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Author Topic: HTTPS --> HTTP referrals  (Read 887 times)
Travoli
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« on: May 22, 2017, 07:34:26 PM »

HTTPS --> HTTP does not trigger a referral on Google analytics.
Solution: <meta name="referrer" content="always" />

I just learned this the hard way. Angry clients are e-mailing asking where the traffic went.
We added SSL in March. I wasn't aware of the issue. Maybe this will save someone a headache.

More info:
https://vickeryhill.com/blog/google-analytics-referral-data-loss/
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littleman
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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2017, 08:10:45 PM »


Solution: <meta name="referrer" content="always" />

Nice tip!
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ergophobe
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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2017, 12:24:14 AM »

On the other side of the equation, most of our biggest referrers are .gov sites and over the past few years they've all been going https. I think everyone is finally trained not to panic when referrals plummet.
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rcjordan
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2017, 12:38:14 AM »

>finally trained not to panic

Not Trav's clients.
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Rumbas
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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2017, 08:10:36 AM »

>finally trained not to panic

Not ours either.

Thanks, just passed to our GA team and then went all over it. #hattip
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Rumbas
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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2017, 08:39:57 AM »

My guys says there is a problem. however using the UTM parameters in your links will sort it.
Also, the traffic - without UTM - will end up in direct so yeah, no wonder your advertisers complain Trav. UTM all the way.
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ergophobe
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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2017, 04:05:49 PM »

meta tag, UTM and all that all assume you control the page on the referring site (as I say, in our case, this is .gov and we don't).

There's nothing you can do on your end to sort this out except go https. That's the real solution. Once you got https, all your referral traffic comes back because the protocols do allow sending referrer data between secure sites. I don't see how that meta tag gets around that problem - it effectively breaks the https protocol.
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Travoli
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« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2017, 05:36:25 PM »

UTM is a great idea Rumbas, I'm going to see if we can't just add that to everything at the server level.
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Drastic
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« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2017, 06:13:27 PM »

I'm with ergo...why do you have some http pages if you went https?
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Travoli
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« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2017, 07:35:03 PM »

The customers have HTTP. They aren't seeing the clicks from my secure site.
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ergophobe
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« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2017, 07:39:10 PM »

I'm with ergo...why do you have some http pages if you went https?

I think it's because they're looking at it from the other side. They control the referring server, not the destination server. So they can add UTM tags, but can't force the destination server to go https

[oops - cross-posted - same thing that Trav just said
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Drastic
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« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2017, 09:07:44 PM »

>The customers have HTTP.

Ahhh, I missed this point. I know a good web agency who can fix that pretty cheaply. (and with kickback...)
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Travoli
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« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2017, 12:56:06 AM »

These are large real estate companies with tens of millions in annual sales. My contacts are full time marketing managers with their own staff. Most of the industry has gone secure, but there are a couple firms running on island time.
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Drastic
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« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2017, 11:24:52 AM »

All good, was mostly in jest. Not surprising how slow they are on the SSL uptake.
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