Original Referrer: What's it really for?

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Anonymous
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Original Referrer: What's it really for?

I have seen several other posts here with similar questions, but noticed none of them were answered. So maybe I'll try to rephrase the question here differently.

The problem: We see that the majority of our Original Referrer URL pointing back to our own site. Is this actually normal? (We have contacted Marketo about this but couldn't get a definitive answer.) BTW, I believe our site's pages do have munchkins and Marketo forms.

I'd like to think that the purpose of Original Referrer is to tell us where our leads are coming from (externally), to our dismay we are seeing it pointing back to our own site most of the time.

So, if anyone can help out, my questions are:

1) Is it normal that we see close to half of our leads being "referred" from our own site?

2) If it is normal, what is the best use case for this referrer data in the context of setting up for attribution reporting?

Thanks much for any help or suggestions!

12 REPLIES 12
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Re: Original Referrer: What's it really for?

The original referrer is typically the page that leads to a form fill out. Marketo can't track the internet and see what other pages the person has been on before arriving to your site, unless you have munchkin installed on it, Marketo doesn't know it exists.

The purpose is, if you have a web page with content that is killer and that is what is causing people to fill out a form to get more information, than you know you have good content.

ie. page 3 is 70% of your original referrer and page 1 is 2%. Maybe you want to unbury the content that is on page 3 and bury the page 1 content would be an example how to use the data.

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Level 10 - Community Moderator

Re: Original Referrer: What's it really for?

The original referrer is typically the page that leads to a form fill out.

Actually, the Original Referrer is the URL the lead came from when they were first created by Munchkin as an anonymous lead.

They need not fill out a form on the subsequent landing page. The "original" part reaches back further than the form fillout, sometimes much further.

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Level 1

Re: Original Referrer: What's it really for?

Hi @SanfordWhiteman !
In line with this thread, I've recently been aiming to rely on 'Original Referrer' for my Lead Source Tracking Program.  I have found some situations like you'd identified here where Original Referrer goes back further than the first form fill.  Also, a new revelation to me, if the 'Original Referrer' is blank when the lead is created in Marketo (e.g. SalesForce originated lead) it is possible to be filled in at a later date with that (Non) Original Referrer link.  

 

I'm trying to decided on the validity in using this field alone as a criteria for for populating Lead Source, and I've landed on the following: 

  • Original Referrer should not be used to backfill historical Lead Database to define FT Lead Source
  • Original Referrer can be used as criteria to sort by Lead Source in a trigger campaign, but it may not be related to their first Form Fill activity

Do I have the following correct?  If yes, is there some other way to refine Lead Source processing based on these constraints?  

Thank you kindly for any help!

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Level 1

Re: Original Referrer: What's it really for?

Sorry - please ignore this inquiry, I'm unsure of how to delete.  I don't precisely know what Marketo had envisioned the use case with this field, but it seems via other threads that UTM field capture is the only precise criteria for a Lead Source Program.  

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Level 10 - Community Moderator

Re: Original Referrer: What's it really for?

I think of OR as being supplementary info, it really is no substitute for multi-touch UTM recording (using a JS helper library to persist UTMs to cookies).
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Anonymous
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Re: Original Referrer: What's it really for?

This gives me a better understanding of what to expect from Original Referrer. Now, assuming the form and munchkins are all working properly, under what condition would I see a referrer being a URL from my own site? Does it mean that something along the path prevented the form or munchkins from acquiring the external referring site info, and it just returned the last piece of info it can capture which happens to be another page from my own site?

My goal now is to determine if we have a technical issue that is responsible for producing so many referrers that point to my own site.

Thanks for any suggestions or insight.

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Level 10 - Community Moderator

Re: Original Referrer: What's it really for?

...munchkins are all working properly

It's "Munchkin" singular, to nitpick/clarify.

[a referrer being a URL from my own site] mean[s] that something along the path prevented the form or munchkins from acquiring the external referring site info, and it just returned the last piece of info it can capture which happens to be another page from my own site?

That's a good way of phrasing it, yes. If the Munchkin-enabled pageview that initialized the lead did not have true referrer information available, then that pageview's URL will be used as the Original Referrer.

This can be quite misleading because that pageview may well have had an external referrer as the end-user experienced it, it just wasn't made available to the page (and therefore to Munchkin) for privacy reasons. So it will look like direct traffic even though it wasn't. However, there isn't a practical fix for this: if Munchkin treated those sessions as having no referrer at all, then they still would be indistinguishable from direct.

Anonymous
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Re: Original Referrer: What's it really for?

Thank you all for your contributions. So based on the discussion and all the suggestions we have so far, can I conclude that Original Referrer is supposed to return the external traffic source when it can?

And as far as I know, we have Munchkin and Marketo form embedded on our site where they should be, and the pages are "https" already. Yet, almost half of our Referrers are still pointing back to our own site.

We've contacted Marketo Support for help on this and they refer us to talk to the Community. So what else should one do at this point?

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Level 10 - Community Moderator

Re: Original Referrer: What's it really for?

And as far as I know, we have Munchkin and Marketo form embedded on our site where they should be, and the pages are "https" already. Yet, almost half of our Referrers are still pointing back to our own site.

We've contacted Marketo Support for help on this and they refer us to talk to the Community. So what else should one do at this point?

There's not much you can do. Unless you can prove that an offsite referrer (document.referrer) was available to Munchkin, but Munchkin somehow missed it, you don't have any evidence to go on.

Can you link me to a sample entry page on your site that you're positive (as positive as you can be) is getting offsite referrers? Maybe you're doing a redirect that's stripping the initial referrer? Also, is there any consistency in user agent (specifically, desktop vs. mobile) in the same-site referrers?