageviews doesn’t necessarily mean this will deliver more conversions.

Also, even if a user spends a long amount of time on a page, it still might not mean they are engaging with the content. When basic analytics only measure when a page is opened and closed without tracking the events in between, users could actually have just left the tab open among a dozen other tabs that they intend to scan through later.

Deeming an ad a success purely by the number of clicks and/or time spent on page means businesses risk wasting money on campaigns that don’t bring in users who go on to engage with the website, sign up to newsletters or make a purchase.

2. Number of followers


A company’s social media following is a vanity metric which was once seen as very important, so much so that many found themselves paying for advertising to attract new followers or buying fake ones to make them look more popular.

However, many businesses ended up with nothing but a worthless following where nobody was interacting with or buying from their brand.

Businesses are cottoning on to the low value of a large following and are now shifting their focus to the lead quality of fans by creating and sharing content that converts their audience.

The green community is a good example of companies who seek out potential customers via social media. Without the benefit of huge marketing budgets or brand recognition, niche brands such as Petits Rituels use Twitter to target users who already follow related accounts and tweet about related topics in the hopes that their brand will also appeal to a customer’s interests.

3. Unique visitors

Measuring how many unique visitors land on your website can be made complicated by discrepancies in data such as cookie deletion, shared browser use and customers accessing pages from multiple devices. Even getting more traffic overall can’t tell you much about your visitors or how they are interacting with your site.

While data such as clicks and followers delivers impressive numbers, the real worth lies in finding out how many of those page views or likes get converted into sales.

Here are some metrics that will help you do that:

Online Conversions

Conversion rate is one of the most useful metrics to determine campaign and website performance. To work out your online conversion rate, take the number of Goal Achievements from your Google Analytics data, divide it by the number of Page Views and times that by 100.

Offline Conversions


For a more holistic view of your marketing efforts you’ll need to keep track of which campaigns and webpages lead to offline conversions, like phone calls.

For example, call tracking software from providers like Mediahawk enable you to assign unique phone numbers to your online and offline campaigns. The software can also generate unique phone numbers for every individual user on your website.

By integrating all of this data with your analytics and customer relationship management software, you’ll understand which marketing campaigns and landing pages are generating the most phone calls, as well as the most valuable ones. With this information you can focus on boosting the ROI of your most successful campaigns.

Event Tracking

Event tracking can indicate whether visitors are interacting with your website. Google Analytics Tracking Codes can record actions such as downloading a PDF or clicking the play button on a video, so you can see how long visitors are actively engaging with your content.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate measures the percentage of visitors who leave the site after viewing only one page. Unless your landing page is the place that users can convert (the shorter the journey, the better), a high bounce rate is usually an indicator that visitors haven’t made it to the next step.

You can see which pages perform the worst under the Behaviour section of Google Analytics.

Exit Pages

Exit pages, also found in Google Analytics, show which pages visitors leave the site from after looking at more than one page in a row. Pages with high exit counts can indicate problems, although you should bear in mind that the page could be leading to actions being taken offline.

Referral Traffic

Google analytics allows you to break down where your web traffic is coming from so you can measure the value of each source. From websites to social networks, it may be worthwhile to run a campaign or advertisement on the ones which deliver the most visitors.


Relying on basic data is no longer enough to justify allocating precious resources poorly. As we move into an increasingly data-driven marketplace businesses need a solid understanding of analysis to identify the campaigns and webpages that work, as well as the ability to change the ones that don’t.

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