When visitors come to your website, they can arrive via paid ads, organic search, or direct traffic. Direct traffic is one of the more common ways that people come to your web properties.
Direct traffic is simply the amount of web traffic you gain from visitors who type your URL directly into their browsers, or who arrive at your website by way of a bookmark they saved.
Direct traffic can be measured by way of an HTTP header that refers the originating site information to your analytics tool.
Basically, a sliver of code present in all web properties tells your analytics system what site your visitor was on before they ended up on your website. The originating site is called the Referrer.
Most analytics systems will show that you have a lot of direct traffic. This is because if the analytics tool doesn’t know where a visitor came from, it’ll lump them into the direct traffic bucket.
There are a bunch of reasons why that HTTP header might disappear as the visitor comes to your property. They may have landed on your site via:
To be blunt, many marketers believe direct traffic is a burden because they feel it can’t truly be analyzed. Or they may feel like it’s simply a matter of re-attributing it to other channels.
But the reality is there are ways to minimize the unnecessary direct traffic in your analytics systems: