Google Analytics is a great tool for tracking your website’s traffic and performance, and the best place to start your evaluation is the Source/Medium information under the Acquisition tab. This report tells you the exact place that your website traffic originated from.

While many sources are obvious, such as “(direct) / (none)” or “google / organic ” or “realself.com / referral,” there are others that aren’t as clear. Some of these might be spam. You might see these “social-buttons.com / referral” or “5-steps-to-start-business.com / referral” or some other spammy referrer of traffic. These should be ignored, at a minimum. You can also filter them out of your reports. Check out this article to learn how to configure your filter.

What about the non-spammy traffic that isn’t obvious? We’ll review a few common sources that are confusing:

l.facebook.com: we know this is traffic from Facebook, but we can see facebook.com and m.facebook.com are unique sources, and we know the latter is mobile traffic from Facebook, this one isn’t as obvious. You may also see this as “lm.facebook.com.” These new Facebook sources began appearing back in 2014 when Facebook introduced link shims, which is a pop up warning the Facebook user that they’re exiting the social networking site and entering a site that could be spammy or malicious.

You can view all Facebook traffic by simply typing in “Facebook” in the text field next to the ‘advanced’ link. This will conveniently breakdown all of your Facebook traffic so you can better analyze the effectiveness of this social network as a whole in driving traffic.

Should you be concerned if you have l.facebook.com or lm.facebook.com traffic coming to your website? As long as you know your site is secure, free of malware, and not flagged by Google for spam then you’re fine. To ensure you’re good, you’ll want to have your website secured via SSL (http vs http), utilizing a quality web host that checks for malware, and stay on top of Google Webmaster Tools reports.

us2.campaign-archive2.com: this traffic, with “campaign” in the url, is coming from an email marketing provider – in this specific case, Mail Chimp. It’s not as clear as “mail.google.com / referral” traffic, but anything with “mail” in it, or any “campaign” in the url, is almost always from email marketing.

Some of the email marketing reporting is sloppy, like Facebook, showing multiple sources for a single email that was sent out. One way to counteract this by ensuring your email marketing provider integrates with Google Analytics. If it does, then you should be able to name your campaigns in a way that’ll display them, by name, under Source/Medium traffic.

Notice tracking on right is much more clear, as it even notes that the medium is “email”

com.google.android.googlequicksearchbox: most aesthetic practices will see this pop up in their reports. This is not spam traffic, but legitimate traffic coming from Android phones. Specifically, this is Android users using the Google Search app. Since this is technically organic traffic it makes sense to filter this traffic so that it displays correctly…

When in doubt, just “Google” the source or medium in question and you’ll find your answer. If you’d like to learn more about Google Analytics then check out our collection of articles. You can also get certified in Google Analytics here.

If you’d like to submit a question directly, or learn more about how you can improve your aesthetic practice’s digital marketing, drop us a line here, or call us directly at 877-673-7096 x2.