Getting Referring URLs with Analytics

12 Mar, 2009  |  Written by  |  under Analytics

One of the great mysteries of Google Analytics is just why they won’t let us see referring URLs of our users. Probably some privacy concern of Google’s, but it’s easy as pie to get from web server logs, so I don’t understand the issue.

I’m so dependent on Analytics for day-to-day work that I really would prefer to have all the info in one place (Analytics) instead of having to integrate log-based reporting (and deal with clients asking why the two give different numbers!).  Here’s how to do it:

Reuben Yau has a great hack for grabbing users’ referring URLs over here:

The idea is that you create a custom filter like this:


Then you’ve got a nice complete referring URL in your user-defined field.  You can see that over in Analytics here:


Works like a champ. This even works with the new-ish “Custom Reporting” feature, as the referring URL will show up in the Dimensions: Visitors: User Defined Value field, like so:


I hope this saves you some time and lets you find new info about your visitors with Analytics!


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