3 things I’ve learned about analytics

Website and social media analytics reports can be a bit of a minefield for the uninitiated.

I’ve been there, looking at the numbers wondering if certain changes are as important as they appear and what a particular measure actually means.

So I decided to delve a little deeper with a course run by Adam Tinworth via journalism.co.uk, and these are three key things I learned.

1. Don’t rely on one single measure

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Hits are easy to focus on but did you know the measure is also jokingly referred to as ‘how idiots track success’?

Joking aside, hits will only tell you one thing: how many people were potentially interested in your page.

Another example is the time spent on a page. If people are spending time on a page, they are more interested, right?

Yes, but only to a point. Your ‘visitor’ might still have the page open while looking at something else, or they might be talking to someone or checking their phone.

There are pros and cons to all the different measures, so you need to look at a variety to get a more accurate picture.

2. Look further back

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Don’t just take a snapshot view, some content may be a slow build or a topic that gets revisited over a longer period.

Some content, news, in particular, might be pertinent for just a short period, whereas less time-sensitive features and opinions might build a steady readership over a longer period.

Keep an eye on spikes. It might be an anomaly, or it might be that a particular piece of content is back in vogue and worth re-publicising via social media channels.

3. Patience

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There are no easy overnight fixes that are going to suddenly bump up your metrics.

Social media and SEO strategies need time to gain traction and have a visible impact on your analytics.

This is another reason to look at your data over a longer period to more accurately track changes.

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