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.
Is Twitter a significant traffic source for your site?
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.
Danny SullivanHis 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.
As far as simply increasing your traffic from Twitter, here are a few tips:
1. Include some kind of Twitter/tweet button on your content.
2. Abide by this equation, or at least the principle behind it.
3. Make your Twitter presence known throughout your site
4. Use your Twitter presence along with your site on business cards, signatures, etc.
5. Actively engage on Twitter.
6. Tweet your own content. If they're following you, they must be interested in what you have to say (that doesn't mean to just tweet ads and sales pitches. Tweet useful information.).
7. Include ways to share your content on other social networks. It will often find its way to Twitter by other people.
8. Integrate Twitter into your other marketing channels (email for example).
I'm sure there are plenty of other tips that could go here. Feel free to share some if you have them.
Twitter is much more than a way to drive traffic, but when traffic is the goal, it certainly holds a great deal of potential. If you were unaware that you may be getting Twitter traffic that is not being counted as such, perhaps you will see even more potential.