You're aware of "Direct / None" referral in your favorite analytics tool. The number of that direct traffic seems to be growing and you seem to be losing the insights into who refers traffic to your startup.
This "dark traffic" includes clicks from emails, mobile messengers, bookmarks and some websites too. For instance Facebook never sends the post or comment ID where someone clicked on your link, they only tell you the person comes from Facebook.
On our website, 50% of traffic comes from direct and depending on where you do your marketing it could be even higher.
Did you know that you can reduce all that direct traffic? You can use UTM tags. We've now introduced full UTM tags support for Plausible Analytics so you can get easy, simple to understand and fast loading campaign dashboard.
UTM parameters are bits of text that you add to the links that you share. They help you understand the big picture and referral sources that bring traffic to your site. But they also help you understand the small details such as what specific social media content works best in terms of driving conversions.
Here’s what a link looks like when it’s tagged with UTM parameters:
UTM parameters are all the tags that come after the question mark (?) in the URL above. Individual parameters are separated by the ampersand (&) symbol.
Here are some use cases where UTMs can make a difference:
Any clicks on links in emails be it personal emails you send or newsletters are classified as “direct / none”. UTM tags are a perfect tool to get some insights into your email marketing campaigns.
Any links that you include in any of your emails should be tagged. At the top level, you can use utm_source=email to see how many visitors you’re getting from emails.
But you can go even further. For instance, you could track clicks on the link you have placed in your email signature:
Or you could track individual newsletter that you send out to your subscribers:
Social media typically sends dark traffic referrals. So by tagging the content you share in social media, you can bring light to some of your activities.
One way to do that would be to tag all your organic (non-paid) social media links with a utm_medium=social tag and all your paid social media posts with a utm_medium=social-paid tag.
This will show a clear split in your website referral traffic between visitors and activity coming from “social” and “social-paid”. It makes it easier to analyze and understand the results you’re getting from your campaigns.
You can go even deeper than the paid vs organic social media split. You could analyze each individual post that you share using the utm_campaign tags. Here’s an example:
The above examples would allow you to not only split the traffic and see the difference between paid and organic posts but also the results of the individual posts.
UTM tags are useful in the world of affiliate marketing, influencer marketing and other sponsorships such as when sponsoring a specific newsletter.
You could tag all of the links they post with their unique UTM tags so you can not only figure out what results they drive and what ROI (return on investment) they get you, but also compare them to each other to understand which deliver the best value for you and which may make sense to sponsor again.
You can read more about UTG tags in my post: How to use UTM parameters to track your campaigns and understand the dark traffic