Analytics Services May Be Missing Some Twitter Referrals
If you use Twitter or create content, you have probably figured out by now that it can be a great tool for driving traffic to your site. There are measures you can take to expand this if your content is not bringing in the Twitter traffic on its own.
If you’re not seeing much traffic from Twitter, there is a chance it’s coming in anyway, and you’re just not aware of it. For that matter, if you are getting a lot of traffic from Twitter, you may be getting even more than you thought.
Stan Pugsley, director of business intelligence for iCrossing says that nearly 70% of referral traffic from Twitter goes unmeasured, particularly if you are using web analytics tools like Google Analytics or Omniture.
“The problem is not with the web analytics tools, but with the Twitter applications like Tweetdeck and Twhirl that are not based in an Internet Browser,” explains Pugsley. “When a user clicks through a link in a tweet, those applications do not register a referring URL that can be picked up by the destination website. It appears that they are coming directly to the site. According to TweetStats, only 31.7% of tweets originate from twitter.com, and those are the visitors that can be tracked back to tweets.”
Pugsley suggests testing this for yourself, by installing a Twitter app like Tweetdeck, installing the Live HTTP headers plug-in for Firefox, and clicking through the URL in a tweet, then looking at the referrer.
His observation about missing Twitter traffic stats is not a new one, but probably still a topic that gets overlooked frequently. Back in the summer, Danny Sullivan wrote a couple of articles for Search Engine Land tackling the subject. These dig in quite a bit further. If you feel like you are being shortchanged on your Twitter traffic, these are required reading.