If you've noticed an increase in the amount of ‘Direct’ referrers appearing on your site, or if there's traffic you know is coming from one source (e.g., adverts on a partner’s site) but is not showing as it should appear, you may be wondering why.

This isn't a CANDDi issue. It relates to the security protocol of you and your referrer’s website; more specifically, whether they and you are using ‘http’ or ‘https’. For this FAQ we're focusing on how referrer data is getting lost between the two.

What happens when visitors are referred to your site?

This is specifically related more to ads/banners on alternate websites. When an advertisement link is clicked, there are three subsequent actions:
Referrers Google Analytics tracks the ‘Outbound’ traffic.
Visitors hit your website.
Your CANDDi and Google Analytics track this visit as a referral to your site.

However, there are four scenarios where referral data is passed, or not, between http and https:
HTTP to HTTP = Referral data sent
HTTP to HTTPS = Referral data sent
HTTPS to HTTPS = Referrer data sent
HTTPS to HTTP = Referral data NOT sent

So if your advertisement is on a HTTPS site, and redirects through to yours on a HTTP the referral data will be lost. Although we always advocate moving to HTTPS, it's not the quickest workaround. So the question is how do you get around it? The best way to work around it is get your advertisers/clients to use Google UTM Parameters on the referral links.

Instead of the straight forward http://example.com, we can add UTM Parameters such as:

http://example.com?utm_campaign=advertisersad&utm_medium=adlink

This way, we can create streams based on the UTM Parameters to begin identifying from when and where visitors are arriving.

Have more questions? Contact us at hello@canddi.com or 0161 414 1080
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