In ClickTracks’ recent whitepaper, Seven Web Analytics Sins, and How to Avoid Them, the Santa Cruz, Calif.-based Web analytics software company points out seven mistakes marketers make when analyzing their Web sites and discusses ways to avoid or remedy them. Here are three of the seven mistakes to avoid:
1. Simple Visitor Counts: Simply judging results by the number of visitors to your site can be faulty for a variety of reasons:
• Bots: The legitimate bots are without question a good thing, following protocol to identify themselves to Web analytics programs. However, “spam” bots often forego this step, presenting themselves as true human visitors to your site, thus skewing the data.
• Fraudulent clicks: These are when someone or something knowingly clicks on your pay-per-click ad with no interest in your products or services, and it’s a growing problem, states the whitepaper. When click fraud occurs, your ROI decreases as your statistics increase.
• Uptime monitoring services: According to the whitepaper, uptime monitoring services are “good” traffic that probe “your site as if they’re human visitors, alerting you to problems human visitors might be experiencing.” However, if you’re not careful, they skew your ROI data when mistaken as real human visitors.
To avoid these problems, the whitepaper states, marketers should combine visitor counts with other statistics for better accuracy. A metric must be defined to focus on qualified visitors only—such as a fairly common practice of only including those visitors that spend more than 10 seconds on the site. This, the whitepaper says, eliminates many bots and click fraud, however, it may also exclude some real, live visitors.
2. Search Term Popularity: Getting caught up in search term popularity is another area that can negatively impact your ROI. The whitepaper points out: It’s not the quantity of search results; it’s the quality. The goal is to find the best terms that result in prospects becoming customers, not necessarily those that show up on the most searches.