If you use Facebook to direct traffic to your website and you’ve set up Google Analytics to see how well everything is performing, then you’ve probably seen where there are multiple facebook referrals listed such as: web.facbeook.com, l.facebook.com, and m.facebook.com. Honestly, the list is way longer, but you get it. What are these referrals and why are the separated in Google Analytics?
These referrals don’t actually mean anything to us “common users.” It’s just a way that Facebook organizes it on their end. To make analyzing your data easier, I want to teach you how to combine all this into one Facebook referral (cause who has the time?).
What do these referrals mean?
So before we go into your Analytics and switch things around, here’s the low-down on what each referral actually means:
facebook.com: someone came to your website directly from Facebook.
l.facebook.com: whenever someone clicks an external link within Facebook, they pass through a Link Shim before they arrive at the next page. This is Facebook’s way of protecting the privacy of the user and protecting the user from any spammy websites.
m.facebook.com: the user came to your website from a mobile device.
lm.facebook.com: is the same as the above, l.facebook.com, but just from a mobile device.
Alright, now let’s get combining!
Combining All Facebook Referrals
Sign into your Google Analytics. From the Overview page click the arrow on the bottom left hand side of the screen to pull out the sidebar.
Click to enlarge any photo.
Click FILTERS in the VIEW column (it should be the one all the way to your right).
Then click on the red button that says +ADD FILTERS. Follow these steps:
Follow these steps:
- Apply new filter
- Under Filter Name type what you would like. I’m choosing to call mine Combine Facebook Referrals, but you can choose what you’d like.
- Underneath where it says SELECT FILTER TYPE, choose CUSTOM.
- Choose SEARCH AND REPLACE.
- Under FILTER FIELD choose CAMPAIGN SOURCE.
- Under SEARCH STRING enter this: ^[m|lm|mobile|I|web|touch]\.facebook
- In REPLACE STRING enter: facebook
Yours should look similar to mine below.
Clicking on verify filter will give you an insight on how exactly the filter will work. Don’t forget to SAVE once you’re done!
Make sure to give it about a week to obtain and analyze your data. Combining your sources/referrals will decrease the time it takes to sort through your data and will be WAY less confusing!
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org