Re: Tracking Referral Source

Not applicable

Tracking Referral Source

I am trying to understand if Marketo is able to track site traffic sources. I see the fields (source detail, source info...etc) but cannot see any sources that haven't come from a marketo email form or other marketo instance.

Similar to google analytics, I would like to know where anonymous/known leads are coming from to get to our site. I know the form/page they filled out to become known but I don't see anything for referral source, source information....etc

Is this a Marketo limitation or do I need to set something up?

I can see the highest performing marketo forms (gated content), and in a perfect world it'd be great to see how they got to our site (organic search, referral, social...etc)

If anyone knows the answer to this question that would be AWESOME.

Level 10

Re: Tracking Referral Source

Hi Harrison,

If the leads are coming from referrers you control, you may want to add some URL parameters to the URL you post on these sources and capture these parameters in hidden fields.

There is a lot of post on this topic in the community. e.g.:

Capturing Lead Source Using UTM Fields​​

UTM best practices?


Not applicable

Re: Tracking Referral Source

Thanks Greg!

And if the leads are coming from referrers I don't know? Say a 3rd party blog (referral), or a search engine?

Level 10 - Champion Alumni

Re: Tracking Referral Source

Harrison Peralta

Marketo does have a field called Original Referrer which will capture the referrer string of the first visit, even if you don't control the referring URL. It's up to you to parse that out using smart campaign logic to determine whether that referral was due to organic search, referring site, etc. and then you can assign a Lead Source based on this. This takes some trial and error and maintenance.

If you want to capture every referrer (and not just the original) without relying solely on UTMs then this is a bit more difficult. I have heard of some experimental methods for this using a Visits Webpage trigger (when referrer does not contain your domain) and then using a {{trigger.Referrer}} token to capture the referrer. You could concatenate a list of all referrers into a long text field this way.

However, this is cumbersome at best. If you really want to track all visits in a more Google Analytics-like fashion, then I would recommend a tool like Bizible that is set up to do this out of the box. It is an excellent complement to Marketo for this purpose.

Level 10 - Community Moderator

Re: Tracking Referral Source

In addition to the great notes from Greg and Justin, bear in mind two very important technical facts:

  • You will never receive referrer information if your landing page is not running SSL (https://) but the referrer is running SSL.  This technical restriction has been enforced by browsers for ages, but it's only recently making that it's been widely noticed as more and more sites, including search engines and blogs alike, pursue the SSL Everywhere strategy to ensure user privacy.
  • Most modern search engines protect the privacy of users by concealing user-entered search terms. So, even when you can access the referring hostname, you should not expect to see rich information that was common in the 90s-early 2000s.

Between these two factors, your ability to use the true referrer (document.referrer) as a source, instead of source-tagged URLs, is very limited. If you see the information coming from Site 1, don't expect that same info will relayed from Site 2, even if the sites seem to serve the same industry/purpose.

Level 2

Re: Tracking Referral Source

Additionally, is there a way to specifically see WHO is coming from where? We have a report similar to GA that is 'leads by source' where we can see how many leads we're getting by google search, bing, etc. but the report doesn't include specific names. Is there a filter or way to be able to add/capture this information? Thanks!

Level 10 - Champion Alumni

Re: Tracking Referral Source

If you are using the analytics report leads by source in Marketo, then you have the data.  You would need to create a smart list Lead source = google and that will give you actual names.  Are these people captured in programs, with acquisition programs being set and success statuses set when they come in?  Setting those things up allow you to add cost, track membership, FT and MT attribution and answer are the people coming in from google the right people turning into pipeline and revenue.