• Israel

    Very helpful!

    What about the links you can’t control? Is there a way to identify them as Twitter not as Direct traffic?

  • Andrew Burke


    If you cannot add parameters to the link and the visitor does not send referral data, like twitter apps, I do not think there is a way to identify them as Twitter and not as Direct Traffic. If anyone has found a way, feel free to comment!

  • Eric Wittlake

    @Isreal, when you are counting on people in your audience to share links to a specific post or article, the coding referenced here will capture a portion of traffic.

    One additional step you can take is to make certain you set up click tracking everywhere you can control it, particularly for other direct entry sources (like email or RSS feeds). As long as you are sending traffic to a deeper page in your site, you will likely see spikes in direct entry traffic to the promoted page strongly correlate to the overall social traffic you can track with the URL encoding Andrew posted.

  • Andrew Burke


    You are absolutely correct, you can add these parameters to any medium you expect direct traffic from, be it RSS feeds or emails. This will help you to better track the overall effectiveness of the campaign, and not just it’s effectiveness on twitter.

  • Garious

    That’s a curious thing. I wonder how you can control or filter those direct messages as the last thing I want to receive is a message that looks like a Twitter version of Google Adsense. If I were shopping online at that moment, I’d appreciate all those coupons, freebies and stuff. Still, it can be time-consuming to just read them all.

  • web design in Maidstone

    wow.. never knew that twitter visitors show up as a direct traffic…

    thank You for sharing

    Helmut from the UK

    p.s. thank You for great tut videos as well :)

  • Andrew Burke

    @ Garious you shouldn’t receive any direct messages with this setup. This will allow you to track your twitter referrals in Google Analytics as twitter, instead of as Direct traffic. Hopefully this will help you figure out which of your twitter campaigns are the most successful!

    @Helmut, Glad to help!

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  • Carol F

    So this issue of direct vs. referral — is it the same for Hoosuite or Social Oomph?

  • Ian Greenleigh

    Just wanted to leave a quick thank you for writing this. You saved me a huge headache, and now I can actually report up good results from our social efforts.


  • omer

    i am using twitter and facebook links on my site, And i was seeing a lot of Directs as sources in the google analytics. this article is just for me. thank you…

  • Michel ozzello

    I thought that, in order to make these URLs work you need to always define the utm_source, utm_medium and utm_campaign.

    In fact, if you go to the URL Builder tool page, Google marks these parameters as mandatory.

    Am I looking at this the wrong way?
    Will Google Analytics tracking work if we only add the utm_source?


  • Drew

    I’m confused by the note below:

    add the parameter “utm_source=twitter”, being careful to include the “&” or “?” as necessary to mark this addition to the URL as a parameter.

    What do you mean by adding “&” or “?” to the UTM?

  • Michel Ozzello

    Drew, what he means is that if the URL already has parameters, you’ll have to use an &.
    If there are no parameters yet, then you should use a ? (which is the character that indicates that from that point on you will have parameters.)

    If the url is

    then you need to add the utm parameters with the & &utm_source=x&utm_medium=yutm_campaign=Z

    If the url is

    then you need to use ?

    Let me know if this is not clear.


  • Michel Ozzello

    Just realized I made a couple of typos in the URLs above… that’s what happens when you’re typing with no light! :)

    Sorry about that, but I hope you understood what I meant.