Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What does Direct Traffic actually mean?

Website Analytics (e.g. Google Analytics) provide a lot of insight into digital user behaviour, including what keywords they are typing into search engines, what pages they are arriving on and the locations they are coming from.

However all too often I have seen visitors coming into a site as Direct Traffic pretty much ignored or understated as a source. For example if all other digital marketing sources come to 80% and analytics says Direct is 30%, I've heard clients say “Oh, let’s just make Direct 20% and show how good my paid for efforts are"… rather than looking at why a site is showing 110% inbound traffic.

But I think we all need to stop and reconsider this approach, take another look at direct sources of visitors and assess the value that they bring.

Although we tend to take this as "the visitors who type the URL direct into the browser" - this is not the full picture. It is also includes:
- bookmarked visits
- those campaigns that are incorrectly tagged
- those visits where the referrer data is not available (e.g. those coming from an https source, such as a secure site - which may even be your own site itself )

Note: There is even the suggestion on some forums that Google Images has been a source of direct traffic because it creates visits from links that are not traceable.

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