Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Twitter Starts to Claim Credit for Sending Other People Traffic

In the last week, Twitter has dramatically ramped up its efforts to receive credit for helping send traffic to other people’s Web pages.

As part of the rollout of its t.co shortener for all links included in tweets that are at least 20 characters long, Twitter is now redirecting 40 percent of links tweeted by its users so that t.co will show up as the referring address in Web analytics tools.

That’s according to Awe.sm, which helps publishers analyze the effectiveness of social media.

Awe.sm found through a global analysis of its customers’ data that, as of today, 38 percent of links shared through Twitter are using the new t.co redirect, up from 10 percent on August 13, and less than one percent as recently as July.

This was expected; Twitter had said that it would turn up link-wrapping in mid-August, and that it eventually plans to use t.co for all links. Some publishers say they are already noticing a significant uptake in their Twitter referrals.

As I wrote in July, Awe.sm and its investor Mark Suster have pointed out that Twitter was particularly affected by the problem of “last mile social media attribution.” That is, links shared on Twitter are often passed along through various desktop and mobile clients or widgets on other Web sites, which results in distorted traffic stats.

Because Twitter didn’t previously get involved in shortening and/or redirecting many links, it may have been driving four times as much traffic as Web sites could track, according to Awe.sm.

Twitter was well aware of this problem, because it masked one of the company’s biggest strengths: That people use Twitter to find interesting stuff to look at and read. If publishers know better that Twitter is responsible for their visitors, they’ll be more grateful.

Twitter also says it plans to use data from t.co to help “surface quality, interesting tweets.” And last but not least, t.co serves as an intermediary that allows Twitter to intercede and block access to spammy or otherwise bad links.


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