TECH Mode:
Facebook Analytics Done Right

2011-04-28 16:23 | Comments: 0

After installing a Facebook social plugin on a Web site, you will see a huge increase in traffic, but not all is accounted for by actual readers. This TECH post explains how to count clicks from Facebook correctly.

Links á la Mode TECH inside

Links á la Mode TECH

Hi, Facebook is probably the best invention for bloggers ever ;)

While blogs have always been a social experience by allowing readers to engage with bloggers through comments and by subscribing to their news feeds, Facebook & Co. have certainly raised that interaction to the next level.

After installing the Facebook Like button on my blog, I have seen an increase of my traffic, but not all was from actual readers.

Here is how to count Facebook clicks correctly, if you are analyzing your logs with Google Analytics or a similar tool:

1. Exclude the "facebookexternalhit" crawler

Facebook is crawling its linked sites from time to time to get the page title, description, the images, a thumbnail, etc. even if your site does not have a Facebook widget installed. This happens when somebody posts a link of your page on Facebook. Exclude all page views with a user agent string containing "facebookexternalhit" to be on the safe side.

2. Exclude page views containing "fb_xd_bust" or "fb_xd_fragment"

I was a bit surprised when suddenly seeing duplicate page views containing a strange Facebook parameter after my page URLs. This is a known issue (weird bug workaround: use a channelUrl) when using the XFBML (the Facebook JavaScript SDK). Exclude all page views having the GET query parameter "fb_xd_bust" or "fb_xd_fragment" appended.

3. Exclude track clicks with "like.php" referrer

Do not count hits with the referrer "www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php" as page views, since these are generated for tracking purposes only when somebody clicks on a Like button for instance.

Real Facebook Clicks

Real traffic from Facebook has the following referrer URL by the way:

https://www.facebook.com/l.php?u={url}

To get the numbers into perspective, in March 2011 I had 3.621 Facebook hits in my logs, but only 316 were real clicks by users.

Are you also using some kind of Web analytics? What are your findings regarding Facebook, Twitter & Co.?

Clicks from Google vs. Facebook:

Pageviews Google vs Facebook

My last TECH post got mentioned on IFB btw :) Here is the current round-up of suggested posts by my fellow TECH bloggers:

Time To Think Mobile

Edited by Vyque of Fasshonaburu

Anyone else feel like their lives have begun to revolve more and more about mobile technology? While I still can’t travel without my netbook, I can’t go even an hour without at least one of my smartphones within arm’s reach! So it didn’t surprise me when I read Miss Viki’s post on the prediction that “by 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide.”

As a full-time new media professional, I had heard this before, but I hadn’t really considered how this would affect my blogging. Until I started using the iPad, I never once checked how my site rendered outside a computer or considered blogging from my phone! But as more and more users start accessing content while on the go, it’s important to remember to think mobile!!

Links á la Mode: TECH – April 26th

More Links á la Mode TECH
The TECH behind Miss Viki | Going Mobile | Social Media Spam

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