Referrer ID behaviour for Reddit - how to list specific posts?

Hi there,

I would like to know how to get Matomo to be more specific about the referral URL that users are viewing before they are linked through to my website.

On Thursday last week, there was a post on Reddit Australia with a link to a page on my website which was the #1 post for that particular subreddit. Accordingly, the pageviews for that particular comic rose to a higher-than average number (937 page views). However, right now Reddit does not seem to be showing as a ‘referral website’. Of those 937 visitors, less than 50 have a referral webpage listed. The rest are listed as ‘direct entry’, which is inaccurate, as those visitors would surely have come from the Reddit post, as judged by the upvotes.

Can someone please explain a little more about how Matomo is handling Referral URL as part of its system, as it seems to have changed from what I was familiar with. In 2018, when I was using Piwik, the particular Reddit posts that referred users to my website were displaying as the Referral URL.

Is it true that Reddit is now counted as a ‘Social Network’? Is there any way to drill down deeper and see the particular pages of Reddit that are driving users to the site? If not, that is a large feature loss for Matomo, versus Piwik.

Thanks in advance for your explanation.


This is a more complex topic that is not that related to Matomo specifically.

I went to the Reddit page, clicked on the link to your website. Then I checked document.referrer in Javascript which is what Matomo uses. It’s You can also check the HTTP header sent to your website and it is also Referer:

Now one might wonder why the browser sets the Referer to just the host, not the full URL as one would expect. The answer is in a tiny HTML meta tag at the beginning of the reddit page:

<meta name="referrer" content="origin">

This instructs the browser to never tell the full url to the next website, so no matter what it does (independent of if you are using Matomo or something else) it can’t know where exactly the user was before.

When using the new reddit page, then the tag is <meta name="referrer" content="origin-when-cross-origin"/> which means nearly the same (but in that case links to reddit itself would get the full url).

Thanks for the explanation. Is this something I should raise with the Reddit developers? I’d like the issue fixed, and wonder who the appropriate person to give feedback to is?

I think the reddit developers are doing this intentionally. While I can’t think of a reason why one would do it on Reddit, many sites use referrer policies to avoid any secret text they might have in the URL to show up on other peoples servers.