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Finding Your Most Effective Content and Best Referrers

How to See Referring Pages in Google Analytics and How to Interpret it

Google Analytics LogoOne of the annoying omissions in Google Analytics is that you can’t see the actual page that referred traffic to your site; you can only see the website domain.

Seeing the actual page can be useful as you can check it out and analyse what on the actual page caused people to be interested enough to click thru to your site. Was it the context of the page, story, an interesting image etc?

In knowing so, you can then try and create more content around that topic.

EG: If you post to Linkedin groups, knowing which group is sending you the most traffic is of obvious benefit. It means you can target more content to that group and decide to interact more with members of that group.

Also, if there is strong interest then there may be opportunities to follow up leads and potential business.

Thankfully it is relatively simple to set up a filter to give you this information.

If you haven’t done filters before, relax, this is one of the simpler ones.


Full URL Referring Page Filter

Step 1 (Optional)

First of all setup a new profile for this filter. You don’t have to do this step, but as a best practice I always create new profiles for any test. That way if something goes wrong, ie: you write the filter wrong (which is always a possibility with a non-techie like me) and the data gets corrupted you haven’t messed up your original Google Analytics default profile.

So login to your Google Analytics account, click the Admin button, then click the New Profile button near the top right.

Give it a name, press save and your done.

Click on all images for larger version.

Google Analytics New Profile

Step 2

While still in the Admin section from Step 1, simply select Filters and New Filter, then follow the steps below:

Filter Name: Full Referrer (or whatever you want to call it)
Filter Type: Custom Filter
Field A -> Extract A: Referral (.*)
Field B -> Extract B: leave blank
Output To -> Constructor: User Defined $A1
Field A Required: Yes
Field B Required: No
Override Output Field: Yes
Case Sensitive: No

You should end up with something that looks like this.

Google Analytics Filter


That’s pretty much it; you just need to wait a few hours or days before the information starts appearing.


A Custom Report for Easier Analysis

Step 3 Custom Report (Optional)

By default Google Analytics will put this report in what I think is a fairly obscure part of the report menu.  Audience/Demographics/User Defined.

Because I can never remember where that is, I prefer to create a Custom Report.

To do that, select the Custom Report option in the top orange menu bar. Click “ New Custom Report” and then populate the report as per below.

GA Custom Report

Or you can simply click this link and save it to your own Google Analytics profile.

Full Referring URL Google Analytics Custom Report

You can change some of the metrics to suit your own preferences, but the one you will need is the User Defined Value dimension.

That’s the technical stuff out of the way, now on to the juicy stuff.


Finding Your Most Effective Content and Best Referrers

When you run this report you’ll get something like the screenshot below.

Google Analytics Cutom Report Full Referring URL

In my case I’m targeting different Linkedin Groups.

From this I can see how many visits each individual page is generating which tells me which is the most effective group or post.

I can also see how many pages per visit. This lets me know which group found more of my content useful.

I can also see how much time visitors from different groups spent on my site. Again this gives me an indication of which groups I should be cultivating.

Plus I can copy the link and by pasting it into my browser I can see the actual Linkedin Group.

This is all useful stuff when trying to identify your best referrers and most effective content.

Hope that’s all clear.  Any questions, just ask via any of the social options.

Posted in: Conversion Rates,Google Analytics

How to See Referring Pages in Google Analytics and How to Interpret it

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