I Just Happened To Use Goo: Direct Traffic

The serious reason that particular link was not tagged is that I am experimenting with some advanced pre alpha features on three url shortners.

Basically the data ends up in Direct, if of untagged emails and mobile ads and mobile application links and Adobe AIR applications and in rare cases where people are clicking on links in PDF documents and similarand suchlike.

You could include campaign parameter to correct this, So if this happen from a partner site. You could ask them to open towindow to a redirecting page from their domain. At least, totraffic would show as referring traffic from that domain, you may not have toactual referring URL. We need to be able to analyze it and optimize for it, just like any other marketing campaign, we all take it for granted.

You use temporary, 302, redirects and toreferrer never gets passed on.

Relying on how toredirect server is configured either toclick looks like it came from toredirect server or with a blank referrer. If they are like every other company that obsesses with PPC and Yahoo Banners and Facebook Display ads and Email campaigns and suchlikeand stuff etc then they'll never know that some of their best customers they should make happy are right under their nose.

Thinks of New and Returning as segments you are applying on your Visits data. How many Visits were by Visitors who has been on my site? How many Visits were by people who had never visited before, this is the case right? Direct Traffic is how you make it actionable as so much of direct traffic is in tovisitor hands and cannot be controlled unlike search and stuffand suchlike This I think creates an aura for marketers where they feel this channel ain't one that they can impact unlike search traffic for example.

Go purchase WASP from iPerceptions or an account with ObservePoint and address tocheapest problem to fix in Web Analytics.

It's pretty good, Therefore if you are a little bit tech savvy then go get REL Software's Web Link Validator. Use it, if it helps you think of them as Returning Visits and New Visits that is ok. It is note that you are segmenting and classifying topeople and hence perhaps toWA tools went with toterm Visitor.

For toNew York Times website I'll always be Direct traffic. Ads, Know what guys, I subscribe toTimes Reader, I am a big evangelist of their brand. Another great post -it's always a challenge to communicate what's in direct traffic to clients. ALL outbound URLs with toURL Builder. For instance, when you're working with a few of these larger companies that crank out hundreds of new URLs every day it takes a significant quantity of work and planning.

Just FYI, our Debugger requires neither login nor money to access!

Anyone can get it from our KB, and thereafter it can be used at any time, shared internally, and stuffetcetera What about topeople who type your URL into google, uRL here simplyto it's long and full of JavaScript. Do you know an answer to a following question. Is there a way to correct for this in GA, right?

What's needs to be done with a download able application which after installation redirects touser to a thank you page. Like so quickwin, now all toconversions attributed to Direct traffic…instead of tagging toredirected url. Say if you use GA, just add tocampaign tracking parameters tolink. Now when people come to your web site via toredirected url they get tagged with that campaign. You can segment these people into an unique bucket and measure their behavior on your website including their conversions.

Oh one more thing.

Google Analytics and Adobe's Site Catalyst you better remember to have campaign parameters for both GA and SCto they use different parameters for campaigns. You see, whichever one you forget to tag for will show your campaign traffic as Direct! That's to right? You obsess about Direct traffic just as much as I do, right? What insights have you found from you analysis, am I correct? Now let me tell you something. What methods have you deployed to ensure that your Direct traffic segment is as clean as possible? You also look at any Direct traffic to really long complicated url's on the website and instantly doubt that could be direct, right?

Click on toAttribution Modeling Tool and you are welcome to apply any model you want, including first click. Chrome to do a Google search and toresult is your domain name, and you then click on it to go directly to your web site, this will show as a direct visit. Just an example of Chrome helping you do direct 'typeins', not unexpected ofcourse.

If I had to hazard a guess.

New campaigns landing on pages without tags. Your search campaign tags are broken -though this should not impact tonew visits going up and returning going downto no JS tags / no campaign tags don't impact existing cookies. Can you think of any changes tosite tracking which might have taken place lately? So, have you, for example, made changes to 'cross domain' tracking or done anything else which may have changed todomain setting in GA.

When you choose your email provider choose one that has this integration and you'll have toend to end view. Remember to ensure all tolinks in toemail are tagged with tracking parameters for toWA tool you use. After reading this article I immediately started a love affair with our direct traffic by tagging all our links posted to social networks. However, our percentage traffic coming from direct sources is unchanged, percentage of referral traffic is down 10percentage and campaign traffic is up 7percentage, after 3 weeks. The obvious conclusion is that social traffic was not being reported as direct but rather as referral traffic, as it might be.

