How to Use OptinMonster’s Referral Detection for Advanced Lead Targeting

Do you want to target visitors coming from a specific traffic source? OptinMonster’s referral detection rule makes it easy! This guide will show you how you can use OptinMonster’s referral detection technology for advanced lead targeting.

Requirements: This Display Rule requires a Pro Subscription.
  1. Review the Page Targeting Guide
  2. Display Rules
  3. Who Should See the Campaign?
  4. Configure Visitors From a Specific Traffic Source (Referrer Detection)

Step 1 – Review the Page Targeting Guide

If you haven’t already, you’ll find it helpful to first review our page targeting guide. Once you’re ready, let’s jump in and begin enabling referral detection for a campaign!

Step 2 – Display Rules

Select a campaign in your account to edit, which will open the campaign Builder. Select the Display Rules tab.

You can edit the display rules for your campaign by first selecting the Display Rules menu item in the campaign Builder.

You’ll then see the Display Rules panel which appears similar to the following.

Display Rules Screen

Step 3 – Who should see the campaign?

In the Display Rules panel, scroll down to the Who should see the campaign? section and you’ll see the Visitors from a specific traffic source (Referrer Detection) option. Select this panel to expand its view.

The Referral Detection option in the Display Rules panel.

Step 4 – Configure Visitors From a Specific Traffic Source (Referrer Detection)

Next, select the toggle to Activate the Referrer Detection rule for your campaign. You can then configure the specific rules you want to use to show your campaign based on the referral domain.

You can configure your campaign to load based on the referral domain using OptinMonster's Referrer Detection technology.

That’s it, you’ve successfully page targeted your campaign using OptinMonster’s Referral Detection technology!

Looking for more ways to create targeting campaigns? See our doc on how to target new or returning visitors.


Q: Why would I use OptinMonster’s Referral Detection?

A: This is especially helpful if you’ve recently been reviewed or mentioned recently by someone or some company. For instance, if Huffington post recently mentioned you (like, what has happened with our CEO, Syed Balkhi), then perhaps you want a very targeted campaign just for the people coming from Huffington Post.

OptinMonster provides you with the ability to detect these leads and hopefully increase your conversions. You should check out some of our guides for more tips on increasing lead generation.

Q: Can I use Referral Detection to hide/show campaigns to visitors arriving from my email newsletter?

A: No, unfortunately there is no Referrer set in the browser when a visitor reaches your site by clicking on an email link. However, you might want to check out our guide on how to hide OptinMonster from existing newsletter subscribers.

Q: Referrer Detection isn’t working for my campaign, why?

A: Referrer Detection checks if a specific value has been passed as the HTTP_REFERRER. If the HTTP_REFERRER passed is empty then Referrer Detection will fail for your campaign and your campaign might not load as you expect.

There are several reasons the HTTP_REFERRER could be empty, including if the website visitor:

  • entered the site URL in browser address bar itself
  • visited the site by a browser-maintained bookmark
  • visited the site as first page in the window/tab
  • switched from a https URL to a http URL
  • switched from a https URL to a different https URL
  • has security software installed (antivirus/firewall/etc) which strips the referrer from all requests
  • is behind a proxy which strips the referrer from all requests
  • visited the site programmatically without setting the referrer header

In all instances we strongly recommend that you thoroughly test your campaign’s functionality when configuring referrer detection in the Display Rules to ensure your settings are working as expected.

Switching from a https URL to a http URL? For advanced users, if you have access to the site your visitors are coming from, you can resolve this issue by adding the following meta tag to the head of the https site:

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

This is how Google, etc gets around sending referrer information from their https to regular sites.