The Acquisition Report in Google Analytics can be full of hidden gems in terms of understanding where web traffic incoming from and the type of traffic that is converting.

It can really help in focusing future marketing efforts and help in achieving your business goals and help answer those questions like, is Facebook really paying it way.

Here is a good technique for honing in on just Facebook traffic.  Find the Advanced search box with the “All referrals Report”.

Simply type Facebook into the filter search box as shown below and hit return.  GA will then look through all the results and only show those sources with Facebook within it.  You can obviously use any source.

Facebook filter

Once you have done that you will see the following results.

What is l.facebook?


Here you are presented with several options.

l.facebook = Links Shim

m.facebook = mobile

Facebook = Normal website

lm=facebook = links through mobile


The is traffic from Facebook that is being redirected through something called a ‘link shim’.  This tool was created in 2008 by Facebook to try and protect Facebook users from malicious URLs.  This provides users with certain amount of anonymity.

Direct Traffic

As good as Google Analytics is…it’s not perfect…Direct traffic is the bane of Google Analytics.  If GA can’t attribute traffic to a particular source it throughs it into the Direct Traffic pot.  This includes Facebook.

So what is this new source of referral traffic?