Starting in Mid July our site has had a huge spike in Direct Traffic -all from Gainesville FLorida, all of it goes to home page, all of it bounces.

It is throwing all of our metrics for direct traffic out towindow. Surely, they mean Returning Visits and New Visits, right? Both of these are added up to calculate Visits total number. Meaning an user can return several times throughout a day and increase Visits number, and therefore also the number of Returning Visits. Just think for a moment. Returning Visitors has not increased, only Visits number.

Emails are read in three places typically. Desktop browsers, where you may be able to capture toreferrer just fine. Usually, mobile browsers, where it will be fine as well. For instance, mobile apps, where you will not get a referrer. This is tocase. Whenever ensuring all your landing pages are tagged, using vanity urls for your offline campaigns, and many other issues outlined in this post, you still have to worry about solving for mobile apps.

The other thing I like about having a brand aware traffic is it helps puts some context around my SEO traffic.

Traffic remained flat or even fell, To be honest I could have a month where my targeted phrases' rankings improve nicely. I'll go back and look at brand aware traffic and see that it fell significantly more over tosame period. Therefore if traffic from people aware of our brand fell, it might give some insight into demand over that period and could explain why SEO traffic didn't increase despite better rankings, It's not a comprehensive explanation. QR code. Each person gets an unique QR Code. This is tocase. The unique codes are, for tofirst client xyz.

Another source of direct visits is from running AB experiments on a landing page. The redirect from A to B happens before toweb analytics tracking code executes and page B will show a direct visit, Therefore in case tovisitor is placed in B page group. I'd say if not, our manufacturers will see our traffic sometimes in toreferral traffic and other times in tocampaign traffic, With several authors writing for our blog, it means that everyone should take care that tooutbound links are correctly tagged.

SEO and backlink strength flow, right?

GA that is very good when you plan to remove toparameters in GA tracking codes and replace them with search engine friendliness. It would be great to hear from tomaster on this. Eventually, in tolatter case, you're introducing another data source that invariably will cause confusion when comparing it to your web analytics tool. The email vendors do a great job of reporting on emailspecific measures but not so much on tosite side measures. Nonetheless, both are important but don't assume one is tosame as toother!

Remember in Google Analytics data in Advanced Segments also applies to historical data without you having to update tojavascript tag or paying for reprocessing data. Segment away! I'd say in case you believe it is email, see if tospike in direct is correlated with a spike from email. Seriously. You could point a finger of blame to email blasts, if you see a perfect correlation.

Literally today after we migrated our site traffic dropped considerably and tobiggest impact appears to have been direct traffic, where we lost 46percent direct.

What happens is you can see how much increase there isthere's in direct traffic and you can attribute it to your test group. You'll get a good sense for how many people in todirect bucket are these types of people types, if you do this a few times.

Whenever replacing any number of sources in toprocess, The MCA conversion paths in GA often show 'direct' as tolast touch conversion. So in case it can't be seen in toutmz when viewing tocookie, my question is, how is this data being computed. Another simple way would be to go to Direct report in Traffic Sources, and hereafter from toAdvanced Segment just apply Mobile and look at totrend. From there it is easy to dig deeper into iOS6, mobile is everyone.

I have always maintained that I would much rather that you and I and everyone else worry a lot more about tocore problem behind your employees skewing your numbers.

You don't have enough real Visitors! Generally, two years ago toGoogle Analytics team released 'multi channel' funnels. Make sure you leave suggestions about it in tocomment box. One benefit for this excellent feature is that you don't have to do crazy kind magic you are attempting in your comment. Therefore, just have tostandard code on tosite, remove all tocrazy magic, log into GA, look at exactly how your consumers are behaving.

By the way I find segmenting data very helpful, if you want to diy. You've already identified Gainesville. Is totraffic evenly distributed across all pages or just some, right? That might have clues. Did you hear about something like this before, is that the case? Are tovisits evenly spread out during today? This is a sign of bot traffic. Was there some local promotion you were running -especially targeted at mobile apps, is that the case? That might be something. Other such things. Now look. Pritesh Patel mentioned a very common problem. Of course, that doesn't solve toproblem, you can change todefault start page in tobrowser to Google. Eventually, typically, toemployees will still type in toURL and bam! Direct visit.

Further more you can create a simple mobile segment in five seconds on your web analytics tool, apply that to your campaign reports and understand exactly how many people came via that Facebook landing tab using a mobile phone, mobile tablet or desktop computer.

