Unpopular Insights from Direct Traffic Channel as recorded by Google Analytics

Direct Traffic InsightsPhoto by RayBay on Unsplash

As a marketer, we focus on bettering SEO for our webpages so we get better organic results, we build on social media and affiliate to increase our referral traffic, but do we ever actively focus on increasing Direct traffic to our website?

It is a given fact that better brand awareness will lead to a better brand recall & that will be reflected with an increase in Direct traffic. That’s how direct traffic is also analyzed!

If you think this way, you can’t be more wrong.

Log into your Google Analytics & check your landing pages that have received direct traffic. You’ll be amazed to see the pages that would’ve made to this list. Most of those won’t be easy URLs that can be simply put in a browser and get attributed to Direct traffic.

For example; a URL like this can will never be put into a browser directly:
https://clicksdaily.in/[subpage]/[sub-subpage]/[sub-sub-subpage]

Direct Traffic is profusely accepted as the most valuable traffic channel but also renders marketers to stop here & not analyze any further.

Direct Traffic is a combination of traffic that comes to the site when anyone types in the URL directly and the traffic for which Google fails to attribute any source. And this has been existing for a while. What is not very popular is how to make sense of this data & put it to good use.

So even after defined channel grouping why do some sessions from referrals still fall back & go under direct traffic?

Non-Web Content Adds up to Direct Traffic: A lot of documents or white papers from companies are downloaded and stored in the form of PDF files. These files often have links to online pages that can be referred to at any given point of time. Technically this is a referral traffic but it gets attributed to Direct traffic.

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HTTPS to HTTP Move:
Any jump from an HTTPS site to HTTP adds up to direct traffic when it should qualify as referral. But this is the process and algorithm works in this way. If any of your referral sites have recently moved from HTTPS from HTTP then you’ll be running a risk of getting a spike in your Direct traffic. It’s also better to be on HTTPS yourself because the number of sites moving from HTTP to HTTPS is increasing day on day.

Missing Campaign Tracking Codes: The one main reason to add tracking codes is so that you can attribute your traffic to correct sources. More than often marketers don’t add tracking codes to social media posts. Leading to some traffic from social media getting attributed to direct and not social as its intended to. Some referral links may not be in your control for tracking codes but the ones that are can surely be used with tracking codes.

You may find a laundry list of what needs to be done for getting the most accurate direct traffic but that won’t be necessary. The three most vital points have been covered here and should be good for you to follow.

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