We all might be using any of the web analytics tool for tracking the traffic coming to our website and there are many web analytics software such as Google Analytics, StatCounter, Omniture, KissMetrics etc which helps you to traffic the number of visit coming to your website. Some of these are paid while others are free and the paid tools generally offers some advanced feature which the free versions does not provide. But these tools offer general basic reports which are essential to track the traffic in normal cases.
While analyzing our analytics reports we might have come across three types of traffic sources such as the traffic from search engines, traffic from referring sites and direct traffic. The traffic from search engines denotes the amount of visits that the website gets from various search engines and these are mainly organic traffic. The traffic from referring sites are traffic which comes from links to your website placed on other website.
The third one, direct traffic is generally assumed to be the traffic generated as a result of typing your website or URL address directly into the address bar of any browser. It may also be the traffic that has come as a result of clicking any bookmarks. This is the general and most basic concept about the direct traffic results that shows in the Google Analytics report.
I recently checked one of my website’s traffic stats and came to notice that 30 percentage of its traffic are coming from direct traffic. The site was not that much popular enough for the people to type the URL directly into the browser and I confirmed that the direct traffic came from different location and onto different pages on the website. There were little traffic which came from my own IP, but the remaining direct traffic really made me curious.
Direct traffic and its Confusing Element
It was then when I really got confused about the direct traffic element in web analytics. I really tried all the ways to figure out the how this direct traffic came consistently into my site. After seeking help from my friends and referring some resources on the web, I finally managed to get answers to my queries. But as per my observation this was assumed to be correct upto 75 percent only, and still it was enough to clear my doubts about the direct traffic.
The Major Reasons for Direct Traffic
I used to run small email marketing campaigns which was sent through different mediums. I also send out frequent newsletter without tagging the landing pages in the links provided in the content of the newsletter. I had also uploaded a lot of PDF and Word docs on various online platforms which had link to my websites. Another thing that I used to do was to submit links in various social media sites through various social media tools such as TweetDeck, HotSuite etc. I used to get the number of clicks through URL shortners but it was never seen in my analytics report in the referral sites section.
The Real Fact of Direct Traffic
The fact is that all the traffic that came from sources that are difficult to be identified by the analytics tool appeared to be under the direct traffic section. In short all the traffic from email marketing, newsletters, social media tools, pdf and word files all came under the direct traffic section. Since I was getting traffic regularly from these sources, I got a steady number of traffic in the direct traffic section and that too from different geographical location and into different landing pages. I realized that the traffic under direct traffic section are worth counting and understood the importance of these numbers.
So next time if you see a good number of traffic under the direct traffic section, mind to have a look at them and confirm whether they are at least coming from different locations. And if they are also pointing into different landing page, then you can easily assume that the direct traffic are coming from other sources you have promoted your website and not from your own IP or through others who closely knows about your website.