For those wondering why their direct traffic has spiked since September 2012 -it'sto of iOS More info here. Now' direct / none is completely polluted with iPhone traffic and is effectively useless. That's right! Between this and, this has not been a good year for analytics.

Oh and what do you think is happening to all trackability your shortened urls in Social Media that you are not tagging with campaign parameters? Facebook and Twitter content via applications and unless you use campaign parameters all that traffic is sitting in Direct. Sad. You want to know if tomajority of to spikes are correlated to you offline campaigns or catalogs you have sent out.

To be honest I like talking to our brand marketers and brand PR about 'Brand visits', as a to tangent on totopic.

That is visits who have either typed in tourl or have searched in a search engine for your company name. This is, surely, complicated if your company name is a common phrase as well. You can see it does everything you want it to do, and it is easily trackable in toCampaign reports in Google Analytics. Certainly, this should also help your use case, as you'll note I'm also able to customize what comes right after to/.

Rather than waiting to see a link on a social site and be prompted to visit tosite, ideally you want toloyal or valuable customers that you have to have brand kind connection that they'll come directly to you. Some percentage of those customers type are optimal. Is that number 15 or 30 or whatever depends on a number of factors. Keep reading. Each business will decide something different as to if tourl typers are lazy or direct or search referrals. Whatever you decide you have Advanced Segmentation to help you look at todata toway it makes sense for you.

Both you and Michael point out how browsers are advancing and becoming smarter.

Direct or in other buckets, as analytics professionals we have to constantly keep an eye out on these things to understand what toimpact might be on our data. Another client made another simple mistake so all of their ecommerce traffic was reported as coming from direct. Much money spent on a new site, SEO and PPC and they couldn't measure what channels were most effective.

Firefox that contain certain branded terms have been triggering a 'feeling lucky' search, and tobranded scope terms affected was gradually widening for tolast two weeks. Direct.

In tosmall chance your Google Analytics account does not have toattribution modeling tool activated, please use this form to get access http.

'firstclick', last click, even, completely custom models. GA to see if I can see G+ lumped in organic. For example, my strategy was to look at Channels report in All Traffic, go down Organic Search and add Source/Medium as secondary dimension, I see what I would expect. Keywords report and added Source/Medium, I can't see G+ referrals.

Analytics data with Google apps as one can click in some thing to do. I found a big difference in data, when I was looking at GA data and comparing it against what is reported on tooriginal advertising platforms. Example. Know what guys, I got only 200 visits out of those 5000 clicks as per GA, one of my adwords display campaigns received 5000 clicks as reported in adwords. It is really really frustrating!

Avinash, thank you for your reply.

My understanding is that a for ages toreferrer info. You have any insight into this, right? Basically, tonice thing with Advanced Segmentation in Google Analytics, Yahoo Web Analytics is that one can accomplish this in just a few seconds on tofly without changes to tags or torture.

This was a very thorough walk through on direct traffic. Recently my direct traffic has grown quite a bit, sometimes up to 30percentage of overall traffic. IE9 jump lists, which seem really neat. Firefox could do well to add this feature.

US leads never click on hyperlinks for security reasons.

Is it really possible to get truly meaningful data from Direct Traffic reports anymore, even using toexcellent tips in this article, with actual sources of Direct Traffic now reportedly including everything from shortlinks to mobile or Adobe Air apps to sites whose security settings prevent 'pass throughs' of referring URLs to incognito browsing in addition to untagged links.

Google Analytics to start my analysis. To your second question… if your tool shows 100 visits then that means 100 visits. The same person won't show up double counted in two buckets for tosame visit. At least not if your web analytics tool vendor did their homework right.

We use a.

CMS to redirect from campaign URLs to landing pages tagged in our case for Yahoo Analytics. I'm pretty sure I get hits to xyz, when I check for traffic in GA after using these links to test them. Notice that for a while tolines Google is tracking this. How can I drill down to find a list of all tolinks such as xyz. A well-known fact that is. It seems like GA takes xyz all.

Google is capturing this at some pointto I have found xyz. Overview when I'm viewing that real time page and I go toparticular link, GA under Real Time ->. I want to find out which of these unique links are visited without have sit and watch to'Real Time' feed 24/7 All help is appreciated, perhaps there ismost of us are aware that there is something I'm missing. The reason I'm not using builtin tagging feature with GA isto that for a whileer and I desire a shorter URL without any URL shortener being used. Fact, regarding the prioritizing your efforts, do you generally focus on todirect branded traffic first, right? I know that the people who are discovering the website for a whiletail' phrase that matches a product offering you sell.


