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Learn to identify referral spam traffic, as well as best practices to reduce referral spam in your Google Analytics account
 
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facebook.com / social and facebook.com / referral

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hello

 

What is the difference between facebook.com / social and facebook.com / referral ?

 

Thank you  

1 Expert replyverified_user
1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

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Marked as Best Answer.
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Accepted by topic author Dominique Bossavy A
June 2016

Re: facebook.com / social and facebook.com / referral

Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
# 2
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
Hi Dominique,

are you referring to the Acquisition --> All traffic --> Source / Medium report, right?

If this is true, what you are seeing in the first column is a dimension composed by the "source" / "medium" values.

Aside from some special cases that I will not discuss here, the left part of the "/", i.e. the "source" value, is the domain (i.e. the website) from which a user is coming from, when he visits your website. E.g. when you see 100 sessions for the source "facebook.com", this means that 100 sessions (=visits) were generated by people that came to your website following links placed on facebook.

The right part of the "/", i.e. the "medium" value, is a label that aggregates sources belonging to the same "type of traffic".

For example, "referral" is a label that Google Analytics uses by default to indicate spontaneous (=not paid) traffic coming from links placed in external sites (like facebook, twitter, a blog, a forum, etc.) different from search engines.

However, the "source" and "medium" values can also be customized, and this is useful when you are doing promotional activities: for example, if you have a fanpage of Facebook and you regularly post links pointing to your website, you should customize the "medium" value (along with other tracking parameters), in order to distinguish the sessions generated by your promotional activities on Facebook from those generated by spontaneous traffic coming from Facebook (e.g. from people spontaneously sharing, on their profiles, a link to your website) and that gets labeled as referral by Google Analytics.

If you see "social" for some values of the "medium", this sounds like this customization activity is being carried out by someone that works with you (or for you), and the "social" value could be his or her label to indicate visits coming from his or her promotional activity.

More on tracking your links in your promotional campaigns: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033863?hl=en

p.s. there is also another possibility: maybe you are seeing a report in which the primary dimension is "source" and the secondary dimension is "default channels grouping". In fact, in the dimension "default channels grouping" you see a further aggregating label that Google Analytics gives by default to sessions coming to your website, based on their traffic type. For sessions coming from Social Networks, the default channel grouping label is "Social".

Hope it helps!

Best,
Gabriele



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Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by topic author Dominique Bossavy A
June 2016

Re: facebook.com / social and facebook.com / referral

Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
# 2
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
Hi Dominique,

are you referring to the Acquisition --> All traffic --> Source / Medium report, right?

If this is true, what you are seeing in the first column is a dimension composed by the "source" / "medium" values.

Aside from some special cases that I will not discuss here, the left part of the "/", i.e. the "source" value, is the domain (i.e. the website) from which a user is coming from, when he visits your website. E.g. when you see 100 sessions for the source "facebook.com", this means that 100 sessions (=visits) were generated by people that came to your website following links placed on facebook.

The right part of the "/", i.e. the "medium" value, is a label that aggregates sources belonging to the same "type of traffic".

For example, "referral" is a label that Google Analytics uses by default to indicate spontaneous (=not paid) traffic coming from links placed in external sites (like facebook, twitter, a blog, a forum, etc.) different from search engines.

However, the "source" and "medium" values can also be customized, and this is useful when you are doing promotional activities: for example, if you have a fanpage of Facebook and you regularly post links pointing to your website, you should customize the "medium" value (along with other tracking parameters), in order to distinguish the sessions generated by your promotional activities on Facebook from those generated by spontaneous traffic coming from Facebook (e.g. from people spontaneously sharing, on their profiles, a link to your website) and that gets labeled as referral by Google Analytics.

If you see "social" for some values of the "medium", this sounds like this customization activity is being carried out by someone that works with you (or for you), and the "social" value could be his or her label to indicate visits coming from his or her promotional activity.

