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Twitter Redirects the Redirect

Posted by: formicmediauser

In a move that actually makes complete sense, Twitter has started wrapping URLs within tweets in the “t.co” domain.  Previously, when clicking on links through third-party Twitter clients, such as, Hootsuite or your favorite mobile application, Twitter was not given the credit it deserved in Google Analytics.

Twitter claims this has been done in an effort to protect users from malicious sites, but let’s be honest – they want credit for the traffic they’re driving to your site.

In a recent post on the awe.sm blog, the claim was made that Twitter drives 4x as much traffic as you think it does.  Additional stats from the awe.sm blog:

  • only 24.4% of clicks on links shared on Twitter had twitter.com in the referrer;
  • 62.6% of clicks on links shared on Twitter had no referrer information at all (i.e. they would show up as ‘Direct Traffic’ in Google Analytics);
  • and 13.0% of clicks on links shared on Twitter had another site as the referrer (e.g. facebook.com, linkedin.com).

Previously, one of the only ways to track true Twitter referral traffic in Google Analytics was to use the Google URL builder to assign custom campaign attribution to your links.  Going about things this way was not an entertaining task if you manage multiple Twitter accounts, or like to bulk schedule posts.

Also, no need to worry if you have a favorite URL shortener.  Straight from a the horse’s mouth (if the horse was Twitter and it’s mouth was an email):

“If you currently use a link-shortener, t.co won’t interfere with that, and the reporting you’ve enjoyed from that service will remain unaffected. Furthermore, we’re working to ensure you should never actually see “t.co” in any Tweets—your shorteners or links will render in their original form to end users, with t.co working in the background. “

I’ll leave you with one quick tip – if you want to filter the source of your traffic to just see your Twitter referral traffic, make sure to put a space after the t.co (“t.co “), this will prevent the filter from including referral sources whose domains end in “t.com” (e.g.: xyz.blogspot.com).

So have at it, head over to your favorite Google Analytics account and check it out for yourself.  Are you seeing a huge increase in referral traffic from Twitter?  Let us know in the comments.

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