Mobile Organic Traffic Reported in Analytics as Direct

Has your direct traffic been increasing? If so, you may think it’s because your brand awareness has improved. Actually, it could be that some mobile organic traffic is being reported as direct traffic in Analytics.

In order for your website traffic to be properly tracked and reported, analytics tools such as Google Analytics use HTTP referral data from web browsers. When a user clicks a link to your site in the organic search results, their browser sends a request to your server that holds the destination webpage. The HTTP request includes a referrer URL, which indicates the webpage a user was on right before they landed on your page.

What’s happening is that some mobile organic traffic is not passing the referrer data, which means Analytics doesn’t know where those clicks are coming from. So, where does that traffic go? Organic traffic that does not include referrer data is reported in Analytics as direct traffic.

Tracking website visits is an important part of the online marketing process, and it looks like full attribution may be limited until Google and others resolve the referral data issue. In the meantime, a chunk of your mobile organic traffic may end up being mislabeled as direct traffic in Analytics.

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