Scenario: You send out your latest blog post to all of your Social Media profiles hoping to gain some targeted traffic. You check back a day later to see what platform gave you the most bang for your buck… what do you see? Great! You see a spike in overall traffic and some referral traffic from the Social Media platforms, but a lot of “direct traffic” as well. Direct traffic to that blog article?
How could this be? Are people seeing your Social Media post, opening a browser and typing the URL in directly? No, they’re not. Let’s take a look at what’s happening. Many people access their Social Media profiles through the social media app on their mobile devices. When they saw your post, they clicked it from the app. Using the app or even clicking your link that’s in an email won’t trigger a “referral” in Google Analytics, because technically those are offline- or not web page to web page. We hear it over and over, but more and more people are using their mobile phones to access the Internet. Some of those people will use the mobile website of Facebook or Twitter, though many will just use the app. I’m seeing more and more of my clients that say most of their clients don’t have the Internet at home. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook acknowledges this in their SEC filing:
“Approximately 102 million mobile MAUs [Monthly Active Users] accessed Facebook solely through mobile apps or our mobile website during the month ended June 30, 2012, increasing 23% from 83 million during the month ended March 31, 2012.”
102 million people only used Facebook through mobile. That means we must be able to track referral traffic from Social Media Apps as opposed to just from the Social Media mobile website.
You, the business owner need to know what’s working and what’s not. Google Analytics give you a wealth of information, but it won’t know where to put referral traffic coming from offline (read: not in a browser) sources. So what’s the answer? Fortunately you can get a better grip on tracking these different visits. How? Tag everything! The UTM tagger (Urchin Tracking Module), named from Urchin, the company that Google bought the Analytics platform from in 2005.
UTM tags can be setup to track different parameters. Before throwing these parameters together, it’s best to think of the big, long term marketing picture. How your online marketing will be in the future so you can be consistent with the tracking. Here are the parameters:
Source– utm_source: This is the site you’re putting this link on. Examples are Facebook, Twitter, Email, etc. So, you’ll want to create a different one for each platform you want to track. So you may not want to be broad and use “Social Media” for all of your profiles, you’ll want to specify which one to target in the future- so make different tags for each and post them separately.
Medium– utm_medium: What medium are you using? This is where you can put Social, Email, payperclick, etc.
Campaign– utm_campaign: What promotion are you running? Is this seasonal- like: Summer Special, Cyber Monday, etc.
Term (not necessary)- utm_term: paid keywords for your pay per click campaign- Example- golf course las vegas
Content (not necessary)- utm_content: For split testing, for separating 2 ads that may go to the same landing page- one would be Google and another Yahoo for example.
Here are some URL builders to make building your URLs a snap:
To check the traffic you’ve received from it, log into Google Analytics and go to Traffic Sources > All Traffic > Secondary Dimension. If you’d like to sort it by a secondary dimension, click Secondary Dimension > Traffic Sources and select which one you’d like to sort by- Source, Medium, Campaign, etc.
Do you have a favorite URL builder that you use? Maybe another tip that I’ve missed? Put it in the comments!