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Facebook, Google+ (Plus), Twitter - the problem of how to measure referral traffic

TechCrunch :: While it’s still far from clear what the actual impact of G+ will be on the Internet at large,  it’s pretty clear already that it’s something Facebook is going to have to take seriously. To measure the impact of a site on your traffic you normally look at referral traffic in your statistic tool of choice. So far it was difficult to measure the impact Google+ has, until yesterday. Google made it much more straightforward.

When you click on an external link now in Google+, it redirects the click through the plus.google.com domain since yesterday. Why? Because Google+ uses HTTPS to be more secure, but that strips referrer information that would normally be passed to sites like TechCrunch. To make the impact of these referral clicks visible they had to redirect to another non-HTTPS domain to pass that data. If you already experiment with Google+ traffic, you should already be able to identify visitors from plus.google.com as Google+ readers, listed in your analytics tool. 

But it also looks like that we currently underestimate Twitter traffic. MG Siegler: "Facebook does a similar redirect to ensure that the pageviews they’re sending others’ way are correctly counted. Others, like Twitter, do not generally do this, which likely makes their sharing stats appear lower than they actually are."

Continue to read MG Siegler, techcrunch.com

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