A guest post by Sophorn Chhay
The most successful marketers have detailed strategies that outline important goals that need to be met through content marketing, advertising, inbound marketing and more. If you are putting in the hard work to create great content with a multi-channel publishing strategy, then you want to know what is working and what isn’t.
The problem is, some of your traffic isn’t being credited to the correct sources.
When you share your content socially, there are three ways you may find your numbers get skewed. This can make it hard to prove that your social media marketing is working.
Shortened URLs can’t carry the social referrer with them, so each shortened link will only point back to the link shortening service. This gets your link counted as direct traffic, which isn’t very helpful in breaking down what works and what doesn’t. Shortened links are helpful for text message services for businesses, Twitter, and other places where long links can become a space-wasting problem.
Dark Social Media
Social Media Examiner explains dark social media as traffic that is “referred to your site when you post a direct link to your content on a social media network and that link is clicked outside of the network.” This means that when third party software, like Hootsuite, is used to click on a link shared on social media, the link looks like direct page traffic. In the same way, if another company chose to use their text messaging service provider or email platform to pass along a link you shared on one of your platforms, the traffic will only be attributed as direct traffic.
The third situation that causes these tracking problems comes from application settings. When you click on a link to a website on an app from a major site like Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, you open up a new browser session. As Search Engine Land explains, “The request gets recorded by Google Analytics as a “direct” hit to the “/” home page (regardless of actual page requested), and without referrer.”
What Can You Do to Track Correctly?
There is a fairly simple fix to help you record where your leads are actually coming from: use custom campaign URLs to set apart your various efforts on social media or influencer marketing. A Google URL builder tool can help you make deliberate tags for your URLs, allowing you to set apart the sources you plan to post your content to. With different tags, your content origin is clear, and you will know which platforms are sending you leads.
This allows you to measure your success properly. Unfortunately, it also requires an obscene amount of busywork that many marketers simply won’t bother to complete for every single content piece and method of publishing. But, whether you choose to adjust your links in every case or only for certain campaigns, it is important to at least know why the numbers look the way they do.
About the author
Sophorn Chhay is the marketing guy at Trumpia, provider of SMS software with mass SMS messaging, smart targeting, and automation. Check out his additional marketing strategy resources: Mobile Marketing Success Kit and Trumpia’s 5-Minute Demo.