Tracking Twitter Traffic

Twitter AnalyticsDespite the obvious enjoyment of the alliteration in tracking twitter traffic. It is a common question that people have. How do you track twitter traffic.  Well the short answer is you can’t, or at least not completely. The longer answer is, yes there are tools to use and Twitter just made it a lot easier.

Shortners

The easiest way to track traffic from your Twitter account is to use a shortner.  Bit.ly, Goo.gl, Ow.ly are a few of the common link shortners that will also give you analytics. Personally I prefer bit.ly. I like the analytics they give. They let you know where you traffic is coming from and how many unique people are clicking your links. If you are fastidious, you can even check what time of day people were clicking if you look at the past 24 hours. Goo.gl has obvious benefits as far as SEO (though bit.ly is run through google analytics, and also receives SEO benefit), though I am not as fond of their reporting system.  Ow.ly is great for those of you who use Hootsuite to manage your Twitter accounts.

When you use a shortened link in your tweets, and someone clicks that link, it is very easy to track it through the analytics of the shortner. However, this does not account for all twitter traffic. You will also get traffic from your profile, from other people tweeting your links and from brand recognition.

Direct Traffic

This is the traffic that is going directly to your website. This could be from the link on your profile, or if you are putting your direct link in your tweets. This could also be from people typing in your URL directly into their browser.

Making it Easier

The bigger problem with tracking twitter traffic is through your analytics. When you are looking at your analytics though a site like Google Analyitics or Statscounter the traffic from Twitter was not always being credited from Twitter depending on the the device being used. For instance if someone when to your site from twitter, but they were using a mobile device, your analytics would likely report that it was coming from a mobile device and not Twitter, even though it was coming from both. Or worse, you would not show a Twitter referal at all, it would show up as direct traffic.

Twitter is now shortening all links that are 20 characters or more with their t.co link shortner.  This is meant to help with tracking traffic. It will also allow the analytics providers to properly attribute their traffic sources.

 

Though this newly integrated Twitter shortner is meant to help track twitter traffic, it is in part part of Twitters ongoing efforts to replace the need for third party apps.  Though it is unlikely that t.co will replace bit.ly anytime soon. For one, the true analytics of t.co is only available to a small selection of developers and not available to the public. So the only way to view link analytics is through your website analytics provider. For many marketers that is simply not enough.

On the plus side, in your analytics you should be able to see what t.co is directing traffic to your site. This means that you can track your site traffic down to a specific tweet, and that is a huge plus for marketers.

So now we just have to wait for the release of the full t.co analytics to see if they will get rid of the need for third party shortners.