Original referrer is a marketing term which describes the source of the original visit to a website. This can be used to measure website performance and marketing effectiveness for businesses. It is also important for informing marketing strategies to optimise efforts and ensure campaigns are delivering the desired results.
At its most basic, ‘original referrer’ refers to the website that a visitor initially comes from to get to a website. It is useful for businesses to have an understanding of the source of their website traffic, at both an aggregate and granular level, ie. the type of website and the number of visitors from each site. By monitoring the source of the visits they can both assess which websites are performing better and measure effectiveness of their own campaigns.
For example, if a business is running a social media campaign their original referrer data can show them if the campaign was successful in bringing visitors to their website. Similarly, if a business is running an email marketing campaign, this data can show them traffic from the email and help them to judge the success of that campaign. Tracking original referrer data across multiple campaigns can also help businesses to compare performance and decide on new strategies.
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To capture this data businesses can use a range of tools and services. This includes ‘tracking pixels’ which track visitors from the originating website, ‘referer logs’ which record the referring website in the request header, and services such as Google Analytics which provide detailed insights. Google Analytics can not only track the original referrer, but also show further detail such as the time spent on the website, what devices or browsers were used, and the number of conversions each lead to.
When it comes to best practice, it’s important that businesses establish a clear process for tracking original referrer data. This should include setting up their tracking tools such as tracking pixels, setting up error logs to capture any tracking errors, and also setting up proper reporting processes. It’s also important to keep up to date with the latest developments in tracking technology so businesses can determine what works best for their own scenario.
It’s also worth noting that when a visitor returns to the website another referral source will be logged. For example, if a visit from a search engine is logged as the original referrer, then any subsequent visits from a direct search may be logged as repeat visits from organic search. As such, it’s important for businesses to be able to differentiate between the first visit from a referral and any subsequent visits.