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I have a website created in Webflow. My company (let's call it myco.example) sends out texts to customers with a link to our client's scheduling page on their website. We created a shorter vanity URL to keep the text message as short as possible, and we set up the vanity URL as a 301 redirect to our client's much longer link. Here's what I can't figure out: how do I track how many people have clicked the link from the text message? I tried creating a double redirect where the vanity URL redirects to a link with UTM parameters and then redirects again to the client's destination link, but nothing showed in Google Analytics.

myco.example/bh --> myco.example/bh?utm_source=myco.com%2Fbh&utm_medium=301&utm_campaign=bh --> client.example/reallylongschedulinglinkthatlookshorribleinsmssoweneedsomethingshorter

Given that the tools I have to use are Webflow and Google Analytics and the final destination link is a website to which I have no access, is there any way I can track how many people clicked the link from the text message?

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Could you use an intermediate service perhaps? For instance - and I grant the following proposal is the quick and dirty route - take your vanity URL, 301 redirect to bit.ly or some other trusted URI routing service with at least basic analytics, and then set the target for the bit.ly URL to client's UTM'd URL. From the bit.ly analytics dashboard you'd be able to see how many times the bit.ly URL loaded which should be equal to the number of times the vanity URL loaded unless the bit.ly URL gets picked up by a bot or noticed by an inquisitive user. But since these are text messages you're working with, at least you don't have to worry about bots finding it!

I think there's only ever a browser limit issue when you get to 5 or more hops: http://www.redirect-checker.org/redirects-dos-donts.php

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  • Since I can't get GA results from the client and Webflow does not provide access to server logs, this is the best solution, even though it's not ideal because bit.ly doesn't allow custom URLs without a monthly subscription. – Amanda Aug 22 at 1:41
  • Glad to help. That said, do you even need the bit.ly custom URL service? When a user clicks on the vanity URL, they won't ever see the bit.ly intermediate URL resolve (unless they're tracing the redirect with a tool). In effect, it will look like they jump from myco.example/bh to client.example/reallylongschedulinglinkthatlookshorribleinsmssoweneedsomethingshorter. – I Capulet Aug 22 at 4:12
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Google Analytics gets its stats from a JavaScript snippet. GA never collects stats from redirect URLs because there is no page on which to include the JavaScript snippet.

To get the stats you would need to either:

  1. Use utm parameters directly on your client's site:

    myco.example/bh --> client.example/reallylongschedulinglinkthatlookshorribleinsmssoweneedsomethingshorter?utm_source=myco.com%2Fbh&utm_medium=301&utm_campaign=bh

  2. Get your stats out of your server logs.

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  • Actually, OP has said that she has no access to her Client's website... – Kannan Aug 17 at 10:34
  • The client can grant access to Google Anaytics or can report back the numbers. Otherwise, I don't think there is a way to do it through GA. You are left with server side logging. – Stephen Ostermiller Aug 17 at 11:44

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