Analyzing your content based on traffic source

Modified on Tue, 22 Nov 2022 at 03:31 PM

What do "Sources" on the analytics dashboard indicate?


"Sources" indicate where your audience comes from, based on referrer, story URL parameters, and a user-agent string.


Traffic can be broken down into the following sources:

  • Email: Traffic comes from an email (typically, from newsletters that are sent to multiple users).  We are typically able to track visits from Eloqua, Hubspot, and Hootsuite emails based on their default & sometimes present URL parameters. For example, we are able to automatically categorize email traffic when Eloqua adds elaTrackId=### to a URL in an email. 

  • Social: Traffic comes from different social networks. We categorize visits from 25+ sites.

  • Search: Traffic comes from search engines. We cannot distinguish between paid and organic search traffic.  URL parameters like utm_medium=search  are picked up by default.

  • Internal: Traffic came from within your domain. This typically captures traffic coming from other stories, your main website, landing pages, recommended story modules, etc.

  • Other: Traffic doesn't match other sources but has some referrer data or URL parameters that can help categorize it.

  • Direct: Traffic comes directly to that specific story from a wide variety of sources. There is no usable referrer data, URL parameters or user-agent strings. This typically indicates traffic coming from links shared in direct messages (IMs), document links, email links with no URL params, bookmarks, etc.

  • Paid: Paid traffic source can be derived from 2 inputs (referrer, URL parameters) e.g. the referrer is outbrain or the URL params have something like utm_source=taboola or _c=Twitter

What do the "sub-sources" in analytics indicate?

Sub-sources are a more granular look at traffic that help you break down source data. By default, all traffic is categorized with a source and a sub-source. For example, sub-sources can help you distinguish between the traffic coming from different social networks.


How is my traffic being categorized into sources now?

In the beginning, all traffic is uncategorized and put into a "to-be-determined" bucket. Then we check each session against publication-specific rules, one at a time, in the order they were first added. These publication rules are custom traffic rules that clients have requested (see below for more information). Once a session is categorized, we remove it from the 'to-be-determined' bucket.

After all traffic has been checked against the publication's specific rules, we start checking the remaining 'to-be-determined' traffic against our set of universal rules. These rules come from generally accepted principles (e.g. utm_medium=email) and widely used referrers or URL parameters (e.g. utm_source=facebook). After running through all of these universal rules, any uncategorized traffic is categorized as "Other."


Can I change how my traffic is categorized? 

Yes! Simply message your Customer Success lead with the following information:

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