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How to track redirected visits in Google Analytics

Posted on 2015-01-28
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Last Modified: 2016-02-24
We have printed ads using a tracking url such as 2somedomain.com . The tracking url is redirected to the main domain of the advertiser. We want to track these referred visits, but we do not have access to the tracking url.
Example:
If a user manually enters a tracking url like 2somedomain.com in a browser, it redirects to somedomain.com
However, we cannot see these visits showing as a referral coming from 2somedomain.com in the Google Analytics account for somedomain.com .
Can you tell me why, or if they would be showing as something else, and if it is possible to track these referrals?
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Question by:weknowjack
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Expert Comment

by:COBOLdinosaur
ID: 40580307
Your question should be directed at Google.  They set policy and the rules (with frequent changes); and only they can give you answers to questions about your specific account.

Cd&
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Lucas Bishop earned 500 total points
ID: 40581681
I think the underlying issue is the type of redirect taking place.  If the referring domain is not sending traffic in a trackable way, it may need to be updated so it meets your needs.

So the big question, how is the 'tracking domain' executing the redirect? Is it at the DNS level? Is it a regular 301 redirect? Is it doing a 301 redirect to an intermediary page then doing a meta-refresh over to another page?

In many cases a meta-refresh, a javascript redirect or using intermediary pages in the redirect process will cause the referrer to be lost.

Using firefox, when you view the final page in the redirect, what does it list under "Referring Url" when you Right-Click and "View Page Info".

What do you get when you check the 'tracking url' in this page:
http://www.redirect-checker.org/
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Author Closing Comment

by:weknowjack
ID: 40589495
You provided some great questions. We have since determined that these particular redirects are not trackable at this time. The questions you bring up and the tool will help us now and in the future to find out why. Although this is not a direct solution, I can now see why and it helps.

Using the redirect analysis tool, the referring domain uses a permanent 301.
Thanks.
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