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Contradictory Analytics

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We have had a Squarespace website for a couple of years, and it has worked well for us.  We review the Analytics regularly.

In early February, we began a small ad campaign using Nextdoor.  From their Analytics, we saw daily or nearly daily clicks on our ad to go to our website.

In early March, Nextdoor showed that we had had just over 50 clicks on our ad during the campaign.  When we  checked Squarespace Analytics at the same time, we found 1 referral from nextdoor.com and 1 referral from ads.nextdoor.com, along with many other referrals.

We contacted Nextdoor support to ask about the discrepancy.  After some delay, we were told that:
1. A third-party like Squarespace cannot reliably report referral data.
2. To get accurate referral data, we should utilize UTM tracking parameters (presumably in the link in our Nextdoor ad).

Our questions are:
1. Would you call Squarespace a third-party?
2. Is it the case that Squarespace cannot reliably report referral activity from a large, established entity like Nextdoor?
3. If in fact Squarespace cannot report reliably, is the solution proposed by Nextdoor one that you endorse?

Thank you in advance for your assistance.  We began with a small ad campaign with Nextdoor precisely in order to get an idea as to how effective it might be.

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Squarespace is the third party to Nextdoor, but the opposite to Squarespace analytics. This info breaks it down. 

Traffic sources and channels

When someone visits your site, the traffic source is where that visitor came from, like a link on another site, an email campaign, or a search engine results page. We group these sources into general channels–like Direct, Social, and Email–to help you understand how different channels are performing.

If you don’t have traffic from a channel, it won’t show. For example, if no visits came from sources we categorize as Display ads, Display ads won’t show in the panel.



SSL settings can impact traffic source data. Learn more.


Direct represents when someone typed your URL directly into their browser, rather than coming to your site from another page. Links opened in a new window also count as Direct.

If this number appears inflated, it could be because some of those visits are from you visiting your site without logging in. When you're logged in, your activity doesn’t count toward visits. However, when you're logged out, we have no way to identify that the visit is you, so those visits can count as Direct, or as a different source if you clicked to your site from somewhere else without logging in, like your Facebook page. You can read about how to avoid this in Hiding your activity from Squarespace analytics.

Display ads

On Business, Commerce, Professional, and Premium plans, Display ads represents traffic coming from display ads on other sites.

On Personal plans, traffic from display ads is included in the Paid channel.


Email represents traffic from email marketing campaigns.

For Squarespace Email Campaigns, if your website is on a Commerce, Professional, and Premium plan, you can review detailed sales information in your site's analytics, such as revenue generated by each campaign. More analytics information displays in the Email Campaigns dashboard.

For Mailchimp, you can compare traffic from forms and campaigns. Traffic from forms represents visitors who followed a link to your site at the end of a mailing list signup form. Traffic from campaigns represents visitors who followed a link to your site from an email. To review specific campaign names, connect Mailchimp to a form or newsletter block. To learn more, visit Using Mailchimp with Squarespace.


To attribute traffic from a Mailchimp campaign to the Email channel, check E-commerce link tracking when you set up the campaign in Mailchimp. Otherwise, traffic from the campaign is considered Direct.


The Search channel represents organic traffic from Google and other search engines.


Social represents traffic to your site from social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and X, formerly known as Twitter. 


Squarespace has tools to help you drive traffic to your site from social media. Use built-in tools like pushing content, share buttons, and Pinterest save buttons to promote share content and products on social.


On Personal plans, this channel represents traffic from display ads on other sites or social media platforms, and paid searches in Google and other search engines.

Paid search

On Commerce, Professional, and Premium plans, the Paid search channel represents paid searches in Google and other search engines.

On Personal plans, traffic from paid searches is included in the Paid channel.

Paid social

On Commerce, Professional, and Premium plans, the Paid social channel represents paid advertisements on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and X.


Referral represents websites and blogs that link to your content that don’t fit under other channels.

Tor exit nodes

The Tor_exit_nodes source represents traffic from an anonymous source, such as a VPN or an anonymous browser.

Overview graph

The graph appears differently depending on where you're reviewing your analytics.


The line graph at the top of the panel shows trends over time. Each line on the graph represents a different channel like Direct, Social, or Email. Hover over any point to review data per channel for a time frame.

Click the Daily drop-down menu to change the time scale. Time scale options depend on the number of available data points.

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Thank you for your extensive and prompt reply, Derrick!

On our Squarespace Analytics Traffic Sources page, we see only Direct, Social, Search, and Referral, no DIsplay Ads, no Paid, Paid Search, or Paid Social.  The number of referrals from Nextdoor has increased to 4 total (instead of 2) in the last few days.

You state that the Referral category is content that does not fit under other channels.  I take this to mean that a Referral from a Paid ad on Nextdoor should appear under one of the Paid categories, and will be excluded from the Referral category.  Did I get that right?

If so, I still have a huge discrepancy, with Nextdoor claiming over 50 clicks and Squarespace showing only 2 (now updated to 4).  And again, nothing under Display Ads or Paid categories.

If we are getting referrals from paid advertising from Nextdoor, why does nothing show up under a paid category on Squarespace?

Thanks once again!


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I apologize.  I did not read your comments closely enough.

You wrote that links opened in a new window are classified as Direct, and therefore would not show the referral website.  I checked the ads on Nextdoor, and they do open in a new tab on the browser.

I have added UTM parameters to the Submit button on our ad, and will check Squarespace Analytics to see whether that works for our purpose.

Thank you.


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