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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot vassilevsky's Avatar
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    Question How to track original source (source of the very first visit) of customers?

    Good evening everyone

    Any e-commerce store owner wants to know which sources of traffic bring the most revenue right? But it ain't easy...

    Example: visitor comes to my site from some source, checks out products, thinks "OK, it's good, worth returning", maybe bookmarks the page, and leaves. Some day he or she comes again (and again), picks up a product, goes to checkout, enters info, gets redirected to payment processor, pays, returns to my site's "Thank you! Now leave and don't bother me!" page. Profit!

    So, the problem is, I currently use Web-Stat and GA and none of them shows me the original source. They are stupid. They see that crappy "Referrer" header and act based on that. So they show me my most valuable traffic source is verifiedbyvisa.com and other service pages. Sure, that's where they came to the goal page from! But this is useless!

    Even if I make "the last before processor" page the goal, I still don't get the data, because the second time when the customer decided to buy he or she just types in my domain or hits a bookmark.

    I checked out Piwik, BBClone, and some other software, but they don't seem to show that either.

    SO, the question is:

    Which software tracks visitors right from the start and shows me where they came from in the first place, no matter how many times they lurked around my site afterwards?

    My site is all-PHP, so some folder to throw in there and include a file in footer would be just great.

    I ended up with this section because the question is about purchases on the internet and not only about tracking and PHP.

    I appreciate any comments.
    Last edited by vassilevsky; Jan 20, 2010 at 18:34. Reason: typos

  2. #2
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    You could do it yourself. The first time someone visits your site, create a long lasting cookie to save their referrer. Read that cookie on your "thank you" page to record the original source of that visitor. If the visitor hits your site from a bookmark and already has a cookie from a previous visit, just leave it and it'll still be there to read when they buy something.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Zealot vassilevsky's Avatar
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    Hello Dan I was sure you'll be the first to reply Of course, I understand how this can be tracked. I could also recognize visitors by IP in addition to cookies (those damn system optimizers and cleaners make cookies so insecure these days), but I'm just a bit lazy now, and besides, I just don't get it, is it so hard that the mighty Google didn't do it? Don't they understand what's really important?

  4. #4
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    I don't use Google Analytics to do conversion tracking, but maybe that's what the campaign tracking is for.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Zealot vassilevsky's Avatar
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    Sure, campain tracking helps, if you do actually add those parameters to the URLs. But it's impossible to analyze that billion of old links growing throughout the internets without those campaigns in them

    There must be a ready PHP solution, I feel it

  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot vassilevsky's Avatar
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    OK I programmed it myself. I check if every new visitor has my cookie, if not, I log his Referrer, my landing page, and set the cookie. I also write the cookie ID with every order. So now I know the original referrer of (almost) every order.


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