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How to find the source of private Facebook group traffic

There are many ways to skin a cat, but what do you do if you cannot find the cat?

A few years ago I published one of my most successful posts ever, top 10 anyway. It appealed to the b2b masses and made a few people angry, which is always fun.

Anyway, one random day I started to see a huge influx of traffic on this post whilst analyzing our sites analytics. Maybe a few hundred visits anyway. I was able to see that Facebook was the referrer but when it came time to see where it was coming from I get hit with one of these:

facebook private

No soup for you.

I couldn’t fathom a way to figure out where this was coming from, especially since Facebook is SSL, so I slapped a notice on the top of the blog post:

Dear Facebook users on May 16th: Can you share with me your group / page where this link was shared? I’m seeing a few hundred visits from a private group. Thank you1 patrickfl@gmail.com

and what do you know, it worked! Within a few hours I get an email with this:

thanks for

While it wasn’t the answer I was looking for, it definitely reassured me that this “method” works.

A little time went by, and another generous blogger responds with:

great post

But why go through all this trouble to find the source of a private Facebook group? Isn’t there a better way then putting a message or popup at the top of your site? Perhaps there is, but this seemed like the best way. Was it worth it? In this case, not really but it could have been a large group that I could have gotten:

  • new blog readers
  • new customers
  • leads
  • related industry peers
  • vendors

Lesson learned: sometimes analytics / apps / tracking isn’t the answer.

Patrick Coombe

Patrick Coombe

Patrick Coombe is an internet entrepreneur, SEO consultant and web developer living in Delray Beach, FL. He is the founder of Elite Strategies.
Patrick Coombe
Patrick Coombe
Patrick Coombe

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