Identifying website visitors coming from magazine advertisements

Continuing our look at how to cut down on the unhelpful “direct” traffic source category in your website analytics, we need to address what to do with people coming from “offline” media, such as magazine adverts. How do we measure these?

The obvious thing would be to extend our tagging, as discussed yesterday. The problem here is that you can’t really sign off your magazine advert with “Visit www.bluewidgetcompany.co.uk?utm_source=Widget%20World%20advert for more details”. Nobody is going to type that out. Indeed, even companies which have created shortcut addresses, such as www.bluewidgetcompany.co.uk?go=01, have found that people just type in the domain. Once there’s anything in the page address which isn’t a letter or a dot, they stop: even a slash is too much for most of us nowadays, it seems.

The solution is to create a whole new domain to use in your advert. It sounds adventurous, but it really isn’t. Anyone typing in the “single-use” domain gets seamlessly redirected to whatever page you choose on your website, complete with source tag. Perfect. I explained previously how to do this here.

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