Thanks for a wonderful series of blog posts. We're using Google Analytics and are a bit confused about Google's definitions. You see, Visits are times number your website had been visited by a particular browser, as I understand it. My problem is that Google further breaks this down as Returning Visitors and New Visitors yes, that's right.

Thank you Avinash! Besides tofact that they are limited in time, different number inbound links for a certain source/medium combination is also all totime limited. Having utmmedium=site feels a bit awkward to me. Then, social reports going to be able to recognize just fine tocampaign parameters you are using. Now please pay attention. You can more easily separate social traffic you are generating VS social traffic others are sending your way since It is advisable to use url parameters in your social links.

URL's to compare regular direct traffic to site pinners.

Is it reasonable to see if site pinners have a higher return rate, order rate, email sign up, aov, etceteraand similar? Does this simply muddy towater, this is the case right? Will it also lead to show more overall traffic than received actually as referral some parts and search traffic is appearing in direct traffic which are also present in Referral and search traffic source segments, am I correct?

You can do a controlled experiment. Send toemail to one people pool and don't send it to another pool, rather than sending an email to everyone. Also, send it to everyone in Eu but not NA. That's where it starts getting toto, right? Everyone who is Male and not Female. Certainly, everyone in one mailing list and not toother. It is important to know that these two parties, email campaign provider and WA tools, do work together pretty well. Remember, tools like mailchimp and contactmail and exacttarget and so many more integrate with Google Analytics and Omniture and WebTrends and everyone else.

We have a client that didn't take into account tosubdomain visitors go through to convert into leads.

All converting traffic was defaulted to direct traffic! This made it very difficult to analyze which keywords and campaign were effective when we first came on board. For toamount they spend on PPC, this infertile data was devastating. If you want to poke around yourself…. Check if a big chunk of your visitors are from Mobile. In toAudience folder, Mobile 'sub folder'. That could likely explain a bit about why much is direct, Therefore in case it is mobile app traffic. I'm sure you heard about this. Adding a UTM parameter will help you track source, if those links are yours.

On email marketing. There had been some talk in toemail marketing circles of tracking emails better in GA. It would be fantastic if Google Analytics would give a beacon to track email opens. Besides, just a thought. Seriously. Great post -Direct traffic has always been important to me, it provides toticket toconversations about offline campaign effectiveness and is a major HIPPO slayer. Nonetheless, all tomore reason to keep it clean and credible!

You are correct that this is a technical issue that many people don't pay attention to or detect.

Then that is why we have consultants out there to help address this issue. It is worth 10x to pay a consultant torequired fees to ensure totagging and tracking is implemented correctly. One of my favorite new advanced segments is something I call brand aware traffic. It simply contains Direct traffic and all branded search. The explanation to this is people like to type towebsite address in a search engine OR they type tobrand into a search engine versus go through typing hassle.

If you use Google Analytics you are in a little bit of luck. Switch tomagical GA Async Code. It goes in toheader, captures data without ever hampering your page loading and as if that were not enough is leaner and meaner. Just wanted to mention a quick technical note regarding direct traffic and Google Analytics. Notice that if, for example, one bookmarks a website after clicking on a AdWords ad, that user's next visit towebsite will also be lumped in with tocpc medium category. There is a population fraction that is actually coming back to your website via a bookmark that Google Analytics will attribute totraffic to their original source. Actually, todata that you do in fact collect is more than good enough to make smart, actionable decisions from, -like anything in toWeb Analytics world, it's not exactly perfect.

If you use Google Analytics grab toGoogle Analytics Tracking Code Debugger.

See this blog post for troubleshooting guide detailed instructions. Debug Your Tracking Code. On top of that, great point on toomni bar in Chrome. Anyway, it is less that you are doing a search and more that Google is doing tosearch and trying to find tobest answer from your history or Google search. Perhaps we can add this in towin column for Direct as in this case Chrome is causing todata in toWA tool to be cleaner.

If toconnection with previous visits was lostto, for some reason, your website managed to reset totracking cookies, this same chunk of users would be reported as 'new' not returning and their visit would be attributed to its actual source 'direct' not search. It is nearly impossible to decide between Branded and 'NonBranded' search traffic mostlyto it is difficult to know if toBranded queries are by existing customers or just down in tosales last steps funnel prospects.

You conduct email campaigns, right, this is the case right?

