Did you know address bar sharing—that is cutting and pasting an URL rather than sharing the page by clicking a share button—is by far one of the most common ways people share websites? In case you haven’t thought of that, we want you to know you could be missing out on a big part of understanding how visitors engage with your content.
FACT: Address bar sharing or cutting/pasting URLs is a sharing method that accounts for up to 90% of some sites’ social traffic.
Knowledge Is Power
In fact, if you just viewed analytics on how many clicks your sharing buttons received, you’re not seeing how many others opted to just cut/paste your URL to share. Understanding this side of how your visitors are sharing can help you get a clearer picture of how your content is engaging your audience.
Copying/cutting and pasting URLs is an effortless way of sharing that is missed by many publishers when looking at their performance numbers, and is often misconstrued in analytics dashboards as “direct traffic.” Your AddThis Analytics, however, breaks this down for you, and shows you how many of your visitors shared that way.
How it Works
You may have noticed a string of signs, letters, and numbers at the end of your pages’ URLs after you’ve installed an AddThis tool. This string of code, though not obvious, is very powerful. It’s our address bar tracking code, and looks like this:
If you’ve got address bar tracking enabled, which is the default with AddThis, our script generates a unique code each time a user loads a page on your site, and attaches it to the URL in the address bar. Then, when the user copies the address, the code comes along for the ride. So when one of your site visitors posts it—whether they paste it into a Facebook post, or add it to Reddit, or just put it in an instant message to their friend—our code goes with it. Then, we’ll be able to tell you in your Analytics Dashboard how many clicks this share brought back to your site.
This can account for a huge amount of social activity. Check out the data from our own blog:
See the giant number of traffic that was brought to our blog post by people who cut/pasted the URL somewhere?
The best part is that it’s an anchor; that means the code is included in the URL after a # (hash) symbol. Search engines ignore code that comes after a # symbol in an URL, which means this code won’t affect your SEO.
What It Means For Your Content Strategy
More engagement! With this information at hand, you’ll get a better idea of how your content strategy is working to increase engagement on your site. For example, if your latest blog post didn’t get a lot of shares to Facebook, yet you see it soared in cut/paste sharing, you’ll know you’re doing something right to increase engagement on your site. That’s what you’re looking for, right?
So while that code might not be attractive, it’s definitely worth letting it hang out on your site. Try it and check the analytics for yourself!