The above question, or variations thereof, come up often when talking with clients (and family and friends that want to bend your ear at a get together).

On a side note, I feel for the doctor oft cornered at a party with requests like, “could you just have a look at this mole?” Working in digital marketing, I am more and more finding myself answering questions from IT to Print: ‘I think I have a virus on my computer…’ to ‘how wide should my letterbox drop go?’

But enough about my dazzling social life – back to the job at hand.

Why do I have more clicks and less sessions on my analytics?

It comes down to a fairly mundane answer.

First of all, we make sure that the figures we are talking about are correct. Every once in a while you get a zero from analytics only to find out that a client’s landing page didn’t have the Google Analytics (GA) tracking code on it.

Then, if we are indeed trying to compare apples to apples, it’s usually due to a combination of factors.

But the main contributors are:

  • Click and close: A user may click on the link and then close the page before the page has loaded, which means the GA tracking code didn’t have a chance to register a hit on Analytics. This can happen because the user accidentally clicked the link, your server is slow, they have slow internet and gave up, or they just simply changed their minds. Also, it’s a good idea to have your GA code near the top of your page so it can load quickly and thus track that click… even if it is a bounce.
  • Multiple clicks: A user may click the link multiple times in succession. Like with ad servers, your mail distributor will track all the clicks instantly but GA will only record a session every 30 minutes. So, if a user went to read an article on their computer, changed to another page and then went back to the email to click on the link again to finish reading the article, Mailchimp will have registered two clicks and Google only one.
  • Road blocks: Many people wittingly or unwittingly might be throttling your analytics via use of a browser setting like switching off javascript (js) or having a technology or add-on for their browser that actively blocks GA.

So unfortunately, like with many systems, it’s not perfect, and your numbers will not often marry up 100%. But there should be some consistent differences which will let you extrapolate findings to see what’s working and what isn’t in your emails or other marketing endeavours.




Written By: Rob