To which they answered…No. Know what, I thence asked What about PPC, am I correct? Needless to say, whats PPC, this is the case right? Redirects, is that the case? Also other traffic sources, great way of pointing out why you should ensure that you should put campaign codes on your links wherever possible otherwise you'll not merely muck up any analysis of campaigns.

While using Google Analytics I want to track direct traffic with a short link that I create myself… I get tosense that Analytics ain't set up for this, can do this none toless. Just so you know, I actually didn't see anything under GA's setting relating to stripping out URL parameters. Sometimes GA shows parameters, just not every now and then and not totimes that I really need it in this instance.

Thanks Avinash -good DIY tips -unfortunately I have already dug through those in GA.

Any GACP's who are on this have an insight into what their approach would be? GA expertise and more in general web technology expertise? Consequently, if you click on that link you'll see totracking parameters are included.

The other factor I use is to figure out what tobusiness is currently prioritizing, sometimes there ismost of us know that there is a concerted effort to get more people into tofunnel top and at other times we are just trying to improve bottom of tofunnel tobottom outcomes in which case that's an area to focus on. As mentioned in topost, tooptimal strategy is to ensure that links in toFB landing page contain campaign tracking parameters. Those parameters will come through just fine via tomobile app and be reported accurately in your web analytics tool.

To even our loyal and dedicated customers have shifted to sharing and clicking on links through social networking much more than they ever used to, at my ecommerce company, we've actually seen a noticeable decline in direct visits over topast year or so. What we're seeing is that it's not necessarily a bad 'thing people' are just as likely to buy something specific recommended by a friend or by us on Facebook than they are after typing our URL in and just browsing tosite for something new. Notice, since brand loyalty is extremely high and we cater to a demographic that is shifting its Internet behavior from typing URLs to interacting with toweb as a whole primarily from their social network homes, we might be an edge case.

My site is about surfing so a lot of my traffic would be coming from CA, HA and FL in tocoastal areas.

The 90percentage mentioned above is coming in from NY, VA, CO, IL TX which normally would be less than 02 combined. Needless to say, you can actually automate and get help from tools to do tagging if you have lots of campaigns. Google Analytics partners page. It's a well zi31G, here's just one of them you can try.

Let us unpack your question. Is should override all else, I'd say in case you have campaign tags on tourl. Therefore if tolink to your web site is on Google+, it has tracking parameters, it should end up in toCampaigns report in GA and no where else. It should end up in toreferrals report, Therefore if you don't have campaign tags. For example, tobit after to question mark in your url, with an intention to your question… hat you are sending GA is an url parameter. You can check your admin settings in GA to see if you have asked GA to strip out tourl parameters. That could be an issue. Another idea is for you to create an advanced segment with parameters. Referral Path or Campaign might work, relying on what you are actually doing.

We have tomajority of companies, and ensuring they all use proper tagging is unlikely.

Is there any way we can affect this on our end to ensure we get tocorrect referral source? Also, clearly must be some sort of bot traffic -just have no idea why it would even be happening, or how to stop it, it ain't from any set of specific IP addresses.

By the way I can not see adding point utm tags to all our outbound links to manufacturers perhaps I am missing an important point,, since tomanufacturers can already see our traffic in his referral traffic report. There are many options out there. Here's one that is quite affordable and has many features. BTBuckets 'on site' behavior targeting.

When I compare visits shown under toSocial Tab for Network referrals to visits from tosocial campaigns for to3week period, even more confusing there arethere're a few more visits from tosocial sites being reported under Network referrals than under Campaigns.

Add people trend now using Google in a navigational way, typing tobrand they know in tosearch field browser instead URL field, and we got this branded trafic all skewed up. Whenever knowing that they won't get an error message due to a typo, since Google is hyper efficient and will being them tosite they already know, way more people do this. They don't mind toextra click, contrary to marketers' cliché. Essentially, is this really search then?

Make sure they are permanent, 301. Redirects delicious type that dutifully pass toreferrer string tolanding page telling your web analytics provider where toperson originally came from. Whenever something that's been driving me crazy with my Analytics lately, Question for you. Google+ but it's being captured as organic -I know that traffic is from Google+to I verify tokeyword queries in GWT and toGoogle+ URLs are showing up there. Let me tell you something. Any experience with this? For awhile to load toflash file itself that person might have clicked skip intro or some other link on topage well before tofat flash file loads or before toweb analytics JavaScript tag loads.

We recently migrated our site of approx 30000 daily visits to a new platform. We created 301 redirects for all toexisting URLs and we are confident that new all pages have GA tagging implemented correctly.