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Understand information in your reports and troubleshoot reporting issues such as self-referrals, (not set) data, and inaccurate information
 
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Is there some caching of Referral traffic source in Google Analytics?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

A query from a client prompted us to run a quick test of referral vs. direct traffic sources. If a user enters the website as a referral (hyperlink from a different domain), exits the website (close tab), then enters the website as direct traffic (enter URL into URL bar) within a 1 minute period, the real-time data view in GA shows that user as referral traffic for both sessions. 

 

We tested this in reverse and it was accurate this way round (enter as direct traffic first, then enter via referral link).

 

'Caching' is possible the wrong technical term, but what is happening here?

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Is there some caching of Referral traffic source in Google Analytics?

Rising Star
# 2
Rising Star
Hey Manager,

Direct traffic NEVER overwrites another source.

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/6205762?hl=en


Best,

Theo Bennett
Analytics Evangelist at MoreVisibility | Contact Me
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Re: Is there some caching of Referral traffic source in Google Analytics?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Hi Theo,

Thanks for your response.

We've now identified the issue. The referral traffic was coming from a HTTPS domain to a HTTP domain and so the referral source data was not being carried, thus showing up as '(direct)' traffic.