Wednesday, 20 January 2016

What is Direct Traffic in Google Analytics?

First, when does a Direct session occur? It could be that someone typed a domain name (like into their browser or used a bookmark to directly access your site. However, Direct also includes a much broader pool of traffic, far beyond those two instances. Essentially, Direct sessions occur any time Google Analytics cannot determine another referrer. Other instances can include:
  • Clicking a link from an email (depending on email provider/program)
  • Clicking a link from a Microsoft Office or PDF document
  • Accessing the site from a shortened URL (depending on the URL shortener)
  • Clicking a link from a Mobile social media apps like Facebook or Twitter. Phone apps often do not pass referrer information.
  • Going to a non-secure (http) site from a link on a secure (https) site, as the secure site won’t pass a referrer to the non-secure site. For instance, if someone clicks a link on to go to, the analytics for will show the session as direct.
  • Accessing a site from organic search, in some instances, will end up being reported as Direct due to browser issues. An experiment conducted by Groupon showed as much as 60% of direct traffic may be from organic search.

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