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Why does Google Analytics tag a significant proportion of traffic as direct?

Asked 2 years ago

Has anyone dealt with a GA instance where a significant proportion of traffic getting tagged as direct?

The channels and source/medium reports look somewhat accurate, but the real-time / goal completion reports reveal that we've got some fundamental tracking issues.

I've done some debugging and have been able to identify that traffic is getting correctly attributed upon the first-page view and then getting reattributed to direct as users move throughout the site (second pageview onwards).

However, I don't know the cause, and our developers aren't very familiar with GA. So, the next steps are a bit vague, and I need a clearer path forward to be able to escalate effectively.

Any insights would be much appreciated.

Sofia Thai

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Google Analytics displays traffic sources as direct when the arrival session data is missing, or when a referring website or source sets itself as unreported. Bot and non-human artificial traffic also count as direct.

This could account for the high number of direct traffic showing up on Google Analytics.

Alex Merchant

Alex Merchant

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Direct traffic is defined as visitors who entered your site address in the browser search window or entered the saved tab. You'll be very surprised to find out what direct traffic is for Google Analytics. Direct traffic does not differ from the direct search. It's the same thing. Hope this helps.

I generally follow kuware.com for Marketing related info.





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