Measuring referral traffic is essential for news organizations, or any website owner for that matter. However, there’s always been a major limitation to doing that. Measuring referrals from one of the most popular social networks, Twitter, has proven itself to be a formidable task.
But a long-awaited reprieve is coming. This week, Twitter began rolling out its Web analytics tool. All website owners will have access to the service in a matter of weeks, reports Poynter’s Jeff Sonderman.
The introduction of this tool will provide an official, baseline metric for everyone from news organizations to social media marketers to measure the impact that Twitter has on their websites. Currently, a wide array of often-pricy third-party products like Radian6, bit.ly enterprise and Sprout Social are required to obtain what feels like piecemeal Twitter analytics.
Even more problematic is if one tries to use their website analytics tool to measure Twitter referral traffic. Sometimes traffic will show as coming from twitter.com or hootsuite.com. Oftentimes, like when the popular application TweetDeck is used, inbound referral traffic will not show up at all.
But a recent improvement—which is key to the functionality of how the Twitter analytics tool will work—has made measuring referrals this way become easier in recent weeks. More and more Twitter links have been wrapped in Twitter’s proprietary URL shortener, t.co. This happens whether or not one uses a third-party shortner like bit.ly, tinyurl or is.gd.
Of course, no complete count of Twitter referrals will happen until a website owner gets their hands on the new analytics tool.
If you already have access to the tool, please let us know how it is in the comments section below.