Is it really impossible to track (in Google Analytics) Facebook as the referrer for traffic originating from a link to my site in a Facebook post?

by Daveh0   Last Updated September 12, 2018 01:03 AM

I feel like this should be quite simple. I have a website for a small business who's traffic I track/monitor with Google Analytics. I have a FaceBook page for the same business. I make frequent/routine posts on Facebook about various things related to the business. Most of these posts say something to the effect of "check out our website, ww.example.com, for more info".

I am just recently finding out that a HUGE chunk of the traffic coming to the site via such a link/post is tracked by Google Analytics as "Direct" traffic and will/does not show "facebook.com" as the referrer as expected. It is my understanding that this is also the case for other social media platforms.

I'm aware that by including "UTM parameters" in the link in my post, some very detailed info can be tracked by GA. This would be great IF Facebook allowed you to set both the link and the display text in your post. For example, part of my post might look like:

...so head to our website, www.example.com, to sign up and start saving today.

Ideally, the text www.example.com would actually click through to something like https://www.example.com/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=1pager-launch. Unfortunately, the only ways I know of to enable this sort of thing are:

  1. to include the ENTIRE link in the post - this would cause my post to look like:

    ...so head to our website, https://www.example.com/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=1pager-launch, to sign up and start saving today.

    • ridiculous and not a viable solution

OR

  1. start a PPC campaign - this is where I'm ultimately going, but I really need to get that data telling me just how much and of what quality traffic I'm getting from these posts before I can justify spending (or determine how much) money on Facebook advertising.

I know I'm not the only/first person to encounter these woes, but I've yet to come across any sort of acceptable solution. I'm posting here as a plea for help in hopes that someone can either shed some light on what I'm missing here or lend some insight of any sort that may help lead me to a solution.

Many thanks in advance!



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