What you need to know (and don’t know) about Direct Traffic

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What you need to know (and don’t know) about Direct Traffic

When we begin to analyze the results of a website and the performance by each channel, as we indicate in a Web Analytics process, some things are easier to interpret than others.For example, if the traffic us mobile number database of the Social Networks channel fell or rose, we managed to enter a greater degree of detail, see exactly which network had variations and investigate the exact causes (there were more posts or fewer posts, the reach and the interactions fell or rose and so on). In SEO , even though the (not provided) hides some things, it is possible to have an idea of ​​keywords that vary in ranking or Landing Pages that received less traffic.Direct traffic is already something that leaves many professionals lost. Normally we understand as direct traffic that where someone wrote the website address on their own initiative in the browser, not arriving by clicks from any other source. When that source of traffic has variations, marketers generally find it difficult to make an interpretation of what in fact led people to enter the website less or more and what explains that behavior.
Our idea with this article is to show you a little better various items that impact direct traffic and how you can understand them a little better.
How Google Analytics Identifies Traffic
To credit traffic to one source or another, Google Analytics searches for information in two different ways, one in the sequence of the other.- The first one is the URL itself. Normally Google does not find anything here, but perhaps it finds, this will be the source that will prioritize and credit the traffic. This is done through a system in which companies can place a kind of “label” on the link they promote to identify the origin of the shape as they want.Basically it is possible to place parameters in the URL of the link that force Google Analytics to mark a specific source in the event that there is a click on it.me , regardless of the click happening on Facebook, Google or any website, the parameters indicated there will force Google to understand that the click came from an email newsletter .
Professionals do this to better identify the results of specific campaigns and it is always valid to label banners, advertisements, email campaigns, etc. To create this label, just use Google’s URL Builder .

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– In most cases, the links are not labeled and Google Analytics starts towards the second form of identification: the page reference.
When you load a page  gulf email list in the browser, Google makes a request for a server to deliver that page, and that request includes a field in the header that identifies the address where the link was. It is basically that heading and what was indicated in the reference that Google Analytics reads to infer where the visitor came from.

In practice, whenever GA (Google Analytics) does not have this information and cannot interpret it, it credits the visit as direct traffic.
What are the factors that disturb direct traffic
Understanding how direct traffic is counted in Google Analytics, it is possible to perceive that there is a margin of error and that what appears as direct traffic is not always the definition that the market uses: people who entered the address in the browser.
It is very common for direct traffic to get “dirty” with some faults:
Google Analytics installation errors can get in the way. Imagine that someone clicks on a link and a page of the website arrives that does not have Google Analytics installed correctly. From that page the person clicks and goes to home or any other. The origin information is lost and the traffic is counted as direct.
Errors when defining parameters, such as writing utm-source instead of utm_source, can cause the source to be credited as direct traffic.
Much of the mobile traffic (which only continues to grow) comes from applications rather than websites. And the applications do not pass the reference code, entering as direct traffic.
Page redirects via 302 redirect instead of 301 redirect also don’t pass the origin properly. We already talked about redirects here.
Links that are encoded within a javascript may not pass the reference information in the header. More direct trafficOn the other hand, the original direct traffic is also often not counted. This happens because, from the moment the user reaches the website and Google Analytics determines the source of traffic, they receive a cookie, a kind of seal that identifies the origin, among other things.
The problem occurs because direct traffic, unlike all the others, does not overwrite the cookie and ends up crediting the visit to the same previous source.
If someone came to your website by clicking on an Adwords campaign, for example, and a week later entered the site by typing the address in the browser, the visit will be counted more than once as coming from Adwords. That is why many people who have already made announcements and stopped, still continue to see some paid visits in the GA even after they stopped investing.

Much of the direct traffic is also search traffic
Many times the failure in the accounting happens because the browser does not make the request, passing all the information correctlyGroupon, in the US, did an experiment blocking the website from appearing on Google, and the correlation of the drop in organic visits with the drop in direct traffic was very high. The estimate presented by them was that for internal pages up to 60% of what is credited as direct traffic is actually organic . In general, they came to something close to that 25% of searches made in Internet Explorer must be being unduly credited to direct traffic, 10-20% in the case of Chrome and Firefox and more than 50% in mobile browsers.Using our Marketing BI in RD Station we were able to see in the RD Station several periods of correlation between organic and direct traffic:What real direct traffic should impact
Real direct traffic should be a good indicator of your brand value.
It is made up of people who have already bought from your company and come back to see more things, by word of mouth recommendations, by people who like your content so much that they marked it as a favorite or, then, by relevant offline appearances (a matter of magazine or newspaper, something they heard on TV or radio).
A good job of branding and press consultancy should contribute here in these numbers and can be evaluated.The number of visits via direct traffic should also be high in cases of online products, where people enter to login and access their accounts.
How to deal with all that information and interpret your traffic properly
That said, the question still remains: and how to properly assess and work with all of this?
The first recommendation is to try as hard as possible to erase the dirt from your direct traffic. That includes two main actions:

Do a complete check on the website to identify if Google Analytics is installed correctly on all pages ( this tool helps to do so);
Always use the URL Builder and the appropriate parameters in your company’s campaigns, mainly in channels more conducive to generating traffic counted as direct (social networks, which are often accessed by mobile applications, ads in applications and email campaigns – RD Station it already creates the code automatically when you insert a link in it).
The second thing is to try to better understand which pages the people who came via direct traffic are entering. In general, people enter the Home, the blog or some other main pages that you may have. Separate that segment and interpret it as true direct traffic.
The rest should probably be viewed as another source that was incorrectly attributed. It is very likely that users actually type a long URL, such as a specific blog post, for example. In that case, it is necessary to evaluate more specifically on a case-by-case basis to try to understand the correct source.
In the cases of social networks and organic searches, the tendency is that the attribution errors are only a percentage and the comparative curve of the channels, like the one indicated in Marketing BI above, indicate a correlation.
In other cases, it is necessary to think about whether there are campaigns that would lead to the page and that, eventually, are not with the parameters configured correctly

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