Have you ever run an analytics report and noticed something in the metrics that literally made you go “WTF?!” (interpret that as you will). I was analyzing a referring domains report for a client today and I had one of those moments. The top referrer was a site I’d never heard of before (ycombinator.com). They generated a big spike of traffic over the weekend but now any links they had to our client’s site are gone. To top it off the site makes mention of posting news “of interest to good hackers”.
It took a bit of digging and conferring with a colleauge to sort out what happened (blogger on the client’s site is apparently popular among the good hacker community and that’s what got their attention). To figure this out I had to employ not just my client’s metrics solution, SiteCatalyst, but also the expertise of a colleauge and some creative google searches to understand what was going on.
Lesson for today: Don’t just rely on your web metrics tool. Think “outside the box” if you will and employ all your available resources because sometimes the metrics data is not enough to tell the complete story, especially in “WTF?!” cases.