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What Is Direct Traffic and How Can You Analyze It?

When it comes to digital marketing, traffic is defined as the number of visitors that a webpage receives. Your website traffic must come from people who are interested in buying your product. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you’re targeting people within your niche. In this article, we will specifically address direct traffic, how it’s analyzed, and how it relates to Google Analytics.

What Is Direct Traffic?

Google Analytics defines direct traffic as users typing in the URL of the website directly into their browser, or reaching a site by clicking on a saved bookmark. There are several different sources of direct traffic online. Here we will discuss what each of them is.

Google analytics direct traffic

Manual URL Entry and Bookmarks

Manual URL entry and bookmarks are the sources most commonly associated with a website’s direct traffic. As previously mentioned, direct traffic is reported when a URL is specifically entered into a browser or by clicking on a previously saved bookmark.

Referrals from HTTPS to HTTP

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. When you add an “s” to HTTP it tells the user that it is a secure website. Website security is more important than ever these days. People want to know that when they are providing personal or payment information to a website they won’t experience a data breach.

HTTPS is a secure form of HTTP. Anyone has access to HTTP. However, you can simply secure your website by obtaining an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate. These certificates encrypt your data. There are free and paid SSL certificates. 

A TLS (Transport Layer Security) is closely related to SSL. A TLS can be used to provide extra security for email and messaging. You must also have a TLS certificate to apply it to your website. 

When it comes to direct traffic, landing on an HTTPS (secure) site from an HTTP (non-secure) site, no referral data has passed. Therefore, a visitor landing on an HTTP site is tracked as direct traffic by Google Analytics. 

Untagged Links from Mobile Apps and Non-Web Documents 

Google can generally figure out where website traffic is coming from. Apps (WhatsApp, Skype, and other messaging apps) and documents (PDF) can’t be crawled and tracked the same way as a website. Because of this, Google can’t figure out the referral source and it’s classified as direct traffic.

The best way to handle these traffic sources is to use UTM tags. A UTM code can be added to a URL in order to track a source, medium, and other campaign information. The code accurately tells Google Analytics where the searchers came from. A UTM campaign should be consistent and used when sharing URLs on social media.

Meta Refreshers and JavaScript Redirects

Using meta refreshers and JavaScript redirects can result in referrer data being removed. When this happens, the data is wrongly attributed as direct traffic. To avoid this problem you should always use 301 redirects on your site when needed.

Google analytics

Broken Tracking Codes

Broken tracking codes can also be tracked as direct traffic. When users land on a page without a tracking code, and click a link to a page with a tracking code, Google Analytics thinks that the second page clicked on appears as a referrer on your own website. You should audit your website thoroughly and make sure all your pages have tracking codes that are working correctly.

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is the most problematic from an SEO perspective and can be attributed to direct traffic in Google Analytics. Not all browsers report where a visitor came from when they land on a website, which means a percentage of direct traffic is actually organic traffic.

Direct traffic to your homepage is most likely to come from manually entering the URL. Direct traffic to deeper pages, such as subcategories or blog articles with long URLs, is more likely to come from other social or organic channels.

Google Analytics and Direct Traffic 

Google Analytics is a web analytics platform that tracks and analyzes the performance of your website or app. You can access many different features and reports within Google Analytics. These reports and data will help you understand your website traffic and visitor behavior. Anyone with a Google account can access Google Analytics. There are free and paid versions available.

Google Analytics Data

Google Analytics tracks data about your website and site visitors. Some of this data includes how users arrive on your website and how they interact with your website content. It also includes the characteristics of your website’s audience and how many of your visitors convert.

This data can come in handy in a variety of applications. You can use Google Analytics reports to accomplish many things such as evaluating your marketing campaigns and determining how your web pages are performing. You can also decide on your target audience and what kind of content they like the best. Finally, you can track conversions and purchases.

Google Analytics is beneficial to online companies and those with an online presence who want to track their marketing campaigns. It can be used to track search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC), and other marketing efforts.

direct traffic

Benefits of Google Analytics

Using Google Analytics has many benefits for companies. Let’s take a look at some of the most important benefits. 

Access to Real-Time Data

Google Analytics displays real-time data about how many individuals are on your website. This includes how many users are viewing your website on a desktop and how many users are viewing your website on a mobile device. Real-time data can be broken down into locations, traffic sources, and content. 

You can also see where your website traffic is coming from. Google Analytics gives you percentages on whether your traffic is organic traffic, referral traffic, paid ads, or direct traffic. Real-time data provides numbers, viewed content, and conversions. All of this data can help track your goals and whether or not they are complete. 

Insights Into Your Audience

Google Analytics provides informative data about your audience. This is a helpful way to know how you can best serve your target audience and know more about them. Some of this information includes: 

  • How many visitors you have on your website
  • How many sessions each user completes
  • The average session duration
  • How many page views per session

Knowing your audience helps you decide what kind of language and jargon you want to use on your website. It also helps you understand the time of day users are most active on your site and the importance of having a mobile-friendly site. Finally, it will inform you of your audience’s interests and what types of content you should create to engage them.

Enhanced Ad Management

Google Analytics is a great place to keep track of and manage all your Google Ads in one place. You can track the number of clicks on each ad, the cost of each campaign, and the cost-per-click (CPC). 

what is direct traffic

Improved Understanding of Interactions and User Behavior

Google Analytics gives you an overview of all the pages on your website. You can see which pages are the most popular and how much traffic they get over time. Some of the information provided are new users, bounce rate, average session duration, and conversion rate of specific pages.

Better Tracking of Goals and Conversions

Goals are essential and the ability to track whether or not they are being met is important. Analytics helps you understand your goals, how many were completed, and the monetary value of your goals. 

Google Analytics Certification

Receiving a Google Analytics Certification will help you improve your marketing, better serve your target audience, and increase your customer base. There are just two steps to becoming Google Analytics Certified.

Step 1: Sign Up for Google Partners

As long as you pass the exam, Google Partners comes with a badge that shows you are certified in different areas of Google. This badge will show others that you are an expert. As of June 2021, to receive a badge companies must meet the thresholds in three different areas – performance, spend, and certification.

Becoming Google Analytics certified will make you more marketable to companies looking to receive the Google Partners Badge. You can add this to your resume or LinkedIn profile, to have it associated with your business.

Step 2: Take the GAIQ Exam

The next step in the certification process is to take the exam. If you’re new to Google Analytics, you should take some time to study in between step 1 and 2. Google offers courses through Google Analytics Academy. These courses are for beginners and advanced Google Analytics users. 

The GAIQ exam consists of 70 multiple choice and true/false questions. You have 90 minutes to complete the exam and must get an 80 percent or higher to pass.

FAQ:

  • What is direct traffic?
  • What are some sources of direct traffic?
  • How do you get Google Analytics certified?
  • What is Google Analytics?
  • What are the benefits of Google Analytics?

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