More on tracking your links in your promotional campaigns: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033863?hl=en

p.s. there is also another possibility: maybe you are seeing a report in which the primary dimension is "source" and the secondary dimension is "default channels grouping". In fact, in the dimension "default channels grouping" you see a further aggregating label that Google Analytics gives by default to sessions coming to your website, based on their traffic type. For sessions coming from Social Networks, the default channel grouping label is "Social".

Hope it helps!

Best,
Gabriele



Re: facebook.com / social and facebook.com / referral

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Hello Gabriele
Thank you for your reply!! Yes I am talking about this section: Acquisition --> All traffic --> Source / Medium.
I understand the Referral label as being a free source coming from Facebook either from our website or links inside posts.
But I dont understand the "social" label as I don't have other people working for me through Facebook. However I am using Buffer to post , do you think there could be any relation ? Otherwise I have no idea ...
Thank you very much for your help !
Best ,

Re: facebook.com / social and facebook.com / referral

Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Dominique,

yes, it is very likely that Buffer customize the values for the "medium" dimension (as well as other tracking parameters, like "source" and "campaign"... these kind of parameters are known as "UTM" tracking parameters, or UTM tags).

 

I found these links about Buffer and Google Analytics integration, that includes UTM tracking parameters:

- https://blog.bufferapp.com/introducing-google-analytics-integration-for-buffer-and-3-more-features
- https://blog.bufferapp.com/utm-guide

 

The screenshot below is taken from the first link, and it seems that there is a place in which you can specify the UTM tags for the Buffer posts. My guess is that there are some pre-set default values, and social is the default value for the "UTM medium" tag.

 

Schermata 06-2457564 alle 09.36.24.pngUTM tracking configuration in Buffer

 

To further confirm that this "social" label comes from Buffer, in the Acquisition --> All Traffic --> Source / medium report, try to add a secondary dimension, and specify "Campaign" (see screenshot below). Near each "facebook.com / social" row, my guess is that, for the campaign value, there is written "Buffer" (that could be the default value for the "UTM Campaign" tag.

 

Schermata 06-2457564 alle 09.31.28.pngExample of Campaign added as a secondary dimension to Source / Medium report

 

Hope it helps!

 

Gabriele

 

Re: facebook.com / social and facebook.com / referral

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Hello Gabriele

THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH for your help !!! You were right : Near the Facebook /social row it was written "Buffer" Smiley Happy So yes we can definitely say that Facebook /social comes from Buffer.
Thank you again
Best regards

Re: facebook.com / social and facebook.com / referral

Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
Eheheheh Smiley Happy

I'm happy I was helpful!! Smiley Happy

I Wish you a great day,

Gabriele

Re: facebook.com / social and facebook.com / referral

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Thank you !! you as wellSmiley Happy

Re: facebook.com / social and facebook.com / referral

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Hello Gabriele! I have a little questionSmiley Happy If facebook.com / social = buffer , do you thing facebook.com / referral could be = to Hootsuite ?? Because I don't know what it means ...

Here what I have understood :

"organic" = unpaid search traffic (natural seo)

"none" = direct traffic

facebook.com / social = buffer campaigns

m.facebook.com / referral = Visitor came from the Facebook Mobile App

lm.facebook.com / referral = Visitor came from mobile web browser.  Directly from https://m.facebook.com

l.facebook.com / referral = Visitor came from desktop web browser.  Directly from https://facebook.com

facebook.com / referral = Visitor came from Hootsuite

thank you again for your help !

facebook.com / social and facebook.com / referral

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Similar question here:

We are running Facebook ads that are tagged utm_source=facebook and utm_medium=cpm. We also have utm_content and utm_campaign. However it seems that when a user clicks the ad they are loaded "in App" and for some reason those clicks are coming thru as m.facebook/referral even though they are absolutely via Facebook Ads. Can this be fixed by a referral exclusion or something similar? 

facebook.com / social and facebook.com / referral

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 10
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

you're too good for this world!