What is Squarespace Analytics?

Squarespace has been developing an improved analytics platform for over a year in order to give our customers more insight into visitor activity on their websites. Our new platform records more accurate site metrics for all Squarespace sites, and paves the way for more sophisticated tracking methods. This will give you better insight to what actions are causing visitors to come to your site, and what they do once they’re there.

Can you explain the various tracking metrics and how each method is implemented?

Visits

Visits represent continuous browsing events on a website with no more than a 30-minute break between interactions. For example, if you view a page every 29 minutes for three hours, this would be counted as one Visit. If the same visitor views a page after a 30-minute break, a second Visit is counted. This is tracked by a cookie that is set when a visitor first accesses the site.

Visits are a good measure of attention on your site as they correlate with a single browsing session from a single machine and are frequently used in marketing applications.

Audience Size

Audience Size (often called Unique Visitors) is tracked via a browser cookie, which is set when a visitor first accesses a website. The cookie has a lifespan of two years. Audience Size is a good measure of total audience reach, but not necessarily engagement (Visits are a better way to gauge this). Every time you clear your cookies or access an already-visited website from a different browser, you will be counted as unique.

Page View

Page View is a record of every page hit on your site that loads completely.

How do these metrics differ from the old platform (pre October 2013)? Why are my numbers different?

We have changed our approach in recording traffic to your website, adopting better methods to determine the activity of unique visitors. Unlike our previous system, which recorded activity directly via our server logs, our new platform uses a method similar to Google Analytics, where data is recorded via Javascript in the browser. This method provides a much better filter for non-human traffic from bots and crawlers. In addition to much more accurate Page Views and Audience Size figures, the new platform introduces Visits, which offers another perspective on your unique traffic based on browsing session behavior.

The old analytics platform (pre October 2013) referred to metrics such as Page Views and Unique Visitors. How does this map to the new platform concepts with similar names?

The term Unique Visitors has been replaced with Audience Size, and the term Page Views remains the same. The new platform also introduces Visits, as described above.

Why is there a difference in data leading up to September 5, 2013 and data after September 5, 2013?

We began collecting data using our new platform on September 5, 2013. Prior to this date, data was recorded using the old system. You may see a dip in numbers as you compare the older data to the new.

In my hourly view, I see an Audience Size count that is more than the number of Visits I received in a particular hour. How is that possible?

This may occur because of the way that Audience Size and Visits are calculated for a given timeframe. Only the initial Page View that starts a new browsing session is counted toward a Visit. This means that in hourly (and even daily) views, Visits that span the hour or day boundaries may lead to timeframes where Page Views contribute to Audience Size but not Visits.

Suppose a user initially visits your site at 11:30pm on October 1 and continues browsing until 1:30am the next day. In the hourly view, the Visit will only be counted towards the 11pm timeframe and not 12am or 1am. However, in terms of Audience Size, that visitor is counted for all three timeframes. This leads to the following hourly metrics pertaining to this particular browsing session:

  • 11pm: 1 Visit, 1 Audience Size
  • 12am: 0 Visit, 1 Audience Size
  • 1am: 0 Visit, 1 Audience Size

Likewise, in the Daily View, the Visit is counted toward Oct 1 but not Oct 2, while the Audience Size will account for the visitor on both days. The daily metrics look like this:

  • Oct 1: 1 Visit, 1 Audience Size
  • Oct 2: 0 Visit, 1 Audience Size

Why does Squarespace Analytics data differ from Google Analytics?

This may occur for a variety of reasons.

  • Google Analytics will count activity for site administrators and users that are logged in.
  • Squarespace may use different measures to filter out non-human traffic like crawlers and bots.
  • Due to the cost of calculation for certain metrics such as Audience Size and metrics involving secondary dimensions, it's been documented by Google that Google Analytics numbers will not always be accurate and may be an estimation from a sampling of data. The numbers that we provide are always calculated from the full data.
  • For the Visits metric, there's a difference in how we handle the midnight boundary. Every day at midnight, Google Analytics will automatically reset visits, meaning that a single browsing session will be split into two. In Squarespace, a single visitor session can straddle the midnight boundary.
  • Visitor tracking is more of an art than a science. History has shown us that there will always be variations between analytics platforms based on various implementation details.

How often will my metrics be updated?

Squarespace Analytics generally takes no more than 15 minutes to update.

Will Time Zone Settings affect my Squarespace Analytics data?

Time periods are relative to the time zone set in your Time & Geography Settings. Please see our guide on Configuring Time & Geography Settings for more information.

Changing your website's Time Zone & Geography Settings will not affect data previously recorded. It takes effect the moment you make the change.

What does (not provided) mean in the Search Queries report?

This refers to page views from a search engine that makes it impossible for us to determine the query that the user entered. In October 2013, Google made changes that mask all source queries, except for those that come in from paid search. You can still use Google’s Webmaster Tools to determine what keywords are leading visitors to your website. We have a guide on integrating Google Webmaster Tools here.