What is direct traffic in Google analytics?

What is direct traffic in Google analytics? If you notice that your direct traffic is greater than 30%, hold off on popping the cork on the champagne and toasting the success of your business. Google Analytics may have mistakenly classified certain website visitors as direct traffic when it shouldn’t have done so.

In Google Analytics, you may see traffic from various sources, including organic search, direct, paid search, social, and referral. The other media locations are clear, but the direct location is less certain.

In this post, we’ll define direct traffic and discuss classifying those visitors into the appropriate channels to reduce inaccurate direct traffic.

In Google Analytics, what does Direct Traffic mean?

What is direct traffic in Google analytics?
Photo by Myriam Jessier

Direct traffic includes all sessions for which Google Analytics cannot pinpoint the referral entity. Direct traffic is generated by more than just visitors who type a website address into their browser or tap on a bookmark.

According to Google Analytics, a session is considered direct traffic when the referring provider or search query has been set to be overlooked or when there is no information about the referral source available. The following scenario describes how Google Analytics treats the traffic source:

  • Analyzes tags from DoubleClick or Google Adwords.
  • examines UTM tags that have been applied to the URL to transmit GA
  • details about the traffic’s origin
  • checks for the request’s origin
  • attempts to identify the user using the clientID or userID

Causes of Increased Direct Traffic

If you’re getting more direct traffic, you’re doing something right! It’s important to identify what that is so you can continue to drive more direct traffic to your site. Here are some common causes of increased direct traffic:

Entering the Site Address Manually

You and/or your staff are probably frequent visitors to the website. You must remove your website from statistics because you most certainly do not need this information for GA. Insert the IP address you want to keep out of the statistics by going to Settings – Administrator – Filters – Add Filter and following those instructions.

Error in the Tracking Code

There will be excessive growth in direct traffic if the Google Analytics monitoring code is flawed or absent. Google Analytics only counts visitors to the second page and any subsequent pages once the user has reached the webpage with and without the problematic trigger.

Recopy the error and add the Google Analytics tracking code to every webpage, or install a specific plug-in in the site’s admin dashboard to repair it. Adding the code should be done in Extensions – Analytics if the website uses Open Cart. Now it all ought to operate as it should.

Organic vs Direct

graphs of performance analytics on a laptop screen
Photo by Luke Chesser

Users who conduct informational searches on search engines and then visit your website are said to receive “organic traffic.” The resource is better optimized for SEO and has cheaper advertising expenses the higher the organic traffic. An experiment done by Groupon SEO specialists revealed that moving from Internet Explorer to a site can result in up to 75% of organic traffic being wrongly recorded as direct traffic. There are up to 10–20% in other browsers. 

Dark Social

Tracking dark social traffic is extremely difficult. This makes instructions from WhatsApp, email, Facebook Messenger, Skype, and other channels. Although it is nearly difficult to handle this completely, things can be made a little better. A new section of visitors in analytics that identifies as direct must be created to do this.

To accomplish this, navigate to Settings – Administrator – Segments – Traffic Source – Source – (direct), type in the section name, and then click Save in the setting.

Bot visitors

Bot traffic, effectively traffic from non-humans to a website, often results from software programs performing robotic activities. Search engine crawlers, which catalogue and index pages; tracking bots, which maintain a close eye on the health of your website for problems like page loading, stoppages, and the like; and scrappers, who “scrape” data from your webpage, such as email accounts, contact information, and the like, are the main contributors to bot traffic.

HTTPS vs HTTP

No referrer information will be sent if a visitors click a hyperlink on a safe (HTTPS) website to a non-secure (HTTP) webpage, making the session look like direct traffic rather than referral traffic. This might occur if a significant referrer for you has switched to HTTPS.

Reduce direct traffic in Google Analytics: How to Do It?

The objective is to reduce direct traffic. Even so, your channel identification is more reliable the less direct traffic you have. Here’s how to decrease Google Analytics’ proportion of direct traffic.

Photo by Umberto

Using a tool for attribution

While there are several technical ways to decrease your direct traffic, advertising attribution is the most comprehensive solution. You can always include direct traffic in your acquiring statistics when consumers directly enter your URL into their google search bar. You can comprehend the entire consumer journey and discover how channels affected that direct search with tools.

Switch to HTTPS

Switching to HTTPS is a smart way to reduce direct traffic while improving site security.

Embedding UTM parameters and tags

As a marketer, tagging your URLs ought to be a regular procedure. You may simply add a unique tracking code to your URL with campaign monitoring, sometimes referred to as “UTM tracking codes.” Understanding how visitors arrive at your website and, ultimately, how effective your campaigns are is helpful.

Transform your vanity URLs

Keep in mind that you will only receive a very little amount of referral data if you use plain vanity URLs without UTM elements. You can ensure that Google Analytics will appropriately track those sessions by redirecting your vanity URLs to a page with all the necessary tags.

Conclusion

Although direct traffic in Google Analytics can be a pain, the following measures should help you reduce the number of direct referrals. And keep in mind that you can fully eliminate the need for direct traffic by using an attribution tool. You’ll be able to assign your closed income according to your preferred criteria and see complete customer journeys.

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