Google Analytics Trick: See The Full Referring URL

google analyticsIf you use Google Analytics to track your websites stats, you have probably realized that Google doesn’t let you see the full URL of the sites referring traffic to you. That’s a basic feature that somehow is not included in GA but fortunately for us, there is a simple trick you can implement to display the full URL of the referring site.

Before I explain you this trick, let me give full credit to Ruben Yau for actually coming up with it. I also want to thank Ruben for replying to my comment/question on his blog so quickly.

As stated above, Google Analytics doesn’t let you see from what specific page your visitors are coming.

For example, instead of showing this as the traffic referrer:
http://digg.com/apple/How_to_install_ipa_files_on_iPhone_and_iPod_Touch,

it will just show you this: Digg.com

That’s not very useful information…

The solution to view the full URL of the referring site is to implement a simple hack that uses filters to place the referrer into the User Defined Report.

Instructions:

Go to your Google Analytics account and click on Filter Manager > Add Filter, and enter the following information:

Filter Name: Full Referrer (or whatever you want to call it)
Filter Type: Custom Filter
Advanced
Field A -> Extract A: Referral (.*)
Field B -> Extract B: leave blank
Output To -> Constructor: User Defined $A1
Field A Required: Yes
Field B Required: No
Override Output Field: Yes
Case Sensitive: No

It should look like this:

filter

Now, if you look at your Traffic Sources, you usually see this:

Too see your User Defined Report containing the full information about the referring sites, click on “Visitors” in the nav bar and choose “User Defined”. You should get something like this:

That’s it! Pretty easy, yet very useful.

On his site, Ruben also explains another option involving tweaking the Google Analytics code, but that seemed a little too complex for me, especially given that this method works perfectly.

Now I’d like to see GA implement this without having us use workarounds. That’s a basic feature that should be included in GA by default. Oh well, with Google, it’s take it or leave it, isn’t it?