Clicks and sessions are metrics used in website analytics in order to help webmasters gauge the frequency and quality of traffic to their website. It is important to be able to distinguish the two as they have different meanings and not knowing the difference could lead to confusion in interpreting advertising campaign results.
The term “clicks”, as used by Paradox for the purposes of reporting, indicates how many times an advertisement was clicked by a user. The term “sessions” is used by Google Analytics to measure how many different sessions (defined by a single visitor visiting a website within a 30 minute time period) a website encounters.
Top 4 Reasons Why Clicks and Sessions Counts Don’t Always Match
1. A single user might click on the same ad multiple times. Paradox records and counts each click separately while Google Analytics records separate page views by the same user all as a single session. Therefore, all clicks on an ad are counted individually, while all visits to a website by the same user in a period of 30 minutes counts as one session. This results in a greater amount of clicks than sessions.
2. In contrast, a user might click on an ad, resulting in the creation of a session. Later, the same user may return to the target website over half an hour later, resulting in the creation of a new session (for example, if they bookmark the website and revisit it at a later time). In this instance, a user will only generate a single click while generating multiple sessions, leading to a greater count of sessions than clicks.
4. Finally, a user might click on an advertisement but stop the page from fully loading by navigating to another page or pressing the browser's Stop button. If this happens, Google Analytics’ tracking code will be unable to execute, prohibiting tracking data to be returned to their servers. In this case, Paradox still records a click, but Analytics doesn’t record a session, thereby leading to a greater number of clicks than sessions
To-Do Checklist before Analysing Clicks vs. Sessions
Based on the discussion of the issues mentioned above, here is a quick list of things that should be done before attempting to compare Paradox clicks with Google Analytics sessions:
1. Make sure that Google Analytics has been installed correctly and is functioning as intended.
2. Make sure that the URL destinations in advertisements are correct and point to the landing page being monitored by Analytics.
3. Make sure that preset filters aren’t in conflict with the data being collected for the sake of analyzing an advertising campaign.
4. Make sure that Google Analytics has been configured to allow for manual UTM-rewriting.
5. When possible, avoid using URL-rewrites as it will throw off your ability to perform proper analysis of your landing page visitor statistics.
6. Make use of click tracking templates to be sure that clicks and visitor data is being recorded in an efficient, accurate manner.
By following the advice detailed above, the confusion between clicks and sessions counts can be drastically reduced, along with errors when interpreting reporting results from Paradox and Google. After all, a good advertising campaign requires good methods of analysis in order for any project to maximise the value of its results.