Tracking Visitors Referred from Twitter Links
Posted by Elmer in Digital on June 10, 2009

Everyone seems to find it exciting to use Twitter, the microblogging tool that allows one to send short messages 140 characters at a time. Because blog is long and boring, Twitter offers an avenue for one to be more straightforward, direct to the point. As Twitter becomes a new tool to broadcast ourselves, let's consider it as another marketing channel where we can draw attention from the crowd. And with digital marketing, visits to our links via Twitter should be tracked. In this manner we will be able to compare how effective Twitter is. We write our rants, we respond to questions, we share links (with the help of URL shortening services). That's the beauty of Twitter. (In case you're starting out with Twitter, you may want to read this user manual. Otherwise, you may want to follow BeansBox if you haven't done so yet.)

Let's say I am blogging about '101 Tips to be Productive with Twitter', track my pages using Google Analytics and I want to promote it through Twitter, Google AdWords and Digg. Each application allows me to customize the blog URL so that I can embed tracking codes. I will use Google Analytics' URL Builder to do so. Using its interface, let's enter the following information:
 1. URL of the blog
2. Campaign source (blog)
3. Campaign medium (Twitter, cpc, Digg)
4. Campaign name (say "ProductiveTwitter")

The URL Builder tool will generate unique URLs we can distinguish from each other, even though they display the same blog entry page.

By using these unique URLs generated, Google Analytics will be able which one is submitted in Digg, used as landing page in AdWords or a Twitter update.

Assuming we already launch all three methods to promote the blog, it's time to check the performance using Google Analytics. The report can be accessed at Traffic Source > Campaigns. If this is our first time to launch such promotion, we can only see one row of campaign, "ProductiveTwitter". Switching the Dimension menu to "Source" should show three rows, each with its corresponding number of visit, time on site or bounce rate. More importantly, if we click on the "Goal Conversion" tab, we will see which source (Twitter, Google AdWords or Digg) is the most effective in delivering our goal.

Speaking of Google Analytics, sometimes we are proud about our own website's visitor traffic using this tool. We are happy to tell everyone that we have gained significant improvement in visitor raffic. However, this may not be entirely true. It is possible that we have frequently accessed our pages and are artificially inflating our visitor number. Refraining from going to our website may be an option (bad idea actually), filtering our IP address in Google Analytics for our account is a much preferred approach. To do so, click the "Edit" within the profile settings of the selected website.

Click the "Add Filter" within the "Filters Applied to Profile" section to see the page similar to the image on the left. In this case, we select "exclude traffic from an IP address" and enter the IP address value in the text box below.  If you don't know the IP address of your office, you can use tools like What is my IP address?

Don't forget to observe the proper way to input an IP address.

Once this setting has been successfully saved, your visits to your website from office will no longer be tracked. We may feel dismayed to see a drop in traffic to our site but I am sure that's okay. It's better to see a small number than pretend to get a big one and it's not true.

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